Thursday, 28 July 2011

Potential Open Access policies at University of Khartoum

  The second session of the training course for Faculty of Science researchers at University of Khartoum was held on Thu July 28th. This second session was designed as a practical demonstration of content ingest into DSpace@ScienceUofK. Once a few technical difficulties were solved -that's how live demos go- the process for uploading full-text papers, conference papers, metadata-only papers and theses was showed to the researchers, so they will be either able to deposit their own research output into the OA repository (i.e. self-archiving their papers) or to tell what full-text version from the various available ones they should send to the repository supporting staff for them to upload these accepted versions (mediated deposit).

The authors' reception to the simplicity of the uploading process was so warm, that some of them left the lecture room and rushed to their office at their Department to fetch printed versions of their work so they could be uploaded -presently just as metadata-only items, as there's still no electronic version avalable until the work (a dissertation in this case) gets digitized- into DSpace@ScienceUofK. We thank them very much for their enthusiasm and hope it spreads over to the whole research community at Faculty of Science U of K.

After having reviewed different kinds of Open Access policies at the course first session (such as NIH, Wellcome Trust, Université de Liège or the Spanish Ministry of Science), special emphasis was made along the second session on the potential Open Access policies that would greatly benefit the OASCIR project in case they were adopted by the University of Khartoum. There were two main references in this regard:

  • Signing the Berlin Declaration. This easily achievable step would mean the U of K commits to the promotion of Open Access within its walls, both by endorsing the project for developing a pilot Institutional Repository for the Faculty of Science (later to be spread to other U of K Faculties such as Medicine or Agriculture) and by fostering Open Access availability of its institutional publications such as its journals or conference proceedings whenever possible. Since both commitments are already being met at this moment, the institutional signature of the Berlin Declaration would actually be some kind of a formality, turning the U of K the first Sudanese higher education institution to do so.

  • Becoming a BioMed Central Foundation Member. Foundation Membership is a free service from BioMed Central Open Access publisher, from which a series of benefits result such as getting subscription to additional toll-access BMC journal titles or having a branded webpage at the BMC site showing papers published in BMC Open Access journals by the U of K authors.
    Besides that, BMC is operating a waiver schema by which researchers in developing countries -such as Sudan- have to pay no author fees when submitting their papers for publication with BMC journals.

Two requirements should be met by an institution to become a BMC Foundation Member:

- Institutions should issue some kind of Open Access policy/statement (or should otherwise commit to have one)

- Institutions should have published at least five articles in BioMed Central, Chemistry Central or SpringerOpen journals within the previous 3 years.

There are five institutions in Sudan that meet the second requirement:

- University of Khartoum
- Federal Ministry of Health
- The Orchids Orgnization for Children with Special Needs, Khartoum, Sudan
- Al Neelain University
- Elrazi College Of Medical and Technology Sciences

However, only the University of Khartoum from all five is presently involved in a project for establishing an Institutional Repository, which actually makes it the closest one to being able to issue some kind of recomendation or encouragement to its researchers on choosing the gold (Open Access journals) or green (Open Access repository) roads to Open Access whenever possible.

1 comment:

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