Research data management in public universities in Malawi
Chawinga, Winner Dominic
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The emergence and subsequent uptake of Information and Communication Technologies has transformed the research processes in universities and research institutions across the globe. One indelible impact of Information and Communication Technologies on the research process is the increased generation of research data in digital format. This study investigated how research data has been generated, organised, shared, stored, preserved, accessed and re-used in Malawian public universities with a view to proposing a framework for research data management in universities in Malawi. The objectives of the study were: to determine research data creation, sharing and re-use practices in public universities in Malawi; to investigate research data preservation practices in public universities in Malawi; to investigate the competencies that librarians and researchers need to effectively manage research data; and to find out the challenges that affect the management of research data in public universities in Malawi. Apart from being guided by the Community Capability Model Framework (Lyon, Ball, Duke & Day, 2011) and Data Curation Centre Lifecycle Model (Higgins, 2008), the study was inspired by the pragmatic school of thought which is the basis for a mixed methods research enabling the collection of quantitative and qualitative data from two purposively selected universities. A census was used to identify researchers and librarians while purposive sampling was used to identify directors of research. Questionnaires were used to collect mostly quantitative and some qualitative data from 36 librarians and 187 researchers while interviews were conducted with directors of research. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used to analyse the quantitative data by producing percentages, means, independent samples ttest and one-way analysis of variance. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data.