Forum for Open Research in MENA

“Bringing together leading international experts and key regional stakeholders, the Forum for Open Research in MENA (F.O.R.M.) is endorsed by UNESCO, and supports the advancement of Open Research across the Middle East and North Africa by facilitating the exchange of actionable insights and the development of practical policies.

The movement towards Open Science is vitally important to ensure the long-term sustainability and inclusivity of our education systems and scholarly communities. However, Open Science is also a complex and multi-faceted concept, and it can be difficult to know how and where to start. The problem is further compounded by the negative publicity surrounding predatory publishing practices and the mistrust of Open Access which this has engendered, together with issues surrounding funding allocation and the disparity in subject-field approaches.

Providing a forum for librarians, researchers, government policy makers, universities and international experts to discuss and debate key themes and issues, F.O.R.M. will help to address these issues and support the advancement of Open Research across the region.”

Call for Papers – Forum for Open Research in MENA

“The Forum for Open Research in MENA (F.O.R.M.) is being organised by the Knowledge E Foundation and Gulf Conferences to support and promote Open Science across the Middle East and North Africa. Endorsed and supported by UNESCO, our Advisory Partner, this event is designed to foster awareness and understanding of Open Science and its benefits, and facilitate the exchange of ideas and actionable insights. Bringing together leading international experts and key regional stakeholders, along with open-source and open-resource solutions and technology providers, our goal is to provide a forum for MENA librarians, researchers, government policy makers and higher-education institutions to exchange ideas and start new cross-regional collaborations developing Open Research policies and infrastructure.

The movement towards Open Science is vitally important to ensuring the long-term sustainability and inclusivity of our education systems and scholarly communities. However, Open Science is also a complex and multi-faceted concept, and it can be difficult to know how and where to start. The problem is compounded by the negative publicity surrounding predatory publishing practices and the mistrust of Open Access which this has engendered in the MENA region (and across the world), together with issues surrounding funding allocation and the disparity in subject-field approaches.

F.O.R.M. seeks to address these issues by encouraging discussion and debate amongst leading regional and global stakeholders, facilitating the development of structural frameworks and practical policies. We hope to encourage participants to consider all the issues surrounding equitable Open Scholarship and Open Science practices, by bringing together industry leaders and global experts, and providing a mixture of outstanding talks, strategy sessions, networking opportunities and workshops….”

Regional and international experts come together to discuss open access research in MENA | ZAWYA MENA Edition

“International research and education leaders will come together today to discuss the accessibility and visibility of research in the MENA region.  

The free symposium Towards a more knowledgeable world: Open Access research in MENAis being held during the annual global Open Access week. It will consist of a series of talks by leading regional stakeholders and global organisations about the implementation and benefits of open research practices.  …”

Librarians as gate-openers in open access publishing: A case study in the United Arab Emirates – ScienceDirect

The advent of open access (OA) has changed the scholarly communication landscape resulting in disruption of traditional relationships between different stakeholders. Thus, the gatekeeping role of academic librarians has been impaired. However, by assuming the role of gate-openers, librarians have become facilitators of OA uptake in the United Arab Emirates. Results of the UAE librarians survey show that they are aware of OA routes and predatory journals; they are using different instruction methods to educate users on OA resources and publishing; and they harness OA resources along the traditional subscription-based products. Readers of international library journals need to be aware of efforts undertaken by their peers to advance OA mandate outside the Eastern European and North American context, often dominating scholarly communication studies.

Digital Library of the Middle East Implements Major Upgrades • CLIR

“The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), Qatar National Library, and Stanford University Libraries today announced several major improvements to the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME).

The public, open DLME platform, released in July 2020, aggregates digital records of published materials, documents, maps, artifacts, audiovisual recordings, and more from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Viewers can access nearly 134,000 digital records of materials spanning more than 12 millennia held in museums, libraries, and archives worldwide. The site is fully navigable in Arabic and English….”

Digital Library of the Middle East – DLME

“The Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME) offers free and open access to the rich cultural legacy of the Middle East and North Africa by bringing together collections from a wide range of cultural heritage institutions. Developed by an engineering team from CLIR and Stanford Libraries, the platform federates and makes accessible data about collections from around the world….”

Statement on Collection Development, Access, and Equity in the time of COVID-19

“As is the case in Latin America and the Caribbean and elsewhere across the Global South, the majority of publications from the Middle East (Southwest Asia), North Africa and the diasporas are print-only, and are not available in electronic formats. Therefore, collecting policies which prefer electronic acquisitions at the expense of print risk excluding from their growing collections a significant portion of the cultural and scholarly production of these regions. Such policies threaten the diversity of representation in library collections by further marginalizing already marginalized voices….

We are particularly concerned that research materials and resources will be concentrated in a handful of wealthy, often private, institutions.  Commitment to area studies in general and to Middle East studies librarianship in particular is also instrumental for maintaining diverse and inclusive collections that reflect and support the wide ranging scholarly and creative interests of our users.”

OpenMed – Opening up Education in South-Mediterranean countries

“Five partners from Europe and nine from South Mediterranean Countries are working together to widening participation and adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) as a bottom-up approach to support the modernisation of the Higher Education sector in Morocco, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan….”

Directory of Free Arab Journals

From the LibLicense announcement by ElHassan: “I am writing to you to announce the release of the second version of the Directory of Free Arab Journals . It is an independent initiative to produce a directory for all OA journals produced in Arab countries, curated and funded by a group of OA activists in the region (myself included). The website was there since 2013 the new version released last week includes over twice as many journals and many new website features. It currently lists 250 journals from 172 publishers in 17 Arab countries. The guide is published under a CC-BY-NC license….”

Dubai declaration or recommendations on open education

“Last year about this time, news stories set us up to expect the imminent release of the Dubai Declaration on Open Access to Learning….I’ve been searching ever since and haven’t found the declaration.

Subsequent news stories suggested that the title changed to Dubai Recommendations on Open Access to Learning….But I can’t find the recommendations either.

Does anyone have a URL for the declaration or recommendations? Or does anyone know why they might not yet have been released?”