Posted on October 20, 2018

As part of Open Access Week 2018, UCL Qatar, Qatar University and Qatar National Library are set to host a series of talks, lectures and events that will underpin the country’s position at the forefront of the accessible research movement in the GCC and MENA.

Since the 1990s, the global open access movement has played major roles in helping reshape academic communication and research practice. It has championed opening-up academic publications for use by anyone who is interested. This has huge benefits for academics, but also for the public. By making research findings accessible and transparent, and the data sets behind them, open access has accelerated research and innovation which has advanced global society, and national economies.

It means very low barriers for those wishing to access research. For example, scientists and researchers everywhere in the world, even if on a low budget, have the freedom to access the latest developments in their field made in the Gulf. Researchers are also better rewarded – due to the increased accessibility, open access articles receive 18% more citations than closed access ones.

Qatar has been at the forefront of the open access movement in the GCC and MENA and the country’s higher education and knowledge economy institutions continuously advance in this area. For instance, Qatar University’s open access repository – known as Qspace – has been used for 870,000 searches from a global base of users. The figure demonstrates the international interest in the research of Qatar University academics and has contributed to the success of the University in the world academic ranking, where it now sits inside the top 500.

This not only has the benefit of projecting onto the world stage the valuable and diverse research being done in Qatar. It helps accelerate the country towards becoming a knowledge-based economy, one of the central goals of QNV 2030. Qatar National Library has also launched two nationally funded schemes that remove financial barriers for authors wishing to publish articles. University College London in Qatar (UCL Qatar) meanwhile is strengthening open access practices in Qatar by enhancing and further professionalising the skills of library and museum professionals in skills related to widening open access.

Speaking about Qatar’s commitment to open access, Assoc. Prof. at UCL Qatar Milena Dobreva said: “It is yet another achievement for Qatar to continue the diverse efforts of several key institutions in providing academic publications in open access. This not only makes visible the academic achievements of academics working here, but also helps them to engage stronger with the most current and exciting research around the globe. Our events throughout Open Access Week will support the library and museum professionals who are passionate about open access services to deliver them more efficiently.”

In celebration of Open Access Week, UCL Qatar jointly with Qatar University Library is putting on a practical workshop entitled “Marketing Campaigns for Promoting Open Access in Academic Libraries and Museums”. It will be delivered by an international team of scholars and professionals from the University of Malta, Texas A&M Qatar Library, Qatar University Library, and HBKU. The workshop will be held on 22 October 2018 from 8.30 to 12.30 in the Qatar University Library. It is the first within a series of two workshops, the second of which is hosted by Qatar National Library concentrating on the visibility of academic research.

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