INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) USE FOR SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION AMONG ACADEMICS IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page                                                                                                                    i

Approval Page                                                                                        ii

Certification Page                                                                                                       iii

Dedication                                                                                                                  iv

Acknowledgements                                                                                                    v

Table of Contents                                                                                                       vi

List of Tables                                                                                                              ix

List of Figures                                                                                                             xi

Abstract                                                                                                                      xii

CHAPTER ONE :  INTRODUCTION                                                                  1

Background of the Study                                                                               1         

Statement of the Problem                                                                               13         

Purpose of the Study                                                                                      15                      

Research Questions                                                                                         15         

Hypotheses                                                                                                     16       

Significance of the Study                                                                               16

Scope of the Study                                                                                         17         

CHAPTER TWO : LITERATURE  REVIEW                                                    19       

Conceptual Framework                                                                               20          

Concept of Scholarly communication                                      20       

Concept of Knowledge Generation                                                                24       

Concept of Knowledge Communication                                                        32       

Crisis in Scholarly Communication                                                                 34

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

and Scholarly Communication                                                                        36       

Challenges to ICT use for Scholarly Communication                                    43

Demographic Factors Affecting ICT Use                                                      45       

Theoretical Framework                                                                                48       

Theories of knowledge Generation                                                                 48       

Theories of knowledge communication                               52       

Empirical Studies                                                                                          57       

Studies on ICT Literacy skills                                                            57                   

Studies on ICT use and Scholarly Communication                     58       

Studies on Disciplinary Culture and ICT use                      62       

Studies on Gender and ICT use                                                                     63       

Studies on Academic Rank and ICT use                                                        65       

Summary of Literature Review                                                                      67       

CHAPTER THREE :  RESEARCH  METHODS                                69       

Research Design                                                                                             69       

Area of the Study                                                                                           69       

Population                                                                                                       70

Sample and Sampling Techniques                                                                  70       

Instrument for Data Collection                                                                       72

Validation of the Instrument                                                                          73       

Reliability of the Instrument                                                                           73       

Procedure for Data Collection                                                                        75       

Method of Data Analysis                                                                               75       

CHAPTER FOUR :  PRESENTATION OF DATA                                            77       

CHAPTER FIVE : DISCUSSION  AND CONCLUSION                                  110

Discussion of Findings                                                               110

Implications of the Study                                                             120

Recommendations                                                                              122

Suggestions for Further Study                                                                123

Limitations of the Study                                                                                            

Conclusion                                                                 

REFERENCES                                                                                                        127

APPENDICES                                                                                                          139

LIST OT TABLES

Tables

  1. Distribution of Population and Sample                                      71
  2. Level of ICT Literacy Skills                                                                           77
  3. Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Generation                              78
  4. Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Communication                   79

5      Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Generation According to Disciplines   80

Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Communication According to Disciplines                                                                                                 80

7    Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Result of Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Generation among the various Disciplines                                  82

8    Multiple Comparisons of Different Disciplines and Level of ICT Use for Knowledge Generation Using Tukey HSD                                                    84

9    Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Result of the Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Communication among the various Disciplines             85

10  Multiple Comparisons of Different Disciplines and Level of ICT Use for Knowledge Communication Using Tukey HSD                                            87

       11   ICT Use for Knowledge Generation by Gender                         88

12  ICT  Use for Knowledge Communication by Gender                   89

13  t-test for Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Generation by Gender    91

14  t-test for Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Communication by Gender   93

15  ICT Use for Knowledge Generation by Academic Rank                              95

16  ICT Use for Knowledge Communication by Academic Rank          96

17  Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Result of the Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Generation by Academic Rank                              98

18  Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Result of the Extent of ICT Use for Knowledge Communication by Academic Rank                       100

19  Influence of ICT Use on Knowledge Generation                       102

20  Influence of ICT Use on Knowledge Communication                      103

21  Difficulties faced by Academics in the use of ICT for Knowledge Generation and Communication.                                          105

22  Suggestions for Ameliorating the Difficulties Faced by Academics             106                                                                 

LIST OF FIGURES

Figures

  1. Generation and Recycling of Knowledge                                  30       
  2. Spiral Process of Knowledge                                                       48       
  3. Communication Process                                                                52       

ABSTRACT

The study was carried out to determine the information and communication technology use for scholarly communication among academics in Nigerian universities, with specific reference to knowledge generation and communication. It also looked at the difficulties faced by academics in generating and communicating knowledge. The study was guided by eight research questions and three hypotheses. Descriptive survey method was used for the study. The population of the study was made up of 3572 academics in arts, education, engineering, science and social science disciplines in ten federal universities having functional information and communication technology in their libraries in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. A non-proportionate random sampling technique was used to select six universities, while stratified random sampling technique was used to select respondents. Questionnaire (ICTUSCA) used for data collection was made up of seven sections. The validity and reliability of the instrument were established. The reliability of 0.87 was established for the instrument using Cronbach Alpha procedure. Means and Standard deviation were used to analyze the data while t-test and one-way analysis of variance were used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. Tukey HSD for multiple comparisons was used to find out where the difference lay in some of the variables. The results of the study showed that the ICT skills mostly possessed by academics were using GSM, opening of e-mail box without help and using Internet. Academics used Internet and e-mail for scholarly communication, followed by GSM handsets and websites. ICT use was found to encourage the search for information from locations outside the library and facilitate the search for information required for knowledge generation among others. There was significant difference in the use of ICT for scholarly communication by various disciplines. The result of Tukey HSD for multiple comparison showed that academics in the engineering discipline used ICT more than others. There was no significant difference in the mean ratings of male and female academics as regards the use of ICT for scholarly communication. There was also no significant difference in the mean ratings of senior, middle and junior academics in the use of ICT for scholarly communication. It was further revealed that the major difficulties faced by academics in the use of ICT for scholarly communication were lack of basic computing and networking skills, changes in software application and lack of access to scholarship due to publishers’ licensing agreement. Based on the findings, it was recommended that academics should be encouraged to acquire major computing and networking skills, universities should seek for funds to provide consistent Internet connectivity, and government and National Universities Commission should help universities network ICT facilities through Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN).

 CHAPTER ONE 

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

 Knowledge is a very important resource in any institution or organization, whether it is an academic, research, business and industrial organization. Over the years, academics in institutions of higher learning have generated and communicated knowledge as information to other academics. As noted by Ochu and Egbule (2005) knowledge generation has been of great concern to educational administrators, educationists and scholars in Nigeria for some time now. African countries including Nigeria have been trying to promote effective ways of generating knowledge that would transform their society. The actualization of this noble idea rests on the tertiary institutions’ capacity to develop ideas and effectively generate and communicate knowledge. According to Bellinger, Castro and Mills (2004) knowledge is appropriate collection of information such that its intent is to be useful.  Ochu and Egbule (2005) considered knowledge as the information, understanding and skills that an individual gains through education and experience.  However, Ali (2005) viewed knowledge as verifiable and useful information obtained through research, opinions, evidence or facts. Knowledge can be seen as opinion, facts, beliefs or information that we possess through research or review of existing literature and transfer from one party to another.

Knowledge is generally categorized into explicit and formal or tacit and informal (Nonaka, 1995, Davenport, 1998, Brooking, 1999). Tacit knowledge is personal or subjective knowledge which exists in the mind of the individual, available to no-one else, elicited from him by questions, or got through his private diaries, letters and notes. Explicit knowledge on the other hand is knowledge or ideas which can be made available to other people for inspection (Brooking, 1999). This means that it can be verbally explained or preferably codified or written down in specific documents. With codification of knowledge it became possible for general knowledge to be simplified and transferred from one party to another. Academics through research and review of existing information generate new knowledge which is discussed, evaluated, and sent to publishers to produce as books or   journals. The books produced through this process are purchased by academics themselves or by libraries which process, organize, store and transmit the information from one scholar to another, while journals are subscribed to by libraries and individual scholars.

Known as scholarly communication this process is ‘the system through which research and other scholarly writings (new knowledge) are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community and preserved for future use (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2003). Shaughnessy (1989) simply defined scholarly communication as “a social phenomenon whereby intellectual and creative activity is passed from one scholar to another”, while Parekh (2000:154) described it as “a process through which scholars convey their knowledge to, and exchange ideas with each other and future generations.” Case (2002:3) on her part defined scholarly communication as “the process by which scholars and scientists conduct their research and make the results of their work known”.  From the definitions scholarly communication can be defined as the process whereby knowledge is created, evaluated, disseminated and preserved to support the universities’ research, teaching and service mission of the institution. It can be seen that scholarly communication is crucial to knowledge in that it involves generation, evaluation, communication and preservation of knowledge for future use. There are three distinct perspectives in scholarly communication. They are :

   The process of conducting research, developing ideas, and communicating informally with other scholars and scientists;

   The process of preparing, shaping, and communicating to a group of colleagues what will become research results;

   The ultimate formal product that is distributed to libraries and others in print and non-print.

The ultimate formal product (knowledge) is generated or created through research carried out in the universities, research institutes, business and industrial establishments. Such research can be conducted in libraries, laboratories, workshops and the field. Academics can generate knowledge through review of existing literature.  This view was shared by Swanson (as cited by Ozioko 2005) who affirmed that for academics to contribute to knowledge they modify the prior state of knowledge under attack. Through this process they link their findings to the rest of the existing works. The libraries have always played a vital role in allowing scholars to conduct searches to find information that may be useful for generation of new knowledge. Within science, a building block approach to erect the edifice of knowledge has evolved, whereby a scholar links his/her work to the rest of the structure through the writing of journal articles, technical reports, books, chapters in a book, etc.  This in turn is further argued, criticized and cited in subsequent publications (Aguolu & Aguolu, 2002). However, humanistic knowledge does not deal with identifiable facts as natural sciences do and is not cumulative in the sense that scientific knowledge is. It concerns such phenomena as appreciation of beauty, artist creativity and so on. So a humanist does not need to link his/her work to an already existing work in order to generate new knowledge. Knowledge can also be generated through experts’ views and positions. Academics or researchers who have studied and worked in a certain area for long are generally expected to have acquired some degree of hands on specialist experience. Such academics who teach and carry out researches in institutions of higher learning are many a time referred to as ‘masters’ and are consulted on major national and international issues for their views, thoughts and expectations. Their contributions sometimes give useful and refreshing new thoughts in major knowledge based issues (Ali, 2005).  No matter how the knowledge is generated, it is usually communicated to people.

Academics usually communicate generated knowledge through journals, books, preprints, reports, proceedings of discussion, seminars, workshops and conferences. The publishing of research results in the form of articles or papers is an act of information transfer or communication. Shannon and Weaver (as cited by Department of International Development (DFID) , 2001) defined communication as the general process of successful transfer of meaningful information, which may be one-way, two-way or multiple-way process.  As observed by Sondergaard, Anderson & Hjorland (2003) the United Nations Information Service in Science and Technology (UNISIST) model emphasizes three channels of communication namely: formal, informal and tabular (i.e. scientific data rather than text). Academics use the formal communication process to communicate the knowledge they generate to others. Gravey and Griffith (1972) traced the formal communication process from the initiation of the work through to the publication of the polished report in a peer-reviewed journal, a process that could extend up to five years.

In such formal process, academics communicate the knowledge generated as information in published materials (books, journals, reports, bulletins) that have been peer-reviewed, edited by publishers, acquired, processed, archived and stored by libraries (Anderson, 1999; Sondergaard, 2003). They rely on these publications for their recognition, reward and identity formation (Fry, 2006, Lamb, 2005). However, before the knowledge generated is communicated through this process much of it must have been previously communicated via informal channels, including technical reports and conference presentations (Lin, 1970). According to Pfaffenberger (as cited by Poland 1991), academics use informal communication to transfer tacit knowledge (know-how) while formal communication is used to transfer facts and descriptions (know-what). Traditionally, informal communication can be between academics who are co-located in the same workplace or who meet at local or national meetings. During such meetings, speakers receive valuable feedback which they then incorporate into their work. In this category, academics also use reviewer notes, letters, telephone calls, pre- and post prints to communicate (Pikas, 2006). Apart from communicating to get advice, learn about new methods or theories, or hear about new results, academics usually collaborate on research or create new ideas which go through the process again. The cycle is endless.

As previously mentioned, prior to the ICT revolution books and journals were the main vehicle used in the communication process. Academics (authors and editors) generated the knowledge that appeared in such knowledge channels (books and journals) while publishers saw to their production and delivery to the libraries. The libraries then acquired, catalogued, classified, indexed, organized the materials and made them available to users. According to Simui (2004) libraries have played an important role in providing and facilitating access to scholarly information for purposes of learning, teaching and research. Houghton (2000) supported this view when he opined that libraries (especially academic/ research libraries) play an important role in the dissemination of scholarly information through the provision of infrastructure, content, skilled support services, education and training in information access and retrieval. In addition, libraries provide quality control to scholarly information through their collection development process, which sifts the numerous volumes of information for authentication and also provides a source of access to them in a large ‘site-specific and self-sufficient collection’. The preservation of such scholarly information enables future generations of scholars to utilize knowledge generated by their predecessors. These important roles have given libraries a prominent position in the generation and communication of knowledge.

Academics experienced some difficulties when the prices of books and journals used for formal communication exceeded the increase in academic library budgets. The increase in prices of publications, which was brought about by world-wide inflation and economic recession, made it impossible for academic or research libraries in the United States and other developed countries to acquire much of the knowledge provided in the information transfer packages (books, journals, reports). According to Kyrillidou (2000), a report by Association of Research Libraries (ARL) for the period 1986-1999 showed an increase of 170 percent in subscription cost, while titles held declined by 6.5 per cent. As reported by the Scholarly Communication Working Group, the proliferation of journal prices reduced the capacity of research libraries to purchase resources required by their scholarly communities. To cope with the price increases, libraries had to cut journal subscription and reduce monograph purchase. The increase in prices occurred at the same time that the quantity of scholarly information had increased substantially. With the price increase, libraries could not purchase resources required by their scholarly communities. The effect of these changes was a significant reduction in the quantity of scholarly information that libraries could acquire. This situation resulted in a sharp restriction to the body of peer -reviewed knowledge which is described as the ‘crisis in scholarly communication’. The situation was not different in the United Kingdom and Australia. A study by the Publishers’ Association revealed a deep decline in higher education funding for books and journals during the period 1978/79 to 1992/93 (Houghton, 2000).

In African countries, the university environment was greatly affected by the economic decline. While other countries in the developed world generated and communicated knowledge, Africa was poorly represented in global scholarly output. Statistics published by UNESCO in 2000 showed that 72 per cent of book export worldwide came from North America, the United Kingdom, Western Europe and Australia. According to research by the African Publisher’s Network, Africa consumes about 12 per cent of all books produced in the world but contributes less than three per cent to books read in the world (http:// www.freewebs.com/africanpublishers/apr.htm). The meagre generation and communication of knowledge by African scholars was as a result of many factors, which include poor funding for research in African universities and the use of mostly library-based research to generate knowledge. Relying on academic libraries meant not having access to numerous publications not acquired by the libraries as a result of the increase in prices of books and journals. The inability of academic libraries (which imported 99 per cent of materials that support learning, teaching and research from overseas) to provide access to materials published worldwide had direct impact on Africa-based scholars and researchers, who could not access reputable referred journals that could have been assimilated and applied to generate new knowledge (Olukoshi, 2005). The story was not different in Nigeria, as observed by Alele-Williams (2004): between 1980 and 1990 the Federal Government subvention to federal universities (from which libraries received some small percentage) dwindled from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of universities’ request. Given the high cost of journals and books overseas, the percentage assigned to libraries could not purchase many of the materials needed by academics for the generation of new knowledge. Apart from this shortcoming, most of the locally generated knowledge was not in any database. Lack of indigenous knowledge databases plus lack of secondary and tertiary sources, have increased the difficulties faced by academics in the use of information in the local setting. Many development projects in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular have failed because the local information relevant to the situation was not known ( Sturgis, Mchombu and Neil,  ).  Mchombu (2006) also observed that while developed countries were characterized by high production of information and knowledge, the African local content was still very low because of lack of capacity to generate, produce, transfer and disseminate information.

Furthermore, many journals in Nigeria have very short life span and as such cannot be relied on for knowledge communication. Some academics establish journals only to promote their publications. As soon as they are elevated to the position of professor, they lose interest in the journals and allow them to fizzle out (Ivowi, 2005). Moreover, inadequate research grants reduce the amount of research that could be conducted to generate new knowledge.  In other instances, academics given the grants misappropriate them and end up not generating any new knowledge. In addition to this, knowledge generated through the conduct of research is not documented in any database. Unavailability of generated knowledge in a database results in duplication of already existing knowledge. Though academics are expected to generate knowledge through other means such as conferences, many of them never attend conferences held outside the institutions because of lack of sponsorship. The non-attendance to conferences, especially those held internationally, denies academics the opportunities of being exposed to some academic communities where renowned experts in their areas of specialization are available for interaction (Ivowi, 2005).

Despite these shortcomings academics face institutional appraisals that enable their movement from one rank to the other after some years of experience. Rank in this study is categorized into senior (professors and associate professors), middle (senior lecturers and lecturer 1) and junior (lecturer 11 and assistant lecturer). To be able to scale through appraisals, academics are required to generate knowledge which should be published in journals, books, technical reports, monographs, creative works (UNN, 2006).  To generate new knowledge, academics are expected to interact with their senior colleagues (professors and associate professors) by giving them documented researched works to vet and make their input or discuss new knowledge created with them and allow the senior colleagues to measure their worth before making some formal articles available to the broader community. Despite the expectation, many professors are said not to concern themselves with research or informal generation of knowledge, once they are promoted to professorial rank. One of the reasons might be the inadequate provision of current journals in their libraries. Another might be, as suggested by Ivowi (2005), because there are very few awards for academic excellence in Nigeria, unlike in other advanced countries of the world. The situation does not help to stimulate scholarship; rather it reduces the zeal of the senior academics in pursuit of more intellectual achievements.

The evolution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has brought changes to the way knowledge is generated and communicated. Traditionally, academics generated knowledge through research carried out in laboratories or review of existing literature in libraries and also through discussion with experts in various fields of study during conferences, workshops and seminars. With the non availability of funds for academics to conduct research and for libraries to acquire many books and journals, academics have to gather as much information as possible through the use of ICT. According to Gill (2000), ICT is the modern science of gathering, storing, manipulating, processing and communicating desired types of information in a specific environment. Through ICT, it is now possible to capture, process, store, and communicate information in coded form. Such information is then transported and/or exchanged between sources/terminals electronically (Heeks, 1999). The first part of this process involves data processing terminals (computers) while the later part involves telecommunication infrastructure (Ige 2001). ICT in all its forms (Internet, E-mail, World Wide Web (WWW), CD-ROM) has created opportunities for storing, organizing, accessing and disseminating knowledge (Oriaifo, 2005). The ultimate goal of the new technology is to help individuals access “a variety of information and knowledge sources in a manner that would be simple and easy; and independent of time and place and subject discipline……” (University of Wisconsin – Madision Libraries, 1999).

With ICT it has become possible for academics/researchers to plan, share data and results, write papers and maintain contacts faster and more easily. In the developed world, the use of technologies of digital representation and networked communication in scholarly practice has resulted in broader participation in the knowledge communication process and wider access to knowledge generated (Fyffe, 2002). For example, e-mail has transformed direct scholar-to-scholar communication, and has expanded opportunities for collaboration, especially for scholars in smaller or remote institutions. E-print servers have expanded access to pre-published materials that previously circulated in mimeo and photocopy only within selected circles (Fyffe, 2002). He went further to say that it has become possible to have all phases of the life cycle of scholarly work available to a global audience in an integrated database of knowledge.

In addition, ICT has allowed more flexibility in communicating knowledge. For example, scholars can use pre-print publications or update materials already published to communicate new ideas. Furthermore, the physical limitations of paper can be by-passed with the use of new publication methods which allow research findings to be communicated directly through the distribution of complete data sets in formats which include audio, video and interactive presentation. Apart from making communication more effective, the adoption and use of ICT in science can bring decreased peripherality and broader and more geographically dispersed collaborations in knowledge generation (Pikas, 2006). A number of studies document that collaboration has been increasing over the last decades. For instance, scientometric data show the increase in multi-authored papers in particular in the natural sciences (Thagard, 1997). Walsh and Maloney (2001:3) stated that ‘while the number of international collaboration papers approximately doubled, there was a nine- fold increase in the number of publications by large international collaborations’.

In order to provide access and develop new approaches for disseminating information to their client communities, many university libraries worldwide have adopted Information and Communication Technologies. The last two decades have seen the adoption and application of a number of technological innovations such as Compact Disc Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) and Internet in providing access to scholarly information. CD-ROM is a stand-alone electronic access to library materials, while Internet consists of a huge number of participants, connected machines, software programs, and a massive quantity of information spread all around the world (Engst, 1995). The new technology has virtually made the entire world a global village. It has reduced distances virtually if not physically, thus providing scholars with easier access to and input into the world of international scholarship-  nationally, across the continent and internationally’ (Partnership for Higher Education in Africa/ UNECA, August, 2002).

In Nigeria, significant development and achievements in the use of Information and Communication Technologies have been recorded in academic and research libraries. In the early 1970s and 1980s attempts by Nigerian libraries to automate their operations were unsuccessful (Idowu and Mabawonku, 1999). Attempts by University of Lagos library and University of Ibadan library, for example, to automate basic routine library operations failed. The situation remained the same until 1994 when the National Universities Commission (NUC) through the US $120 million World Bank credit facility introduced the Nunet Network. This spurred most university libraries to computerize their services (Anasi, 2005). Presently, university libraries in University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, University of Benin, University of Uyo, Bayero University and others have installed ICT facilities in their establishments. Many other universities are yet to install the full complement of ICT facilities in their libraries. Apart from libraries, Internet access is also available in many information centres and cyber cafes within the university campuses. Academics are expected to visit those centres and make use of the facilities when they have need for them. However, to be able to use the facilities effectively, academics must acquire the basic ICT skills (Guardian, 2001). In with this is National Information Technology Policy (NITP) which clearly stated that to join the world and be part of the IT train, a massive local and global IT skills acquisition is required.

However, before 1997 computers and telecommunication facilities were grossly inadequate in the country. Academics had no computers or telephones in their offices or homes.  As noted by Ekuwen (2002) this inadequacy of telecommunication supply in the country in particular and Africa in general, is evident in the fact that there were more telephone lines in Manhattan (a part of New York City) than all of  Sub-Saharan Africa. Also as of 1997, while China had 20 million installed lines, the whole of Africa had only 14 million installed lines. However, there is remarkable7 improvement in telephone line ratio with the decision of the last civilian administration to provide ICT facilities to many Nigerians. The move brought the prices of ICT facilities down to a level where many Nigerians, including academics, found it convenient to purchase computers and own Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) handsets for easy communication. Academics in Nigeria use the mobile tele-communication gadgets (GSM handsets) in lieu of the inadequate provision of main line infrastructure. Nigeria has been ranked the fastest growing market in Africa and one of the fastest in the world with 35,000 lines in 1999 and 21million in March, 2006 (African Institute for Applied Economics & NSL 2007). Presently a number of academics own GSM handsets and a good percentage have computers in their homes and offices linked to the Internet. Though a number of academics are hooked to the mobile phone networks, the operators still need to ensure that problems of interconnectivity, limited mobile coverage, high cost of services etc are tackled so that academics and Nigerians in general can take full advantage of mobile telephony (Adomi, 2005). With improved facilities, it would be possible to use information gathered from other places to generate and communicate new knowledge.

Apart from the facilities mentioned above there are some social variables such as discipline, gender and rank that might influence the use of ICT for scholarly communication. These variables help a great deal to account for the varied influence of the use of ICT for scholarly communication. The use and communication of scholarly information in institutions of higher learning differ across disciplines. Traditionally, academics in sciences communicate their research results in journals, rather than in monographs (Branin, Groen and Thorin 2000; Kling and Mckim 1998).  In this ICT era, they communicate widely using electronic journals and share initial results of their research through the use of electronic preprints. The social scientists depend very much on journal and monograph literature as their source of communication (Hurych, 1986; Steinke, 1991; Echezona, 1997). However, humanities scholars depend more on books and monographs. On the whole, rapid dissemination of results is less important in humanities than in the sciences and older publications are consulted more frequently than in many scientific disciplines (Branin, 2002).

In institutions of higher learning, academics comprise both male and female. They all carry out the same academic functions in the institution. Although no gender-disaggregated statistics on Internet users in Africa are available it seems likely that more men than women are users, simply because in Africa men generally have greater access to technology (Rathgeber,1995). The term ‘gender’ refers to the different roles men and women play in a society or a community (Parker as cited by Riano 1994). These roles are determined by cultural, social and economic factors and differ within and between cultures and countries. Gender roles are different from sex differences in that sex differences are biological, and for the most part, unchangeable. Gender roles are dynamic and change over time (UNDP, 1995). Now that there are a growing number of women academics it is important to use ‘gender lenses’ to analyze academics in the institutions. This involves recognizing and taking account of how gender interacts with ICT use for knowledge generation and communication as this may affect their productivity.

However, academics in institutions of higher learning, all aspire to become professors some day. To be promoted to the rank of a professor, the candidate must have outstanding records of scholarly achievement, must have achieved national leadership and in most cases international professional recognition. The most common element of recognition as a leader in one’s field is excellence in scholarship in one or more of the following areas: research, education and program development. Tertiary institutions, especially universities, consider research as one of their principal duties. This by implication makes tertiary institutions the summit for knowledge generation and communication (Usman, 2005).  In the universities, senior lecturers are generally said to generate more knowledge than other ranks. This view is supported by Aina & Mooko (1999) who found that senior lecturers provided the highest proportion of researches. It is reasoned that academics in the middle rank (senior lecturers and lecturer 1) work extra hard to generate and communicate knowledge that may help them get promoted to the position of professors in the shortest possible time. On the contrary, Jacobs (1998) found that professors present more scientific papers at international conferences than associate professors, senior lecturers, and lecturers. However, as viewed by Bottle (1994) research output of academics was not dependent on rank. Despite these views professors in science and engineering faculties were found to produce more research output (Okafor, 2008), while the junior rank (lecturer 11 and assistant lecturer) were said to be more amendable to ICT. However, with the evolution and use of ICT, professors or associate professors (senior academics) are expected to generate more knowledge, attract more research grants, initiate collaborative studies and have increased productivity.

From the discussion above it is clear that academics are expected to use ICT to generate and communicate a vast volume of knowledge. This is because knowledge transforms the society and also helps institutional or organizational growth. To be able to achieve this the study focuses on assessing the level of ICT literacy skills, extent of ICT use for scholarly communication by academics in various disciplines, the influence gender and rank have on ICT use for scholarly communication. Some importance is also placed in knowing the difficulties academics encounter in the use of ICT and ways of ameliorating them.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) USE FOR SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION AMONG ACADEMICS IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES