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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Access to research in Cameroon: potential for the democratization of knowledge Jonas, Randall Anthony

Abstract

The following research has been carried out in order to assess the current state of access to both print and electronic scholarship at 6 universities in the developing nation of Cameroon and to gather information about the perceptions and needs that students, professors and librarians have regarding open access to scholarly resources through the use of the Internet. This has been done in order to discover how open access via the Internet can make a positive contribution to the scholarly lives of people who find themselves victims of the digital divide and the knowledge gap and to promote the democratization of knowledge access via this mode of information dissemination. Using questionnaires, this research asked 91 participants topical questions regarding these issues and discovered that the importance of increasing both access to technology and research literature is appreciated and supported. The questionnaires were prepared by John Willinsky and Henry Kang. Two librarians from Buea University in Cameroon, Kivin Wirsiy and Rosemary Sutcliffe, were hired to distribute, collect and then send the results back to Vancouver, Canada. The results of this thesis will be combined with the analysis conducted by Kivin Wirsiy and Rosemary Sutcliffe to form a joint international publication of the larger project. What was found as a result of this study is both a source of concern and hope. Even though their access to the Internet was restrained and often at their own personal expenditure, the Cameroonians participating in this study were committed to the use and possibilities of this medium to increase their access to academic literature and at the same time they positively anticipate overcoming the currently inferior state of access by the ameliorating capacities posed by online journals both from abroad and, more so among students, from Africa, for their research and teaching.

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