Impact of Improved Internet Access and Other Factors on Researcher Behaviour and their Intellectual Property Output
Tusubira, Francis F.
MetadataShow full item record
The volume of intellectual property output of African universities and research institutions and their contribution to the global research discourse is very low, and it is not commensurate with the quality and quantity of researchers and academics in the region. Universities and Research institutions in Africa also have very limited visibility at the global level, leading to loss of competitiveness of the institutions, and consequently the competitiveness of their home countries. From its formative days, the UbuntuNet Alliance, while accepting that there are many factors that have led to this state of affairs, has posited that the isolation of Africa-based researchers from the global information infrastructure (GII) is a major contributing factor, and that the reduction of such isolation will lead to increased intellectual property output. The Alliance developed a Theory of Change that focuses on the influence of connectivity on researcher behaviour as the key factor that needs to be examined to demonstrate the validity or otherwise of our thesis. To investigate this, the Alliance conducted a baseline study aimed at examining this hypothesis by tracking researcher behaviour over a period of at least five years. Baseline data collection started during 2010, running into mid-2011, and the findings were presented in a paper during UbuntuNet-Connect 2011 in Nairobi. In this paper, we shall present the findings of a follow-up study based on data collected during 2013, and relate them to the baseline study published earlier. In the follow-up study, we continued to use two instruments: one to collect data about the research environment within an institution and another to collect data on researcher perceptions, behaviour and outputs within the institution. Multiple administrative personnel completed the institutional tool at 29 participating institutions across 5 countries while 443 individual researchers from 38 different institutions were interviewed to complete the researcher tool. This was an improvement in the survey sample compared to the last survey where 271 individual researcher responses were collected from 16 participating institutions. Participating countries for both studies included Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Amongst individual researchers that participated in the study, 356 (81.5%) were male and 81 (18.5%) female. 77.2% of the participants were below 44 years of age while 7.0% were 55 years or older.17.4% of the respondents had attained a Bachelor’s degree, 63% had Masters, while only 18.5% had attained a PhD. The analysis of this data is ongoing at the time of submission of this abstract: we are therefore unable to provide a summary of the findings at this point in time.