Highlights from #COASPASIA: OASPA’s first Asian conference on open access scholarly publishing

This week I had a chance to travel to Bangkok in Thailand to attend COASP Asia: OASPA‘s first Asian conference on open access scholarly publishing. It was OASPA’s first conference outside of Europe, and I do hope there will be more of these in the next couple of years. It was very exciting to get new insights into the landscape of open access publishing in countries such as South Korea, Japan, Singapore and China. One of the conference’s main themes was building trust and transparency in academic publishing and I am sure that this will be mentioned again in the upcoming annual conference in September. To find out more about the highlights and discussion during the conference, check out the Storify feed, which I have created using the #COASPAsia hashtag. It was a pleasure being at another OASPA meeting!

2014-10_OASPA_banner-950x250px_v41

 

 

 

[View the story “COASP Asia” on Storify

Screenshot 2014-06-04 07.00.32
Advertisements

QScience Connect Article Processing Charges waived for authors with ORCIDs

qscience_orcid fb

At QScience.com, we love ORCID.

It’s simply an ingenious way of removing ambiguity when it comes to article authorship.

ORCID stands for Open Researcher & Contributor ID and is a non-profit organization that allows researchers to obtain a persistent digital identifier. This ID number is unique to a given author and ultimately solves many attribution issues such as researchers with similar names, or researchers with multiple names or name variants.

In order to encourage the adoption and uptake of ORCIDs, QScience.com has recently announced to waive all QScience Connect article processing charges (APCs) for authors who input their ORCID identifiers when submitting an article.

To qualify for this APC waiver, all authors have to do is update their user profiles in the journal’s submission system with their unique ORCID identifier. New authors will be asked to input their ORCIDs when they register for the site.

Instruction to QScience Connect APC waiver

I also had the chance to sit down with QScience.com Editorial Director, Dr. Christopher Leonard, and asked him about this new exciting development for QScience Connect.

He describes in the following video how he believes ORCID is an essential part of the future of scholarly communication and how he hopes it will be used to attribute all online content.

To find out more about QScience Connect click here

To register for ORCID: orcid.org

If you have any questions about this APC fee waiver, please contact us at info@qscience.com

– Alwaleed Alkhaja

 

Interview with #SLAAGC President Mohamad Mubarak

MB English image 585
نص المقابلة مع محمد مبارك  باللغة العربية

 

Mohamed Mubarak is Senior Research Librarian at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies Library (QFIS). He is also president of the Special Libraries Association – (Arabian Gulf Chapter) SLA-AGC. I sit down with him at the lovely QFIS library and talk to him about his history with the SLA-AGC, the upcoming SLA-AGC conference, and his thoughts on open access publishing.

Alwaleed Alkhaja (AA): First of all, thank you Mohamed for meeting me today. My first question is how did you get involved with the SLA-AGC?

Mohamed Mubarak (MM): Back in 2006, I was sponsoring myself to attend one of the SLA conferences in Muscat, Oman. At the time, I was working in the Arabian Gulf University library in Bahrain and my director happened to be a past president of the SLA-AGC. I was enjoying my time at the conference and attending different sessions when my director asked me if I wanted to join the SLA-AGC board. I simply asked her ‘what is the SLA about?”

I admit that I have previously heard of the SLA but I did not really think about joining it. She told me that I will learn a lot and that I will gain some of the leadership skills that I will later need for my career. She managed to convince me and I was later nominated to join the SLA.

Honestly, it was a good experience to introduce myself to different people with different backgrounds: from academia to the private sector. I started learning from this new environment and was able to transform some of the things that I learned to a decision-making level. I also started to take part in organizing a regional event (the SLA-AGC conference) that serves most of the information professionals in the region. The SLA-AGC membership itself allowed me to eventually progress to become the chapter’s public relations officer. From that the time I started understanding that, we as information professionals are not just serving the institute we work for but we are serving the profession of librarianship itself.

Organizing an annual event gives us the opportunity to invite other potential professionals to join the SLA. The SLA is a big organization that started in the US back in 1909; whereas the SLA-AGC is one of the oldest SLA chapters. I have been fortunate to be part of this organization and serve the profession of librarianship.

(AA): What are some of the main goals of the SLA-AGC?

(MM): Our goals and objectives are not different of the main SLA organization. These goals include providing information professionals with the opportunity to network with each other. Moreover by attending our conference and various workshops, these information professionals will have the opportunity to learn and develop their work competencies and skills, learn how to acquire new technologies for the work place, as well as develop their collection in a way that can serve their community.

It is worth mentioning that the SLA-AGC deals with a different culture than the one in North America, and therefore somewhat different challenges. We try our best to invite more people to our annual meeting, to give them an opportunity to be a member of the SLA-AGC (which I believe will help them discover how to become a leader in their profession and how to serve their communities in the best way. We still have a mission to complete: we need to develop our programs for each year, and invite more speakers to attend, and encourage more people to participate. By establishing a partnership with different institutions within the Arabian Gulf over the last twenty years, the SLA-AGC has been able to build good relationships with different government and academic entities.

(AA): The SLA hosts an annual conference, and I had the chance to be there last year. How was it in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates?

(MM): I received good feedback from different delegates. I was in the middle of organizing the conference and I can say that it was indeed a successful event in Abu Dhabi. It was also the first time that we organized the event with the very prestigious Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi.  Also, it was very good in the sense that way that we managed to have a successful plenary session program. We worked very hard to bring the latest trend topics with the expectation of the professions in the region. I would like to think that we did a very good job! For sure, the next SLA-AGC conference in Doha will be a good opportunity to continue our successful journey.

AA: The conference in Abu-Dhabi was only my second SLA-AGC event (the first was a workshop I attended in Oman in February 2013). What I found interesting is that I met many librarians from outside the Arabian Gulf. Does the SLA extend its support to countries beyond the GCC countries?

MM: For sure! That is one of our main objectives. We should not really be limited by the name of the chapters (Arabian Gulf Chapter) but need to expand our support to professional librarians in the region and in the Arab world. We had a good opportunity this year to have people from Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon as well. We are aiming to be an international event not just a regional event. We try our best to develop the chapter. We will continue aiming for the highest level of quality and international reach.

AA: What would you like to see in this year’s event?

MM: (Smiles) I would like to see a lot of new things! This year’s event will be here in Doha in partnership with Qatar University. For sure we have a lot of things in mind. We have a rich program for next year and we recently set out the call for papers (Deadline was 1st October 2013). We will need a lot of help from key players in Qatar. We are planning to have an event with QScience (which is part of Qatar Foundation) and we have a plan as well to have an event with the Qatar National Library of Qatar Foundation. We are looking forward to the next event!

AA: Now something more related to what QScience.com does; I would like to ask what is your opinion on open access ?

MM: Open access is a very important publishing initiative and I have been introduced to open access in my previous position as medical librarians, in which I used PubMed Central to retrieve articles for academics. I was surprised by the large number of accessible scientific articles. When it comes to open access, we have to think about developing countries, which don’t have the resources and financial support to get access to the scientific literature. Open access helps a lot of scientist and researchers around the world to get access to the latest literature. This is very important to continue to their research and education. I completely support it!

AA: As you probably know, some of the universities in our region do not have the financial support to get all needed journal subscriptions. How do you see the role of open access in developing research in the region?

Open access will help increase the research level a lot in the region and the world. I was involved in an advisory board for another publisher and some of the things that was discussed was how open access can develop research on a national and regional level. I think the Arabian Gulf has a low research output compared to other regions. Some researchers find it difficult to publish in high-impact journals and tend to publish in lower-impact journals. They eventually find out that their research does not reach the audience they wished for. Many open access journals still have the high quality peer review process and will allow their findings to be more accessible to academics worldwide. As librarian professionals, we should convince the different academic institutions in the region about the important of investment in open access. Some institutions have research funds dedicated for publishing and I would like to see some of these institutions to adapt more open access policies. There is a lot of great research that is published in the region but I consider it as gray literature because it does not have the opportunity to be seen by a lot of the people around in the world. Open access will be an important way for their work to be seen by researchers around the world.

AA: Thank you Mohamad for meeting with me and I look forward to seeing you again at the next SLA-AGC conference in Doha
The 20th Annual conference “Enhancing in Digital Knowledge Society’s Information Needs” in Doha, Qatar from 25th – 27th March 2014

For more information please visit: http://slaagc2014.org/

نص المقابلة مع محمد مبارك  باللغة العربية

MB arabic

#ChildrensDay: Impact and risks of migration on children

childrensdayfinal

Children’s Day honors children globally.

The day is not only meant to serve as a celebration  but also to raise awareness of  the many issues children face.  QScience.com recently published the proceedings from The Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development (DIFI)– organized symposium on “Family, Migration and Dignity”, which took place in Doha, Qatar.

One of the eight symposium sessions focused specifically on the migration impact on and risks for children.

To browse all the proceedings from the DIFI conference special issue, please click on the following link:
http://www.qscience.com/toc/qproc/2013/1

Also, QScience.com will be publishing very soon a research series from DIFI.
Make sure to check our website for the latest updates.

logos

QScience Proceedings is a forum for the dissemination of abstracts and full length papers given at meetings and conferences. Each volume has its own dedicated web page and every abstract is citable through a DOI link.

For more information on QScience Proceedings:
http://www.qscience.com/loi/qproc/

If you are interested in having your conference proceedings published by QScience.com please contact info@qscience.com for details of how to publish with us.

– Alwaleed AlKhaja  @alwaleeed

A pan-Arab glimmer of open access hope: Reflections from the first regional IFLA/AFLI conference in the Arab region

Qatar hosted the First Regional International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Conference in the Arab region on the 10th and 11th of June 2013. It was organized in cooperation with the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI) and the Public Libraries Department of Qatar Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Heritage. The conference examined the role of national libraries and associations in supporting free access to information according to the copyright laws. Both Jennifer Nicholson (IFLA General Secretary) and Professor Hassan Alsereihy (AFLI president), attended the two-day event that consisted of more than 15 talks.

20130616_125946-1

Reflections from the first regional IFLA/AFLI conference:

From a legal point view, Dr. Sulaiman AlReyaee (Al Jouf University, Saudi Arabia) presented his study, which examined Arabic copyright agreements and the application of international copyright laws in a non-Western culture. He concluded that development and enforcement of copyright law is highly dependent on the way Arab states will develop their respective constitutions with regards to common laws, civil laws, or Islamic laws.

Dr. Claudia Lux (Qatar National Library, Qatar) gave an overview of current Qatar copyright law, the Emiri Decree-Law No. 7 from 2002 on the Protection of Copyright and related rights. She compared current copyright law in Qatar with IFLA’s twelve recommendations for better copyright laws that were published in 2009. The copyright term in Qatari law is consistent with the Berne Convention and includes various provisions relating to EFLA’s recommendations such as provisions for preservation, copyright exemptions in teaching and reproduction for private use. Dr. Lux stated that even though the current Qatari copyright law protects authors and publishers, the law requires further additions as exceptions for education and teaching are more advanced than exceptions for library use. Currently, there are no general free use exceptions for libraries, which are limited to reprographic reproduction. Moreover, Dr. Lux acknowledged that current Qatari copyright law requires further developments with respect to copyright of orphan works and provisions for persons with disabilities. Finally, she recommended that librarians in Qatar need to be trained in Qatar’s copyright law and more importantly need to educate their clients.

Whereas the majority of sessions in the conference’s first day dealt with copyright issues digital content protection in libraries based in the Arab world, sessions on the second day (and to my delight) had a focus on open access.

OPEN ACCESS hope

Dr. Nozha ibn Al Khayat (Rabat University, Morocco) gave a presentation on copyright law protection and open access in the Arab world. She explained that even though initiatives in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Tunisia have established open access repositories, a large proportion of academics based in Arab countries do not have a clear understanding of open access. Dr. Ibn Al Khayat acknowledged the need for more institutional repositories and called out for developments by regional governments to include copyright provisions relating to open access. 

Likewise, Dr. Jibreel Al-Arishee (King Saud University, Saudi Arabia) spoke about the need for more institutional repositories. His presentation focused on the roles of Arab governmental agencies and legislative councils in the adoption of open access. He called for the adoption of regional public access policies for all research financed by governmental funds.

Listening to the likes of Dr. Ibn Al Khayat and Dr. Al-Arishee speak about open access and sensing their passionate advocacy resonating in the Nashira Ballroom, I left the Doha Hilton that day feeling reassured. With his current role in the in Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia (Majlis as-Shura or Shura Council), Dr. Al-Arishee gave a pan-Arab glimmer of open access hope as he announced that he is working on a public access policy adoption in Saudi Arabia.

Realistically, an adoption of a public access policy, or even open access,  in the Arab world will take some time. However, after witnessing a strong advocacy in this conference, I am hopeful that change will happen.

twitter buttonAlwaleed Alkhaja

Open access in the Arab world: Sulieman AlShuhri and the Arab Initiatives of Open Access

While searching for Arabic content on open access, I found the Arab Initiatives in Open Access blog, which is moderated by Dr. Sulieman AlShuhri, Amal AlSalem, Dr. Abdel-Rahman Farrag, and Dr. Ramadan Elaiess. The blog not only covers recent developments in the open access field, but also delivers its content in Arabic.

The Arab world definitely needs more open access advocates like Sulieman AlShuhri and his colleagues.

In collaboration with the Arab initiatives of Open Access blog ( aioa.blogspot.com), QScience presents Sulieman AlShuhri, AIOA founder, Asst. Professor at Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia and e-DocsLab research fellow. Sulieman speaks about the AIOA blog, about open access, and about the benefits of publishing in open access. The video transcripts (English and Arabic Transcript) can be found below. Note that the video is in Arabic with English subtitles.

“Your ideas will be easily quoted as long as they are easily reached” 

Video transcript (Sulieman AlShuhri, Arab Initiatives of Open Access)

What is the Arab Initiatives of Open Access blog?
The Arab Initiatives of Open Access was established in the 4th quarter of 2007 as a response to worldwide dynamics that called for the adoption of open access as a publishing approach and the use of available technologies to achieve it. Whereas many developed and developing countries took significant strides in the open access domain and left their own landmarks on the open access map during the time this blog was established, no significant Arab presence was perceived. We decided to provide Arab readers and researchers with a blog that introduces concepts of open access, practices, approaches with some relevant examples. We also intended to follow up on the world’s open access activities including efforts, initiatives, as well as institutions and universities that made efforts to implement and adopt open access all over the world.

What is open access?
Open access simply means that intellectual property including periodicals, articles, conference proceedings, theses, books, and other electronic material, are available on the Internet at no costs to the end-user, whether they are researchers, readers, or students. They can read, download, and print material for free. Concurrently, such availability would be free of most copyright and licensing restrictions while respecting laws and traditions of author copyrights, as well as providing proper attribution and referencing by the end-user.

The concept of open access is mirrored in Arab and Islamic culture through Waqf (endowment), in which  students and researchers were granted free access to books and libraries. This may represent the first manifestation of open access concept in Arab culture. In western culture, the open access concept can be traced back to the Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin open access initiatives, which came to existence in the third millennium. As for the practice of open access, some researchers maintain that it dates back to 1970’s and to individuals such as Peter Suber.

Forms or approaches of open access were categorized by into two routes and given two colors, the gold and the green. The gold open access route means that academic work is directly provided through publishing channels such as journals, electronic periodicals or e-books. As I have mentioned, such material is free to use via the Internet. The second way or the green route involves providing academic material through means of archiving channels such as digital repositories or digital archives. As I have mentioned, these archives would be accessed for free online. Providing or archiving academic literature from articles to editorials, theses, conference proceedings and other type of work for free to the end-user, whether they are researchers, readers, or scholars, and facilitating the swift access through the Internet as an easy accessible channel of communication, those are all key tools for open access.

What are the benefits of publishing in open access?
Thus we discern that open access is a developmental tool in the field of communication and scientific publishing. Unfortunately, information has been used for many centuries as a commodity that is supplied in return for continued monetary compensations. This matter exhausted recipients or information providers like libraries and information centers. We have witnessed numerous problems such as the inability to pay subscriptions for scientific journals and databases, or the inability of libraries and information centers to continue operating due to limited budgets and resources, especially if we took into consideration that the developed countries invest billions in scientific production and try to restore their payout through publishing revenues.

Naturally, accumulation of funds on end users or libraries led to a barrier of information and its prevention from reaching the end-user. Access to this information may otherwise lead to significant changes on regional, international, and even personal levels. No doubt, placing barriers to information and dealing with it as a commodity subject to fiscal bargaining, affects not only the scholarship and scientific exchange but also communication amongst the human race. We may call this “knowledge capitalism” that depends on nothing but fiscal opportunism. Therefore, open access comes to provide real chances for discovering research and applying information in different contexts and elevating knowledge to new levels and domains of research that facilitate solving problems, which is the main purpose of all efforts exerted by scientists and researchers. It is a more efficient, cost-effective, fair, and equitable means of scientific exchange. What we actually need to change is to help the researcher, scientist, reader and the decision makers to realize that information is not mere commodity subject to fiscal bargaining, but a human right, especially if such information relates to lives or to the way of living. As a researcher, author or writer, you should keep in mind that when publishing scientific work as a research paper, thesis or a book, always remember that you have been facing challenges, obstacles and the inability to access information, so please help others who follow you to avoid such challenges. Share your work with others via open access channels: gold and green routes, and increase the number of your readers. This is the best way to increase readability and disseminate your ideas. Your ideas will be easily quoted as long as they are easily reached. “Just say it once and it will be said a thousand times”.

In conclusion, I call on every one, listening or watching us, to visit the blog of Arab Initiative of Open Access to know more about the concept of open access. I also call on researchers to make use of services provided by Qatar Foundation to Arab readers and researchers. It is a true and leading open access service in the Arab world as it a wonderful example of the gold open access publishing model. I extend due thanks to the editorial staff of the Arab Initiative of Open Access’s blog, Ms. Amal AlSalem, Dr. Abdel-Rahman Farrag, Dr. Ramadan Elaiess and everyone who took part in this blog along with our visitors, readers and followers on Twitter, and Facebook.

Thank you,
Dr. Sulieman AlShuhri

 نص فيديو د. سليمان الشهري من المبادرات العربية للوصول الحر

(Alwaleed Alkhaja 27/05/13)

QScience.com Interview with Affra Al Shamsi (Head of Medical Library, the Royal Hospital, Oman)

While attending the 19th Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Special Libraries Association – Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA-AGC) in Abu Dhabi last week, I had the chance to speak with Affra Al Shamsi (E-library and Resource Manager in the Oman Medical Speciality Board and Head of the Medical Library at the Royal Hospital in Muscat, Oman).

She was one of the organizers of the “Health Information Under Microscope: Challenges & Solutions” symposium that took place between 13-14 February, 2013 . The symposium was a collaboration between Sultan Qaboos University (College of Arts & Social Science and Medical library), Royal Hospital Medical library, Oman Medical Specialty Board and the SLA-AGC.

Affra Al Shamsi speaks with QScience.com during SLAAGC2013

Affra Al Shamsi speaks with QScience.com during SLAAGC2013

“librarians need to stand up, need to be more outspoken, and need to believe more in themselves”

Interview with Affra Al Shamsi (Thursday 25 April 2013):

[Alwaleed Alkhaja]: Hello Affra, and thank you for meeting with me. First, can you tell us about the history of the medical information symposium that took place in Oman?
[Affra Al Shamsi] :We started the symposium as an open day in 2005 in the Royal Hospital. The idea was to link up the doctors with the biomedical professionals along with the librarians and the publishers and to make transparent environments to discuss and share their thoughts and fears. It was successful, so we decided to do it every year. It eventually grew to become a conference for the Royal Hospital. We invited everyone from around Oman and we brought international speakers. Slowly, it started having a reputation, and people were coming from everyone, not just Oman. In 2012, it was the first year that we decided to merge it with Special Libraries Association (SLA), to give it more visibility for the whole region. It was a success. Since then, we have had a very good number of doctors attending, as well as nurses, pharmacists and others in the biomedical field. It is the only type of [regional] symposium that talks about information the medical field. All other events talk about medical practice and not information.

How was this year’s symposium in February different from other years?
This year we tried to make it more practical. I believe people learn more when they do things than just listening. We added a program that was more focused on practice. We had about five workshops and two tutorials and other lectures. We added ‘Training the Trainer’, which was novel. Instead of publishers giving lectures about their products, we made it more about training the attendees, to make them more aware of their products and how to use them. These workshops had a huge attendance. People really liked it!

Why do you think was the most successful part, that got the most attention?
There were two things: the workshops and ‘Training the Trainer’ sessions. The workshops were on key issues. We had international and local speakers. It was very interesting for people to attend.

Now, somewhat of a different question. What are some of the challenges faced by medical libraries in Oman?
It is not only in Oman. I think it is all around the region. It is budgets. Budget comes first usually. Then the second thing is the value of the librarians. Still, it [value of librarians] is not clear for many people, especially the decision makers. There is a lack of support for libraries and library-related projects.

What are some recommendations that might help the situation?
I think to fix this, librarians need to stand up, need to be more outspoken, and need to believe more in themselves and their message. Once they do that, they will get the attention from others to support them.

Do you think SLA will give you this support in Oman and help find you solutions to these problems?
Unfortunately there is not much support from the association. They can’t. I think legally and politically, they are not allowed to yet. But from the recommendations [from the SLA AGC 2013 conference] I heard yesterday, some of the libraries raised some of these issues. It was about creating better job descriptions, better library structures. And if the association will send these recommendations throughout the region, it will be the first step for the association to show its position in supporting the libraries, because until now, many of the libraries do not have proper job descriptions. Within the same country, each institution has different job descriptions and titles for librarians, as well as different salaries. How can we have much rule or influence if we still don’t have any kind of identify?

What’s next for your symposium next year? Anything special planned?
We have been approached by different countries in the region who want us to move it or rotate it in the region. This means that the symposium would be more regional like the main SLA conference.

QScience.com is an open access publisher, what is your opinion on open access?
I want to salute all open access publishers. Because as much as we librarians struggle for budgets, open access helps us with the first step. It has big value for us!

For more information on QScience.com librarians’ resources:
http://www.qscience.com/page/librarians_resources

For more information about the Special Libraries Association – Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA-AGC): http://arabiangulf.sla.org/

For more information about the Royal Hospital Medical Library:
http://www.royalhospital.med.om/medical_library.htm

-Alwaleed Alkhaja, PhD.