Saudi Arabia jails two Wikipedia staff in ‘bid to control content’ | Wikipedia | The Guardian

“Saudi Arabia has infiltrated Wikipedia and jailed two administrators in a bid to control content on the website, weeks after a former Twitter worker was jailed in the US for spying for the Saudis.

One administrator was jailed for 32 years, and another was sentenced to eight years, the activists said.

An investigation by parent body Wikimedia found the Saudi government had penetrated Wikipedia’s senior ranks in the region, with Saudi citizens acting or forced to act as agents, two rights groups said….”

Faculty Perceptions of OA A Quantitative Analysis

Abstract:  A quantitative survey of faculty perceptions of Open Access (OA) publishing was conducted at the American University of Sharjah (AUS), a small liberal arts style University in the United Arab Emirates. The survey aimed to assess faculty perceptions of the credibility and quality of OA publishing. We were curious to discover the range of interpretations and understanding of OA amongst our faculty members in order to inform ongoing outreach and scholarly communications activity.

Doha Institute set to hold Arab Open Access Forum

“The library of Doha Institute For Graduate Studies is set to hold the third Arab Open Access Forum via videoconferencing during October 29-31, 2022, in collaboration with Arab Community of Open Access (ACOA). The forum will constitute an opportunity for the academic and research community to get familiarised with the merits and advantages of free access and its developments at the global level, in addition to enhancing the Arab content and provide it freely on the internet, supporting the relevant educational programs and monitoring the distinguished experiences and initiatives, in terms of scientific and practical aspects in the overall tracks of free access in the Arab society.

In addition, the forum will spotlight the current and vital topics through its seven themes that will be discussed, where the first theme will discuss the information openness for climatic justice, the second theme will address the role of free access in countering pandemics and crises through focusing on some successful experiences at the Global and Arab levels, the third theme will discuss the directions in the open science, while the fourth theme will focus on the scientific journals.

In the fifth theme, researchers will discuss the digital repositories, the disciplinary and institutional digital repositories in the Arab region, the sixth theme will discuss the various sources of free access and the seventh theme will spotlight the information institutions and their role in supporting free access.

The forum will be held for the third time at the Arab region level respectively, and is hosted by the library of Doha Institute For Graduate Studies.”

Insight into Faculty Open Access Perceptions: A Quantitative Analysis Among UAE Faculty: New Review of Academic Librarianship: Vol 0, No ja

Abstract:  Open access (OA) publishing presents university librarians, administrators, and faculty researchers with a paradox of both opportunities and challenges. For faculty researchers in particular, the decision of whether to pursue OA publication of their scholarship is driven by their perceptions of the credibility and quality of OA publishing. While there is a variety of extant literature broaching these perceptions, there are few quantitative analyses with an n greater than 100 respondents, and a notable lack of research in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study mitigates this gap in scholarship regarding OA publishing, offering a quantitative analysis of a survey sample of 134 UAE faculty researchers. We find statistically significant findings regarding the relationship between one’s position on OA and length of publishing career and professorial rank. Similarly, we find that those with favourable views of OA publishing are more likely to believe that OA journals are peer reviewed, increase likelihood of being cited, allow authors to repost content, and are a more principled alternative to traditional publishers. Those who believe that their research should be freely available to all readers or that OA publishing broadens their research impact were also highly likely to hold favourable views of OA publishing. Finally, our findings suggest that support for OA publishing at the departmental and institutional level remains ambiguous, with findings yielding contradicting results on the matter. The study contributes to content regarding scholarship, library science, and university administration.


Oman’s COVID-19 publication trends: A cross-sectional bibliometric study – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic led researchers and clinicians to stretch their capacities in conducting, writing, reviewing, and publishing a wealth of pandemic-related research. Oman scholars, researchers, and clinicians are no different in their quest for rapid dissemination of relevant scientific knowledge, which is of paramount importance nationally and internationally. Given the intense international interest in COVID-19 research. The study aim is to describe the COVID-19 research output in Oman in relation to publication type, journal impact factor, collaboration, author affiliation and compared it with national scholarly output over the decade. Study Design: We carried out a bibliometric cross-sectional study. Methods: We included all Oman COVID-19 publications for the period February 14 and 25, February 2021. Data retrieved using search engines PubMed, Google Scholar and Directory of Open Access Journals. Results: The COVID-19 publications search generated 210 articles. There were 36.7% review articles and 30% original articles. Of note, 2.4% randomized controlled trials articles were produced during the search period, 1.4% systematic and meta-analysis articles. The 85.7% of the publications were in journals with defined impact factor (IF) and 89.4% of articles with IF < 5. There was 53.8% international collaboration. Conclusion: The need to increase research published in journals with high impact factors and there was a high international collaboration in reviews and report articles, which may require building national research capacity.


Abu-Ghazaleh stresses the importance of the outcomes of the National Open Science Conference in Tunisia

“Under the guidance of His Excellency Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global and Chairman of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), and under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Moncef Boukthir, Tunisian Minster of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the National Conference on “Open Science – The Way Forward” was successfully conducted in Tunisia, with the participation of more than hundred high-level representatives of government institutions, universities and research institutions from Tunisia….”

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….”

Preserving endangered Islamic manuscripts – College of Arts & Sciences

“The Haalpulaar people were among the first Senegalese to widely embrace Islam. Haalpulaar scholars wrote Islamic manuscripts in Arabic, but also used the Arabic script to write poetry in the local language, a writing system known as Ajam?. Today, Arabic and Pulaar manuscripts are held in family libraries, while Taal’s original library still sits in French libraries since its colonial confiscation in 1890. Most of the manuscripts in Arabic are at the Taal family’s main library in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

Camara said the body of work produced by the Haalpulaar is a bit of an untold story: “It became important to prove that this poetry existed and that it actually predated many of the manuscripts that we boast about in Senegal.” …

Collectively, the team digitized 6,000 pages of text, about 3,500 pages from Senegal and 2,500 from Mali. The materials will be archived in three digital repositories — the British Library’s Endangered Archives Program, University Libraries and the West African Research Center in Senegal. The project also received support from the AAAD department and the African Studies Center at UNC….”

Scholarly Publishing and Peer-review in Times of Crisis: An Overview |

Abstract:  We present the main conclusions, lessons learned, and recommendations of the work carried out in the COVID-19 Rapid Review Initiative, published in a detailed report ( 17125394.v1), prepared by the Research-on-Research Institute (RoRI, in collaboration with researchers, publishers, and other scholarly communication experts.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of an effective scholarly communication system. Traditional scholarly communication channels, particularly peer-reviewed journals, have been put under pressure to deal with Covid-19-related research in a timely way. At the same time, some alternative channels of scholarly communication have received more attention during the pandemic, partly in terms of the role they can play in easing pressure on traditional publication channels. One major alternative channel of scholarly communication is that of preprints. Preprints have become an essential part of the communication of research about Covid-19, but concerns remain about quality assurance, which is clearly associated with the recent emergence of new projects that streamline evaluative peer interactions (e.g., comments, recommendations, reviews) on Covid-19 preprints.

These innovative projects center on providing a more transparent and rapid peer review process, improving the scientific publication workflow, offering different publication options to authors, and ensuring that research (Covid-19 or non-Covid-19) becomes more widely available, more transparent, and credible. Based on the lessons learned from the Covid-19 Rapid Review Initiative, we discuss the challenges and opportunities that these projects create for different stakeholders, especially researchers, publishers, funding agencies, and science policymakers, both in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Early Arabic Sound Recordings and the Public Domain – Loeb Music Library

“And thanks to the Music Modernization Act (technically, one of its components, Title II, the Classic Protection and Access Act), sound recordings published prior to 1923 enter the public domain in the United States. This is a really big deal! Since pre-1972 sound recordings didn’t have federal copyright protection until the passage of the MMA, they’ve been languishing in copyright limbo for decades – in some cases, for well over a century – and there are a lot of them: by some estimates, over 400,000 early sound recordings are now part of the public domain. This change to the law dramatically expands our ability to share early 20th-century sound recordings from our collections for listening, research, and reuse.

To celebrate, we’re releasing a small subset of our early 20th century Arabic 78 collection on our new Aviary site. Acquired over many years, the Arabic 78 Collection currently contains nearly 600 cataloged recordings of Arab and Arab-American music spanning the first half of the 20th century, from roughly 1903 through the 1950s, valuable not only for their musical content, but also as artifacts of the early sound recording industry. We’ve been working to digitize this collection over the past several years, and we’re excited to begin sharing it!….”


Celebrating the 50th Issue of Qatar Medical Journal: Editorial Letter |

It is with great pride that we celebrate the 50th issue of Qatar Medical Journal (QMJ) that has achieved significant growth recently. Our mission is to encourage authors to submit high-quality and innovative research promoting medical advancements. In the past two years, manuscripts submissions have tripled in number and were enriched by a more diverse pool of authors with global representation, resulting in an increase in the number of published issues moving from being a biannual to a triannual journal. Additionally, the number of articles published in an issue has doubled. QMJ continues to be an open-access peer-reviewed journal, publishing original research work, reviews, editorials, and case reports that are particularly relevant to medicine and free of charge to authors. It is indexed in several renowned and highly ranked platforms such as PubMed Central, Scopus, Scimago, Google Scholar, and the Directory of Open Access Journals. It was also recently indexed in the World Health Organization’s Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (IMEMR). We look forwards to becoming the highest-rated medical journal, in terms of impact factor, regionally.


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.  …”