A series of events highlighting Qatar National Library’s commitment to making online publications available at no cost, concluded last week. The events, held to mark this year’s International Open Access Week, explored how Qatar can design inclusive, and equitable open systems to truly serve the needs of a diverse global community.
This is the first year that the Library has celebrated Open Access Week as a fully-fledged national library, and it hopes to use the opportunity to explore further ways of delivering services to support national research and innovation.
Journal publishers and editors received advice on increasing the visibility of national research outputs in an interactive workshop, held on 23 October.
The local premiere of Paywall: The Business of Scholarship was also screened at the Library during the Week. This illuminating documentary focuses on the need for open access to research and science, and questions the rationale behind the considerable investment that flows into for-profit academic publishers.
The Week culminated on the 28 October with presentations and discussions under the global theme, ‘Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge: The Role of the National Library.’ Presentations were delivered by leading experts, including Prof. Hilal Lashuel, Associate Professor of Life Sciences and Director of the Laboratory of Chemical Biology of Neurodegeneration at the Brain Mind Institute, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Dr. Torsten Reimer, Head of Research Services at the British Library.
Speaking at the final event of the week, Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President at Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation, commented: ‘Open and equitable access to knowledge will have an enormous impact on fostering the future generation of researchers and scientists in Qatar. Knowledge is the fuel of research and innovation, and opening up access to the knowledge contained in the research literature will encourage curiosity, experimentation and entrepreneurship, and will ultimately widen participation in the implementation of research and innovation for enhancing Qatar’s economy.’
Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director at Qatar National Research Fund, added: ‘Open Access is an opportunity to extend the global reach and impact of our research. It is not now a question of whether we should support full and immediate open access to research publications, but rather how soon can this be achieved and what the most sustainable routes are.’
Susan Reilly, Director of Digital Content and Engagement at Qatar National Library, said: ‘It is heartening to see the multi-stakeholder participation in this discussion and the shared commitment to increasing access to knowledge. I look forward to working with these stakeholders to drive forward this shared vision of making information widely and freely available to society, in Qatar and beyond.’
To further its commitment to learning and research, the Library announced a new award for the advancement of Open Science which will recognize individuals or institutions that have contributed to the field, with a view to increasing the impact of their work.
In addition, the Library provides practical support to researchers wishing to publishing Open Access books and articles. An Open Access Author Fund covers article processing charges (APCs) for open access publications.
The Library has also recently entered into several agreements with open access publishers to support its existing Open Access Author Fund. Corresponding authors, which include students, faculty, researchers, or staff from any institute of higher education, or non-profit research institute within Qatar, qualify for 100 percent discounts. The publishers include: PLOS, BioMed Central, Frontiers, Hindawi, Dove Medical Press and MDPI.
An additional benefit to authors, the Library secured publishing vouchers with noteworthy publishers, including Emerald, Sage, Ovid, Wolters Kluwer, IEEE, Karger, and De Gruyter.