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A regional partnership advances Open Science for the Arab world

Saturday, May 18, 2024/ Editor -  

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  • The Knowledge E Foundation has signed an MoU with the Qatar National Library
  • The two organisations will jointly organise the 3rd Annual Forum for Open Research in MENA in Doha (21st-24th October)
  • This important regional event brings together policymakers, researchers and librarians, in support of the advancement of open science across the Arab world.

The Knowledge E Foundation is a philanthropic organisation dedicated to supporting the advancement of accessible education for everyone, everywhere. One of its projects is the Forum for Open Research in MENA (FORM), an independent non-profit initiative supporting the advancement of Open Science policies and practices in research communities and institutions across the Arab region. The Arab states have the resources and capability to play a pivotal role in the global transition towards more accessible, sustainable and inclusive research and education models. FORM aims to support the region’s research communities and stakeholder groups in the journey towards a more ‘open’ world, by facilitating the exchange of actionable insights and the development of practical policies.

The Annual Forum is the flagship activity of the FORM initiative, encouraging the exchange of ideas and strategies relating to the Arab world’s engagement with Open Science and the SDGs. The Annual Forum has grown rapidly since its inception. Our first event was held in Egypt in 2022, in partnership with the Egyptian Knowledge Bank. Our second was held in the UAE, in partnership with Khalifa University, the UAE Ministries of Education and Culture, and UNESCO. This year, the 3rd Annual Forum will be hosted by the Qatar National Library, and will take place in Doha between 21st and 24th of October (aligning with the global Open Access Week).

This year’s conference theme is: Transforming Knowledge into Action. The theme was selected to develop on the outstanding conceptual advances that have been made within the region and globally over the last few years, to help encourage local stakeholders to take these innovations and transform them into practical policies and actionable insights. We also believe this theme is the perfect choice given the location of this year’s conference, in the heart of Doha’s innovative and collaborative Education City at the Qatar National Library.

Qatar National Library acts as a steward of Qatar’s national heritage by collecting, preserving, and making available the country’s recorded history. The Library provides equal access to a wealth of information and services to enable the people of Qatar to positively influence society by creating an exceptional learning and discovery environment. Qatar National Library's commitment to open, free and unrestricted access to its collections is at the heart of the Library’s core values. The Library offers a wide variety of services to support unrestricted access to its resources and to promote the global dissemination of Qatar-based research, through transformative read and publish agreements. The Library is home to an article processing charge (APC) fund to cover the cost of article processing charges in open access journals, as well as a digital research repository to support a permanent archive of Qatar-based research.  

“Although the vital importance and long-term benefits of the Open Science movement are widely recognised, it is a highly complex and multifaceted concept, and it can sometimes be difficult to know where and how to start. Our goal is to support the Arab region’s research communities and research communities in working together towards a more ‘Open’ Arab world. We are therefore thrilled and honoured to have the chance to collaborate with the Qatar National Library – a regional leader in this field!”

Dr Emily Choynowski, Director of Operations. FORM

We are excited about hosting the 3rd Annual Forum for Open Research in MENA. We hope the conference will allow us and other institutions in Qatar to showcase initiatives related to open access and open science. We look forward to having active discussions with regional players and exploring opportunities to raise awareness and tackle vital issues - from having equitable open access to research and how the region can support open infrastructure to science, including a higher adoption of open repositories.”

Dr Alwaleed Alkhaja, Head of Open Access and Copyright, Qatar National Library


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