The Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) was part of the main panel at the Forum for Open Research in MENA (F.O.R.M.) F.O.R.M. which has been organized by the Knowledge E Foundation with the support of UNESCO, ALECSO and EKB in Cairo, Egypt during 26th-27th of October 2022. The central theme of the F.O.R.M. was “Facilitating the exchange of actionable insights and the development of practical policies to support Open Science across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)”.
The main panel was put together to discuss Open Science in the Arab region. The panel included Yousef Torman, the Managing Director of ASREN together with Ezra Clark and Nazar Hassan from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Throughout the panel discussion Mr. Torman was able to shine a light on ASREN’s efforts in Open Science in the Arab region and its collaboration with national, regional and global partners following UNESCO’s Recommendations on Open Science with the support of European Commission and other partners. Together with the speakers from UNESCO, he also highlighted the entire scope of Open Science in terms of inclusivity and functionality.
Speaking on the challenges facing the Open Science initiatives in the region, Mr. Torman emphasized on the importance of setting and promoting the right culture of Open Science and the necessity of engaging the right stakeholders in planning and deploying Open Science related activities and services with e-Infrastructure as a priority.
The movement towards Open Science is vitally important to ensuring the accessibility, inclusivity, and long-term sustainability of our education systems and scholarly communities. Mr. Torman praised the good job that has been done throughout the community towards open science in the MENA region, especially the success stories that have been demonstrated from the Gulf Region and Egypt.
The effort paid towards a FAIR Compliant Commons in the ASREN Region in collaboration with EOSC and LA Referencia was also presented remotely by Eng. Raed Al-Zoubi from the Jordan University of Science and Technology in the panel on “Building Open Science Infrastructures in MENA”.
In conclusion, ASREN emphasized that Research and education infrastructures are becoming very crucial to support research and education communities and open science activities, this infrastructure starts with National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), which play a major role in facilitating cooperation and enabling collaboration between research and education communities by providing a high-quality connectivity to the national, regional and global research and education networks. NRENs also provide a set of services that support these communities and facilitates access to resources and engagement with wider communities of practice and more.