TETFund inaugurates committee on thesis digitisation, targets 2 billion-page research materials

 The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Sonny Echono, has inaugurated the thesis digitisation project steering and coordinating committee.

Inaugurating the committee Monday in Abuja, Echono said the project was necessitated by the need for a National Academic Research Repository (NARR)  given that numerous research outputs were lying dormant in libraries across tertiary institutions in the country. 

Echono said the few existing repositories  in the country are not available to national or global audiences, so the ugly development prompted the intervention of TETFund’s Board of Trustees (BOT). 

TETFund’s BOT, in a bid to redress the situation, initiated the digitisation of thesis project, and charged the Executive Secretary to shepherd a centralised mechanism that will form the basis for storing dematerialised academic output in electronic form, federated across all beneficiary institutions  across the country.

“Following this mandate, Management approved a consultancy, which conducted various interactive sessions and surveys over a period of nine months to identify how academic output in the form of thesis and other digital resources produced by undergraduate and postgraduate students are stored, handled, and utilised.

“Part of the report submitted showed through comparative analysis of practices and approaches that our beneficiary institutions lag significantly in two key areas: there is a lack of properly structured digitised theses available for integration into global digital repositories and the absence of a National Academic Research Repository or a coordinated collection of institutional repositories.

“Undoubtedly, some of our beneficiaries have made significant progress in their efforts to digitize academic output. But sadly, the vast majority of beneficiaries – about 80%, have not even started or had any significant results to show for their efforts, whilst about 10% have digitised a considerable volume of their thesis,” Echono said. 

The TETFund boss said the digitisation project would also address issues such as plagiarism, intellectual property, commercialisation of academic works, among others, adding that the scheme would begin in 100 institutions with a target of dematerialising up  to 2 billion pages of research materials.

“The work has begun; by first championing a massive digitization drive and accelerating ongoing digitisation of thesis efforts across all our beneficiary institutions, starting with 100 of those institutions that are least digitised, to reach up to two billion pages of research materials completely dematerialised, both old and new…,” he said.

Echono said to ensure homegrown solutions were encouraged, TETFund is working with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC).

Echono listed the terms of reference of the committee to include, “Development and adoption of a model digitisation policy for our beneficiary institutions; Provide coordinating support and guidance for the project management team to implement this digitisation project successfully; develop frameworks and procedures to ensure that the project deliverables are strictly adhered to, among others.”

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