The Library and Information Service’s main open access initiatives currently include SUNScholar, the open access institutional repository, SUNDigital Collections, an open digital heritage repository, SUNJournals, an open journal hosting platform and SUNConferences, an open conference hosting platform. The library also manages an open access publication fund, established to support the university’s researchers in publishing in OA journals. Between 2009 and 2015 the author fees for 362 articles to a total value of R4,3 million were funded.
One of the highlights with regards to open access this year has been the movement of SUNScholar to the number one position in Africa in the July edition of the ranking of open access repositories performed by “The Ranking Web of World Repositories”. The use of SUNScholar is also increasing steadily, growing from approximately 104 000 downloads of theses, dissertations and articles in 2013, to a projected 142 000 downloads this year. According to usage statistics, 6 out of 10 of the most popular items downloaded are from the field of Economic and Management Sciences.
SUNDigital Collections have also grown significantly from 4293 items in 2014 to a total of 6978 items today. New additions to look forward to are the Frederik van Zyl Slabbert collection, which is currently being digitised, and the Beyers Naudé collection of sermons, which will be uploaded within the next few months.
SUNJournals welcomed three new journals on board this year, namely the South African Journal of Higher Education, the African Journal of Nephrology and the South African Journal of Enology and Viticulture. The 21 journals currently hosted on the system are being widely accessed with, for example, Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk receiving a total of 3626 visits in the last month, mostly from South Africa. Other journals that are receiving visits of thousands in the last month are e.g. African Population Studies, featuring a large number of views from African countries such as Kenya and Nigeria, and the South African Journal of Industrial Engineering, showing extensive usage from India.