Original Research

The age factor in the use of peer-reviewed electronic journals by Zimbabwean academics

Takawira Machimbidza, Stephen Mutula
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1133 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1133 | © 2020 Takawira Machimbidza, Stephen Mutula | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 July 2019 | Published: 17 August 2020

About the author(s)

Takawira Machimbidza, Department of Information Studies, School of Social Sciences, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Stephen Mutula, Department of Information Studies, School of Social Sciences, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The emergence of peer-reviewed electronic journals on the academic scene at the turn of the century was well received by university libraries in Zimbabwe. They established a consortium to facilitate conveyance of the resources to their patrons. Use of electronic journals by academics, however, has remained minimal almost two decades after their introduction. Efforts by librarians to address this challenge are hampered by lack of context-specific information on how age, among other demographic factors, affects adoption and use of electronic journals by academics. Such information is critical in promoting its use.

Objectives: This study examined age differences in the awareness of peer-reviewed electronic journals by academics in Zimbabwean universities, use of electronic journals and possession of technological skills needed to negotiate the electronic journals environment.

Method: This study employed a quantitative approach using a survey research design. Data were collected through structured questionnaires administered to a sample of 363 academics from three universities in Zimbabwe. Data were analysed through the Statistical Package for Social Sciences to produce tables.

Results: Younger academics were more aware of electronic journals, however, the older academics accessed more articles. Younger academics possessed higher technological skills than older academics.

Conclusion: There are age differences among academics with respect to awareness, use and possession of technological skills that librarians must take into account as they promote adoption and use of electronic journals.


Keywords

academics; peer-reviewed electronic journals; age; awareness; adoption and use; technological skills; Zimbabwean universities.

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