Essay: The importance of research communications

Research communications is a significant factor in research cycle (Hahn, 2008; Sabet, 2013). Effective research communication should to a bigger extend address the big gap between knowledge and practice attributed to poor scholarly communication (Kimeu, 2013). For scholarly output to be effectively communicated, research institutions should employ effective communication strategies in the entire research process. The use of modern communication technologies is crucial for effective scholarly output communication. Despite the potentials for Open Access (OA) in improving the visibility of research through e-publishing in either OA journals or achieving in Institutional Repositories (IRs), this mode of scholarly communication is not yet fully exploited and is little known by Kenyan scholars (Chilimo, N.W.O, and Maina, 2013). Librarians as major stakeholders in research communication have played an important role to help achieve faster and wider dissemination of research discoveries and new knowledge of which they have been disseminators and keepers for centuries (Zhang, 2007). One of the ways they have achieved this is through open access publishing.
A study by Kitsao, based at the Kenya National council for Science and Technology found that there is a lot of research going on in Kenya. However, research information is scattered across the various institutions performing research. There is willingness by institutions to share their research Information but Poor infrastructure, none enforcement of regulations on research and lack of a central location to collect this information are major limiting factors to the access and sharing of research information (Kitsao, 2011). By reflecting on the nature and consequence of the gap, there exists a major communication problem that impelled the present study. In Kenya, there have been few and uncoordinated open access publishing initiatives. However, these initiatives have not realized a comprehensive nationwide gain. The existing efforts generally result to institution-specific research silos. This situation does not address effectively role and nature of research knowledge sharing as a federated open access research virtual hub would. In view of this research communication gap, there is need to develop a federated open access solution in Kenya. In its absence, scholars will keep on reinventing the wheel by researching on areas that have already been researched. Many researches done in Kenya will also not inform policy making due to their unavailability. This is a dissatisfactory status that beats the whole purpose of conducting research.

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