On 7th June 2021 Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) organized a workshop integrated in the program of the 16th International Conference on Open Repositories (OR2021) about “Brokerage Event towards a FAIR Compliant Commons in the ASREN Region”. This workshop frames the landscape of actions carried out in Africa to promote FAIR principles and Open Science.
The workshop provided an interactive showcasing of a wide variety of tools, services and approaches to building FAIR-compliant repositories in the ASREN region and a “pitch-session” in which 3 organizations looking to implement FAIR compliant repositories shared their plans and sought collaborations with other workshop participants.
Additionally, the workshop included a hands-on tutorial session, led by Roberto Barbera from University of Catania, exploring the features of a FAIR compliant digital repository.
What made this event different from similar ones is its innovative co-creation methodology. By bringing in the same virtual place solution seekers, solution providers, policy makers and end users to trigger new collaborations and proposing a “try before you buy” approach.
The event had also draw on expertise and significant contributions from Somali Research and Education Network (SomaliREN), Qatar National Library, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the Moroccan Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (IMIST), the Higher Education Strategy Center of Ethiopia (HESC) and DataCite.
"We are pleased to have had shared the lessons learned from rolling out SORER, the Somali Research, and Education Repository. Open Access and FAIR-compliance are key factors that help shorten the content access gap, and hence the knowledge gap between the developed and developing nations. It is also very promising to see ASREN community collaborations take off to bring great minds from within the community and beyond to tackle issues of global importance - Open Access in this case. I would like to thank ASREN leadership, and specially Yousef Torman, Roberto Barbera, and all the colleagues who contributed to this initiative. It is about time to build the next massive, open access repository at regional or global scale", said Abdullahi Bihi Hussein, the CEO of SomaliREN
Raed Al Zoubi from ASREN stressed on the importance of this opportunity to the research and education community: “ASREN’s participation in OPEN REPOSITORIES 2021 conference was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the efforts in promoting and adopting best practices to support Scientific Research, Education and Open Science in particular. The workshop had participants from various countries in the ASREN region, Europe & Africa. ASREN always aims at keeping the momentum to enlarge and tighten its partnerships worldwide.”
“I collaborate with NRENs in the Arab countries since 2006, well before the birth of ASREN, and it’s always a pleasure for me to support initiatives aiming at promoting Open Science in the region. In the specific case of this event, I am very happy to see several collaborations starting and I congratulate everyone who already achieved concrete and valuable results in the path towards a FAIR-principles compliant commons in Africa and the Middle-East”, concluded Roberto Barbera from the University of Catania.