Session 5

Session 5: Fostering & building open communities

Thursday 7 July – 9:45 – 11:15

Chair: Anna Lundén, National Library of Sweden, Sweden

5.1 Launching the Forum for Open Research in MENA, Emily Choynowski, Knowledge E, United Arab Emirates

The production and promotion of open research is becoming increasingly important; it is not only a primary concern for all areas of the academic ecosystem, but also impacts the commercial and industrial sectors and is crucial to the development of successful knowledge economies across the world. 
 
As an platinum open access publisher, based in Dubai and working closely with a number of leading research, government and library institutions, we know that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is no exception. The region has a rapidly developing, and increasingly advanced, tertiary education sector and numerous well-funded research networks. However, we have noticed that the open access movement has gained comparatively limited traction in MENA owing to a range of factors including widespread misconceptions about the nature of open access, a lack of awareness about its benefits, unsupportive institutional policies, and inadequate structural frameworks. 
 
The first part of this paper will explore the underlying issues we have identified which are hampering the expansion of open research in MENA and then share the results of some of our surveys on this topic. The second part of the paper will focus on our solution to these issues, the Forum for Open Research in MENA (FORM). Our mission is to collaborate with leading libraries and research organisations to raise awareness of the open access movement and its benefits, and provide a forum for leading regional stakeholders and global experts to discuss key issues and exchange ideas. In the process, we hope to address structural inequities relating to the accessibility and visibility of the region’s research outputs, especially Arabic-language research. 
 
The first step in this project was our 2021 symposium ‘Towards a more knowledgeable world with O.A. research in MENA’. This event brought together key regional stakeholders (including the Qatar National Library, the Dubai Health Authority, and the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research) and global organisations (such as Crossref, Harvard University, Open Access Directory and ORCiD) to discuss effective strategies for promoting open access research across the region. During the symposium, we announced the forthcoming development of FORM and received expressions of interest and sponsorship from a number of major regional stakeholders. We are now working with our regional and global supporters to develop the necessary infrastructure, and aim to officially launch FORM during this year’s Open Access Week. 
 
In this paper, I will discuss the development of the FORM project and the work we are doing to help libraries reform regional perceptions and support open research, especially Arabic-language research. 

5.2 The role of research libraries in a national Open Science roadmap – the example of France, Julien Roche, University of Lille, France

France is engaged since a few years in a national planning of its actions in favour of Open Science, which reaches a certain maturity in 2022. The first plan was announced in 2018 at the annual LIBER conference. In 2021, a second plan was published. Libraries have taken up the issue from the beginning and their role in Open Science has been decisive. At a local level, institutions regularly integrate library services into their strategies and often entrust them with the preparation and management of strategic issues. At a national level, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research is working closely with libraries on the development of open science and on the determination of (open) public research funding criteria. 
 
Supporters of Open Science, first-rate partners and leaders in their field of expertise, libraries have participated in 2018 and 2021 in setting up a national policy that responds to critical issues of openness and sharing of publicly funded research results, then in federating and animating active academic and research communities around these issues. This paper aims to show why research libraries in France are participating in the development of this policy, and how they are contributing to the implementation of actions that ensure its growing success. 
 
The French government has based its Open Science strategy on complementary approaches that guarantee a coherent vision : publications, data, codes, open educational resources, evaluation of research, sovereignty issues, taking into account the European and international dimension of Open Science. Libraries have found their place in this ecosystem. Committed to the most concrete actions in the short term, characterized by a reflexive hindsight, endowed with a long term vision, libraries are key players regarding issues related to the dissemination, transmission and preservation of knowledge : they have built their role as strategic advisors to public authorities and ensured their recognition and representativeness within the decision-making bodies. As vectors of innovation and keepers of a structured scientific memory, libraries have shown their capacity to federate and manage academic communities around the challenges of opening up research results, data and publications, showcasing their role as key partners for researchers. 
 
This paper shall present national achievements made possible by, with and through libraries : texts, documents, practical guides, examples of researchers, engineers and librarians communities; it shall also give some examples of implementation of these policies within higher education institutions. It will explain through practical cases why and how libraries have played an essential role in the launch of French national policies and are now playing a decisive role in its evolution. It will present the main French policy and strategic directions on Open Science and detail the specific aspects related to the action of research libraries. Il will as a result illustrate how libraries, through their expertise but also thanks to their European and cross-professional vision, have been and are working successfully towards the implementation of Open Science strategies in higher education and research institutions, where the national policy finds support and relays. 

5.3 The ZHAW OER Community at the heart of fostering strategic aims of the university: digital transformation, lifelong learning, societal integration, and sustainability, Nicole Krüger, Yvonne Klein, Roger Flühler,  ZHAW – Zurich University of Applied Sciences, University Library, Switzerland

The ZHAW – Zurich University of Applied Sciences defines five focus topics that are to be pursued by all departments and which are cross sectional topics at the basis of research and teaching at ZHAW; namely “energy”, “societal integration”, “digital transformation”, “sustainability”, and “lifelong learning” (1). 
 
With regard to teaching, four of these five focus topics can be strengthened by publishing learning materials under open licenses as OER – open educational resources. 
 
OER support the digital transformation in higher education by enhancing the variety of teaching materials available – and supporting new didactic concepts. They enhance lifelong learning, as materials are available for learners outside of the institutional learning paths. In the same way, they can enhance societal integration. As UNESCO states, OER for example contribute to the achievement of gender equality and to reduced inequalities within and across countries (2). However, UNESCO also stresses in its recommendation on OER that an implementation on an international level is needed (3). For the achievement of the goals connected to OER it needs collaboration and a mindset shift towards a culture of sharing. 
 
Hence, from the very beginning of its implementation in 2019/2020, the focus of the OER team at the ZHAW university library lay on community outreach, on building a network and a community. 
 
With strong support through the initiative “ZHAW digital” (4) and the OER policy (5) of the ZHAW, the library as a central service unit across departments was in a very good position to create a community around OER at the ZHAW from its own network. An online kick-off event was organized where besides a keynote speech delivered by a renowned speaker, teaching staff had the opportunity to introduce their openly-licensed materials to the community highlighting the challenges, obstacles and motivation in developing them. Today, the community shares information on published OER on the community platform and several connections across disciplines have been established. 
 
Right now, the OER team is reaching out to the next generation of OER creators. Students of the ZHAW are asked to take part in a competition, where they produce their own OER addressing one of the 17 SDG of the UN. In this project Students4OER (6), which is supported by the Sustainable Impact Program of ZHAW (7), the OER team reaches out to students through the OER community, student groups on sustainability, social media, or workshops. Likewise the aim is to strengthen the strategic aims of the ZHAW, i.e., “sustainablity” in this case, through the promotion of OER. 
 
In this presentation, we focus on best practices in establishing an OER community. We present outreach activities of the OER team and its embeddedness into funding lines, strategic initiatives, working groups, and teaching projects across ZHAW. Furthermore, we demonstrate the role of the library in strengthening strategic aims of the university through the promotion of OER. 
1) https://www.zhaw.ch/en/focus-topics/ 
2) https://en.unesco.org/themes/building-knowledge-societies/oer/recommendation 
3) ibid. 
4) https://www.zhaw.ch/en/focus-topics/zhaw-digital/ 
5) https://gpmpublic.zhaw.ch/GPMDocProdZPublic/Fuehrungsgrundlagen/Z_PY_Policy_Open_Educational_Resources_engl.pdf 
6) https://www.zhaw.ch/hsb/students4oer (in German only) 
7) https://www.zhaw.ch/de/fokusthemen/zhaw-sustainable/sustainable-impact-program/ 

Lighting talk:

How to facilitate fruitful innovative partnerships: Lessons from a library-startup-collaboration, Jesper Solheim Johansen, Keenious, Norway, Lars Figenschou, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Mariann Cesilie Løkse, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

In recent years, the impact of digitalization on the educational sector has been considerable. University libraries are no exception. Their patrons – including students and staff – rely more on digital resources and solutions than ever before. This paradigm shift offers new opportunities. Library-related technology has received increased commercial interest, leading to an emergence of early-stage entrepreneurial companies (startups) entering the stage.

Both libraries and the technology providers have a shared interest in solving the needs of the current and future patrons by offering improved library services. Neither the university libraries nor the startups are likely to succeed in creating future library technologies on their own. Collaborations between startups and libraries will therefore become increasingly important, and hopefully more common in years to come.

Creating and applying innovative technologies are often convoluted processes. To develop great products and services, and to later implement them successfully, requires collaboration. It is necessary for developers to receive continuous feedback and guidance from those with domain-specific knowledge and expertise, in this case, the librarians. For most libraries, however, technology startups are unknown territory (and vice versa). Even though such partnerships have the potential to be immensely fruitful, they can also present collaborative challenges. We believe that some specific measures can make this cooperation easier and more fruitful.

To shed light on this novel practice, our lightning talk brings up reflections and lessons from one such collaboration project between the university library at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the technology startup company Keenious. In our allotted minutes, we plan to briefly introduce the collaboration project and discuss three important takeaways:

● What a library should know about the nature of startups before going into a project

● Why having a designated project facilitator within the library is crucial for success

● The importance of building and maintaining relationships through transparency

Both the library and the startup company are represented as presenting authors to yield two unique perspectives on the topic. 

 

51st LIBER Annual Conference