The OpenUCT Initiative (OUI), funded with a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, was a culmination of all the open initiatives at UCT that preceded it. This cross-university project was identified as a Special Project and was hosted collaboratively by the Centre for Higher Education Development and UCT Libraries, with a reporting line to the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research as well as the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning. The OUI engaged extensively with both the academic community and university management, operating as a key intermediary in navigating the path to institutionalised open practice.

One of the primary outputs of the OUI was the development of the OpenUCT repository, which was developed under the auspices of the project and launched in 2014; after which UCT Libraries took over the management and ongoing development of the platform as a centralised university service in support of the university’s open access agenda. The OUI aggregated and described the complete UCT collection of OER previously referenced in the Open Content portal and ingested this content into the OpenUCT repository, making it unique at the time in terms of an institutional repository approach showcasing both research and teaching materials.

The OpenUCT Initiative (OUI) played a central role in providing leadership and steering in the development of UCT’s Open Access Policy, approved in 2014; particularly as relates to the innovative approach of integrating OER as an aspect of institutional activity addressed in the policy.

The OUI also played a central role In terms of advancing the institutional open data agenda through hosting a research sub-project which was part of the Open Data in Developing Countries initiative. Funded by World Wide Web Foundation, this sub-project was one of the first open data research initiatives at UCT and played a role in integrating open data and open science in the institutional conversation around open practice at UCT.

OpenUCT Initiative outputs

Czerniewicz, L., Goodier, S. & Morrell, R. (2016): Southern knowledge online? Climate change research discoverability and communication practices. Information, Communication & Society. Available at

Czerniewicz, L. & Goodier S. (2014). Open access in South Africa: A case study and reflections. South Africa Journal of Science, 110(9/10),  pp. 1-9. Available at:

Czerniewicz, L. & Wiens, K. (2013). The Online Visibility of South African knowledge: Searching for poverty alleviation. The African Journal of Information and Communication. Available at:

Van Schalkwyk, F., Willmers, M. & McNaughton, M. (2015). Viscous open data: The roles of intermediaries in an open data ecosystem. Information Technology for Development. Available at:

van Schalkwyk, F., Willmers, M. & Czerniewicz, L. (2014). Open data in the governance of South African higher education. Cape Town: OpenUCT Initiative. Available at: