The Pains and Gains of the Publication Requirement: a Survey of Librarians at Delta State University, Nigeria
Placing librarians on academic status in universities is a universal phenomenon. It started in the United States in the 1940s and spread to Britain and Canada through the 1980s, after a struggle by librarians in those countries. This has created many unanticipated developments and new problems needing solutions. A body of literature emerged and is still growing as the ramifications of the status have continued to be investigated. The literature of the past reveals a different perspective on the issues of academic status, ranging from implementation, attitudes of teaching faculty, publications and higher degrees opportunities (gains), and responsibilities and problems (pains).
This paper is limited to Delta State University library. Delta State University changed to a university from an advanced teacher's college in 1992. When this transition occurred, the majority of librarians had bachelor's degrees and were employed as assistant librarians with no professional skills. They were to be upgraded to librarian II after completing a master's degree in library studies. The reverse was the case, when in 1993 the National University Commission (NUC) issued a circular directing all librarians in Federal Universities should be accorded academic status in appointment and promotions (Ochai, 1998). The designation "assistant librarian" was changed to "graduate assistant." This therefore nullified the possibility of being promoted from Assistant Librarian to Librarian II.
Since the directive was mandatory and it took immediate effect, librarians since that year began to enjoy the basic privileges that had been reserved for teaching faculty. The privileges which constitute the gains of academics for librarians, include:
Study leave with pay
Separate academic salary scale (UASS)
Extended retirement age of 65 years
As the saying goes, you cannot eat your cake and have it, and these benefits were accompanied with new expectations. The requirements needed to qualify for these benefits constitute the pains of the new status. These new requirements include:
The publication requirement is an entirely new one. Previously, librarians had only three requirements for promotion:
Academic status had caused some setbacks for librarians. It appears as if the gains have been swallowed up by the pains. The question is: do the gains justify the pains? Why is it so difficult for the librarians to meet the publication requirements? Are librarians adequately prepared academically and professional for academic status? These and many issues constitute the kernel of this study.
The requirements for promotion of academic librarians are similar to those of teaching staff. The argument for not having different set of guidelines is based on the following assumptions:
New Requirements For Promotion
Graduate assistant librarian must have masters degree in library and informationwithin two years of employment to move to assistant librarian
To move to Librarian II, Assistant Librarians must have a master's in library and information science with one publication in a reputable journal.
For promotion to Librarian I, a master's in library and information science, four publications, and three years since last promotion.
For promotion to senior librarian, a PhD in library and information science, eight publications, and three years since last promotion.
For promotion to deputy librarian, a PhD, eight publications, and three years since last promotion.
For promotion to university librarian, which is the equivalent of Professor, sixteen publications, with 10% percent of the publications appearing in foreign journals (Ahmadu, 2004).
The main objective of this paper is to establish the extent to which librarians in Delta State University have coped with their academic status since the inception of the "publish or perish" requirement.
This article is based on the questionnaire designed by Omoniwa (2003), with modifications by the researchers for librarians who are the respondents. Data collected were analysed in percentages.
Twenty librarians from the rank of graduate assistant to senior librarian, which is the highest rank in the library at the time of this study, formed the sample for this study.
Result of Findings
Table I: Years of experience
Fifty percent of the respondents had working experience of 11 - 15 years in the university library.
Table 2: Present designation
Table 2: Ranks. Four (20%) are Graduate Assistant, four (20%) are Assistant Librarian, and ten (50%) are Librarian II. There is just one (5%) Librarian I and one Senior Librarian.
Table 3: years of last promotion.
Table 3: Forty five percent of academic staff in the library have not received a promotion for ten years or more.
Table 4: Reasons for the delay in promotion.
Sixty percent of the respondents failed to get promoted due to lack of publications, while 25% lack higher degrees.
Table 5: staff attitude to work due to publications.
Table 5: Do the publication criteria affect your attitude toward work?
Sixty five percent of academic staff devote less time to their responsibilities in the library because of the struggle to publish papers that will earn them promotion. This affected the pace of library automation, which began in 2001.
The rating of journals by the Appraisal and Promotion Committee (APC) had an effect on decisions about where to publish
Table 6: Effect of journal rating.
Seventy percent of the respondents do not have enough journal publications because of the rating of journals in librarianship. State journals, which are easily accessible to library academic staff, are rejected by the Appraisal and Promotion Committee (APC).
Having knowledge of journal titles have also affected academic librarians' publications. The table below shows knowledge of journals in the field.
Table 7: Do you have knowledge of journal titles.
Sixty percent of academic librarians do not have knowledge of journal titles that are accepted by the APC. The library do not subscribe to foreign journals in librarianship. How does one publish, when there is no reading?
Conference attendance contributes to continuing education. A lot of importance is attached to conferences or seminars attended by academics.
Table 8: Last conference attended.
The table shows that 40% of the respondents have not attended conferences for the past five years. Conferences are very expensive. Administrative support for attending conferences would enhance librarians' research and publication ability.
Academic librarians in Delta State University library are not satisfied with the criteria for promotion. University library leadership has an obligation to their younger colleagues to provide the necessary materials and opportunities to attend conferences and seminars. The list of approved journals is unnecessarily restrictive.
Ahmadu, A.B. ( 2004) Requirement for the appointments of university librarians in Nigeria universities.Gateway Library Journals. 7(2):89
Ochai, A. ( 1998) Publication output of libraries: the search for alternative justifications.African Journal of Library and Information Science. 8(2):90
Omoniwa, M.A. (2003). Twenty years of academic status (1983-2003) for libraries in Ahmadu Bello University library system.Nigeria Libraries 37(1):60-66
The researcher is carrying a survey on academic Librarian perception on Publication on as a major criteria for promotion.
Please tick as applicable
Years - 20 - 25
26 - 30
36 - 40
46 - 50
56 - 60
4.POST QUALIFICATION WORKING EXPERIENCE YEARS
1 - 5
6 - 10
11 - 15
16 - 20
5.Which is your present designation?
6.How long have you been on this post?
1 - 2 years
3 - 5 "
6 - 10 "
Above 10 "
Others please specify
7.Are you satisfied with the years of waiting on your present post?
8.Reasons for Delay in promotion
Not dedicated to duty
Lack of higher degree
Lack of vacancy
Others please specify
9.Does the Publication Criteria affect your attitude to work? Yes No
10.Which of the following reasons motivates you to publish and obtain a higher degree?
To earn promotion
To contribute to knowledge
11.Which of the following reasons is hindrance to lack of required publication for your promotion.
Weak/Poor research orientation
Too much demand by daily work in the library
Lack of academic freedom
Rating of journal titles
Lack of interest
12.Have you published in the last 2 years?Yes No
13.Do you have enough knowledge of journal titles in your discipline?
Yes / No
14.Does the rating of Journal Titles pose some Discouragement to your publication?
Yes / No
15.Please give the names of Journal titles in which you have your publications.
16.When last you attended Conferences?
2 years ago
3 years ago
5 years ago
Over 5 years ago