Investigation of Factors Affecting the Adoption of Information and Communication Technologies for Communication of Research Output in Research Institutions in Kenya
Using Rogers' (2003) and Hofstede's (2001) technology diffusion theories as lenses, this exploratory and interpretive study was an endeavour to contribute to the understanding of ICT-enabled research communication by and for scholars and researchers working in Kenya. The main purpose of the study was to identify factors affecting ICT-enabled research communication by researchers in research institutions in specific fields within the natural and applied sciences in Kenya, which are viewed as key result areas in socio-economic development. Qualitative techniques were used to collect and analyze the data and present the findings. The researcher sought to identify, understand and explain key factors affecting ICT-mediated scientific research communication with a view to coming up with an ICT-adoption framework that would assist the Kenyan research community in more effectively adopting ICT-enabled research dissemination practices. This in turn should support Kenya's national development goals and contribute to the existing knowledge base and serve as a useful reference point in research communication debates and policy deliberations. The findings revealed researchers' priority research communication need was reinforcement of capacity for strategic research through recognising and prioritising research communication in budgetary planning. Thus, the findings call for investment in scientific and technological research and its communication, which includes improving tools and infrastructure, especially ICT-enabled ones like Internet connectivity and other e-resources. The findings affirmed the literature and extant theories guiding the study but also revealed information unique to the Kenyan context. Among emerging factors affecting adoption of ICT for scientific research communication were socio-cultural factors such as appreciation and perception of ICT; attitude of the scientific research community; demographic issues such as age/level of qualification, gender, poverty and literacy levels; communication networks and traditional cultural values such as orature, communalism and education culture. There were also institutional factors which included issues to do with ICT governance such as political and institutional leadership and culture; institutional framework; policy and strategy and legal and regulatory framework; and control over mass media communication channels. Moreover, inadequate institutional capacity for ICT-mediated research communication, lack of demand for MIS for research and teaching, lack of recognition and motivation for researchers were found to hinder ICT-mediated research communication. Though ICT had the perceived attributes of relative advantages, compatibility, complexity, observability and reliability, there were relative disadvantages that discouraged adoption. These included the need for hard- & software and virus upgrades; its susceptibility to environmental factors; dependence on other infrastructures that may be unavailable or unreliable; and possibilities for information overload and plagiarism. Other factors affecting ICT adoption that emerged outside the preliminary model included the nature of discipline/type of data; personal/individual institution's initiative; telephone wire thefts and lack of ICT research. All these contextual perspectives informed the framework for adoption of ICT for scientific research communication by researchers and scholars in research institutions in Kenya.