On 23 March 2016, the Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) and Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for linking the BUSE Institutional Repository to the National Research Database of Zimbabwe (NRDZ). The renewable five-year agreement which was signed at the BUSE Main Campus in Bindura is set to increase the visibility of research as the two institutions are committed to cooperate more closely towards a common goal of increasing visibility of research undertaken by Zimbabwean researchers.
The NRDZ which is hosted by the RCZ is an online platform for research promotion and publicity whose aim is to enable voluntary sharing of research information, while the BUSE Institutional Repository is hosted by BUSE also aim to do the same while at the same time preserving the University’s intellectual capital.
This MoU is the first of many that are anticipated to be signed with all Universities and Institutions with institutional repositories in Zimbabwe. The proposal to link the NRDZ with institutional repositories was a response by RCZ to a suggestion by local universities and stakeholders. It was envisaged that such a linkage would popularise the NRDZ, increase visibility of research being undertaken by Zimbabwean researchers.
In his welcome remarks, BUSE Vice Chancellor Professor Eddie Mwenje expressed joy at the pace at which the relationship between RCZ and BUSE is growing; “As a University, we are excited that our relationship with the RCZ continues to flourish as both parties identify important areas of engagement. On the area of research support, we are happy to acknowledge that the RCZ is supporting two major projects at the institution, one in the Faculty of Commerce and the other in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Science,” said Professor Mwenje. Prof Mwenje further added that the platform, which will allow harvesting of metadata from the BUSE Institutional Repository, will ultimately increase access to BUSE publications and research documents; thus raising the institution’s visibility. It is also expected that as more and more articles from the institution are accessed, the number of citations will also increase and hence positively impacting on the University’s ranking.
Speaking prior to the signing ceremony, RCZ Executive Director Mrs. Susan Muzite commended BUSE’s readiness to implement the agreement, which made the institution stand out among many other universities RCZ engaged. Mrs. Muzite further affirmed Prof Mwenje’s assertion that the two institutions’ relationship is long standing. “The RCZ has funded research from BUSE selected following a world class competitive and rigorous peer review process. BUSE has peer-reviewed proposals and papers for the RCZ, some of them were presented at the Zimbabwe International Research Symposia. The excellent relationship we enjoy is indeed cause for celebration,” she said. The implementation of the MOU is set to commence immediately with the RCZ and BUSE Technical teams already working on configuring the NRDZ and BUSE Institutional Repository for the import and export of metadata. Delegates at the ceremony agreed that the MoU should have a quick implementation and turn around time