Thursday, 9 February 2012

OASCIR Repository boosts the U of K university ranking

  As a result of the DSpace@ScienceUofK Institutional Repository being in service, the University of Khartoum ranking at the Webometrics University Ranking has substantially improved: while before the OASCIR Project started, U of K was ranked the 29th university in the Arab World on the Jan’2011 edition of the Webometrics ranking (see figure below), one year later, U of K has climbed to place 11 on such Top Arab World Webometrics ranking (Jan'2012 edition). U of K performs remarkably well too at the African Section of the Jan’2012 Webometrics ranking, where it’s featured on position 13.

Once again it's proved that Open Access highly increases institutional visibility for universities and research centres (see DSpace@ScienceUofK usage figures for an evidence)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Training the repository team for locally hosting and administering DSpace

  On Sunday Nov 20th a specific DSpace admin training course was held at the Regency Hotel in Khartoum for the DSpace@ScienceUofK repository team. Five University of Khartoum staff took part in the training session, both from the repository content management team (Mukhtar M. M. Hassan, deputy DSpace@ScienceUofK manager, Esra Elfaki, assistant IR operator and Noon Bushra, repository content collector) and the technical support team dealing with server maintenance, composed by Tarik Ismail and Hisham Jallabi. The technical course was led by Pablo de Castro, GrandIR Director and joint DSpace@ScienceUofK repository manager.

Focus was made along the admin course on DSpace content management features, so the repository team will be able to keep a tidy and growing document collection at DSpace@ScienceUofK repository. Functionalities such as community & collection, user and permission management were reviewed, as well as the steps to take for item editing and mapping.

A plan was also scheduled for future transfer of repository software -currenly hosted by GrandIR in Madrid- to an University of Khartoum-based server. This transfer will enable the repository to be locally managed and maintained, thus completing the infrastructure capacity building process at U of K. In order to ensure a secure and smooth software transfer, a discussion was held on the required server specifications and on the software management features the repository technical managers should provide.

OASCIR at EIFL-FOSS regional seminar in Dar es Salaam

  The OASCIR Project for setting up the first Sudanese Institutional Repository at the Faculty of Science University of Khartoum was represented at the recently held EIFL-FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) regional workshop, that took place Nov 4-5th in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The 2-day seminar, jointly organised and supported by EIFL and UNESCO, gathered library directors and technical staff from 14 countries in Africa. A OASCIR Project presentation was delivered along the event by Dr. Rania M. H. Baleela, joint DSpace@ScienceUofK repository manager, as an example of DSpace open source software implementation for setting up an Open Access repository at the Faculty of Science U of K.

Since one of the main OASCIR Project goals is gradually building a network of library professionals interested in Open Access and repositories both in Sudan and abroad, attending this EIFL-FOSS seminar -as well as Open Access Africa 2011 conference held last Oct in Kumasi, Ghana- was seen as a good opportunity for project dissemination and also for learning about other FOSS implementations in Africa.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

OASCIR End-of-Project International Conference

  On Nov 17th an International Conference was held at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Khartoum, to mark the end of the OASCIR project (which will nevertheless keep running until the end of the year). Among the speakers at this Open Access Workshop (see programme) were Iryna Kuchma, EIFL Open Access Programme Manager and OASCIR Project funder, Project managers Dr. Rania Baleela, Faculty of Science U of K and Pablo de Castro, GrandIR Director, and prominent representatives of Open Access initiatives and organisations in Sudan such as Dr. Khalid Abu Sin, EIFL coordinator in Sudan, Prof. Abdelmoniem S. Elmardi, INASP Sudan, and Rana Atta and Rofida El Zubair from the Knowledge Management Capacity in Africa (KMCA2012) Workshop to be held next January in Khartoum.

There was a large attendance at the Department of Zoology Lecture Room where the session was held, and plenty of questions were asked at the end on issues such as the copyright, DSpace@ScienceUofK rollout to other University of Khartoum faculties, pending digitisation work for offering online access to the U of K dissertations or whether the repository could be used to offer unpublished material as well.

Workshop presentations will shortly be available at the DSpace@ScienceUofK repository.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Open Access Week 2011 outcomes

  The Open Access Week 2011 is now officially over. Lots of advocacy activities have been held worldwide along last week promoting Open Access to scholarly output from Universities and Research Centres. Two of these activities were particularly relevant for the OASCIR Project team:

1.- A presentation of the OASCIR Project was delivered at the Open Access Africa 2011 Conference held Oct 25-26 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana. "Dspace@ScienceUofK: Setting up the first Sudanese Institutional Repository at the Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum" -such was the presentation title- was delivered by Pablo de Castro (see some pictures here) and arose a great deal of interest among representatives from other African institutions (specially from Ghana and Nigeria) presently planning their own IR or already working to shortly have it released.

2.- An Arabic version of the Open Access flyer produced by SPARC was released along the OAW2011. Translated by the Lebanese Medical Students' International Committee (LeMSIC), this is the first Right to Research Coalition piece of OA advocacy that gets available in Arabic - with plenty of other valuable materials pending translation!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

DSpace@ScienceUofK to be presented next week at Open Access Africa 2011 Conference

  The OASCIR project for setting up the recently released DSpace@ScienceUofK, the first Sudanese institutional repository for the Faculty of Science University of Khartoum, will be presented in a talk at the forthcoming Open Access Africa 2011 Conference.
This event, to be held Oct 25-26 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, will offer the opportunity to discuss the ways Open Access is spreading across Africa, both through Open Access journals and repositories (see event programme).

Since the idea for having an institutional repository at the University of Khartoum did arise last November along the first OAA Conference held in Nairobi, the OASCIR project managers thought -and so they wrote at the OASCIR Training Week report last Aug- it would be a special way of celebrating first anniversary of the project birth.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

DSpace@ScienceUofK featured in OpenDOAR and ROAR

  One of the first steps after releasing a new Open Access repository is having it registered on the international repository directories - thus providing it a sort of birth certificate. In order to be registered in such directories, the repository OAI-PMH protocol for metadata harvesting must be properly working, so being featured in those means the new repository is in equal terms (from a functional viewpoint) with the other 2000+ OA repositories currently operating worldwide.

As of Oct 18th, a week after its release, DSpace@ScienceUofK is already registered with both OpenDOAR, the University of Nottingham-based Directory of Open Access Repositories, and ROAR, the Southampton-based Registry of Open Access Repositories. OpenDOAR features the University of Khartoum repository along with the Sali Library English Literature Collection as the two only Open Access repositories in Sudan - DSpace@ScienceUofK being actually the only Institutional one so far.