Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) has taken strides through the Library by signing the Berlin Declaration on Open Access:, and also more importantly, by establishing the GZU Institutional Repository: This platform has seen more and more GZU academics uploading their research content.

The University encourages such initiatives and subsequent voluntary archiving on the Institutional Repository. Institutional Repositories (IRs) provide universities with a way of ensuring the stability of access to and dissemination of digital scholarly communications.

The purpose of an Institutional Repository, in part, is to serve as an open access repository of the intellectual output of the teaching staff at GZU and to showcase the tangible results of these pursuits globally. Therefore, the success of Institutional Repository depends on contributions from the teaching staff.

Recently the GZU, just like many colleges, universities and research institutions in Zimbabwe, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Research Council of Zimbabwe, where the later would harvest metadata from our Institutional Repository. The same initiative is being pursued with the Association of African Universities (AAU) under its Database of African Thesis and Dissertations (DATAD) project.

What is Open Access?

Open access is a broad international movement that seeks to grant free and open online access to academic information, such as publications and data. A publication is defined ‘open access’ when there are no financial, legal or technical barriers to accessing it – that is to say when anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for and search within the information, or use it in education or in any other way within the legal agreements.
Open access is a publishing model for scholarly communication that makes research information available to readers at no cost, as opposed to the traditional subscription model in which readers have access to scholarly information by paying a subscription (usually via libraries).

What is this Year’s Theme on International Open Access Week and what does it entails?

The theme for this year’s International Open Access Week, is Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion.

Openness can be a powerful tool for building more equitable systems of sharing knowledge. Rebuilding research and scholarship to be open by default presents a unique opportunity to construct a foundation that is fundamentally more equitable. Yet today, structural racism, discrimination, and exclusion are present and persistent in places where openness is a core value. As a global community, it is important to understand that the systems and spaces of the present are often built upon legacies of historic injustice and that addressing these inequities is a necessity.

We need to examine who these spaces and systems are designed for, who is missing, who is excluded by the business models we use, and whose interests are prioritized. As we work together to rebuild these structures, we need to commit to moving from conversations to concrete commitments and to hold one another accountable for making real progress.

2020 marks the third consecutive year the theme for International Open Access Week will focus on the urgent need for action on equity and inclusion, underscoring the urgency of continuing to open up on research and publications.

What are the Benefits of Open Access to our Researchers?

1. Research and publication: Through open access researchers have wider visibility and usage of their research findings. They have a significantly larger and more diverse audience. Increased exposure to research also increases citation rate. Open Access provides an avenue to connect with a global society more easily and researchers can publish without printing costs.
2. Teaching staff and students: By putting rich and poor on an equal footing, Open Access provides free articles for teaching and learning.
3. OA gives authors a worldwide audience larger than that of any subscription-based journal, no matter how prestigious or popular, and demonstrably increases the visibility and impact of their work
4. Immediacy- The research findings can be made immediately available to not just others within that community but also those beyond, including other scientists and laypeople.
5. Search Options- OA makes their articles more visible, discoverable, retrievable, and useful. If a journal is OA, then it can use this superior visibility to attract submissions and advertising, not to mention readers and citations.

GZU Library Initiatives to Promote Open Access Publishing

– GZU Institutional Repository (IR). URL=

GZU IR provides a gateway to our researchers to publish for a wider dissemination of scholarly literature locally generated. Our IR provides the best platform for open access publishing at institutional level where our collection is searchable worldwide

– Open Source OPAC

With an open source OPAC our researchers can search our collection anywhere

– Open Access Databases

Open access journals are another major initiative towards open access. As a library we provide access to a wide range of open access databases our researchers can use for teaching and research.

Open Access Systems

The library adopted open access system for its digital library and library management system. These systems allow OA publishing and retrieval of the library resources.

– Awareness and celebration of open access week is another way of concertizing our researchers to embrace OA publishing and harness the benefits of the initiative.

Different Ways of Publishing Open Access

Full Open Access journals: publication via publisher platforms, in full open access journals. This route may involve a charge. The publication costs, known as ‘article processing charges’ (APCs), are covered by authors or by their institutions. Most research funders support open access and are willing to cover the costs themselves. A list of fully open access journals that are accessible worldwide can be found on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) website (

Hybrid Journals: publication via ‘hybrid’ journals. These journals are subscription journals that allow open access publication of individual articles on payment of an Article Processing Charge (APC). Thanks to a series of deals between the VSNU and several academic publishers, Dutch-affiliated researchers can publishing for free in thousands of hybrid journals.

The Green Route: the full text of academic publications is deposited in a trusted repository, a publicly accessible database managed by a research organisation. You can find all Dutch institutional repositories via NARCIS (, the Dutch portal for research information. NARCIS gives access to all the publications in Dutch repositories.

The Diamond Route: publication via diamond journals/platforms that do not charge author-facing publication fees (APCs). Diamond open access journals are usually funded via library subsidy models, institutions or societies.

The Library has lined up various activities focusing on Open Access, which include;


• Radio Presentations: Monday 19th October 2020 @ 1430Hrs – GZU Open Access Initiatives; Thursday 22nd October 2020 @ 1430Hrs – Global Initiatives to Open Access

• Live Webinar Series

1. EBSCO Panel Discussions: Open Access to Open Infrastructure – Dates 20th – 21st October 2020

2. The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) – Dates 20th – 23rd October 2020

3. Harvard University Open Access Week 2020- Dates 19th – 25th October 2020

4. University of the Free State Open Access Week 2020 –Dates 20th – 23rd October 2020

5. University of Pretoria – Dates: 19th – 23rd October 2020. Theme: ‘Shifting the boundaries of your research impact’ URL=

6. Nanyang Technological University – Dates 20th – 23rd October 2020.

7. UJ Webinar – International Open Access Week preparation
Register here:
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Research provides the foundation of modern society. Open Access brings out the widest possible audience, innovation and industrialization of research output.

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