Iraq

As of June 2015, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists seven Open Access Journals: International Journal of Energy and Environment, Iraqi Journal of Veterinary Sciences, Kufa Review, Tikrit Journal of Engineering Science, Iraqi Journal of Veterinary Medecine, Al-Khawarizmi Engineering Journal and Iraqi Journal of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Researchers from Iraq publish articles in international OA periodicals. For instance, in 2013, there have been 28 research articles published with BioMed Central – an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine), pioneer in the OA publishing model, and among them most viewed articles published by researchers from Central Organization for Statistics & Information Technology, Ministry of planning, and development cooperation, the Maternity and Child Teaching Hospital, Al-Qadisiya, Sulaimanyah Teaching Hospital, and University of Mosul, Iraq.

Currently, no OA policies are registered in ROARMAP. However, one institutional OA digital repository is registered in OpenDOAR. This is the institutional repository of the University of Babylon. It provides open access to University journals in Applied Sciences. Pure Sciences, Sports and Physical Education. The repository is available in Arabic and English.

Enabling Environment

Many of the countries investing in infrastructure reconstruction and rebuilding Iraq are leaders in ICT. This gives Iraq the opportunity to be with “best-in-class” Global Area Network (GAN) that offers high quality data, voice, and internet at high speeds. Iraq has a history of strong computer science and engineering higher education. Reviving this may prove to be one of their most valuable ICT strength.

According to 2011 data of the (ITU) - International Telecommunication Union, that of a population of 30,399,572, there are approximately 860,400 internet users with an estimated 2.8 percent of the population had access to the Internet but growing with improved broadband capability.

Potential Barriers

The education system in Iraq, prior to 1991, was one of the best in the region; Iraq has a history of strong computer science and engineering higher education. However, following Iraq’s wars and years of international sanctions, the education sector has suffered greatly.

A recent study done in 2012 of the views of a sample of faculty members at the University of Mosul showed that the majority of faculty surveyed were reluctant to publish in OA due to a lack of awareness.

  • 82% faculty members were unsure of the quality of the OA journal editorial board members
  • 45% faculty members were fearful of intellectual theft/copyright infringement
  • 64% OA article were not recognized in academic career promotion

This is evident of the lack of awareness about Open Access among Iraqi academia and librarians to be a key factor which needs to be addressed. The lack of instuitional/ national policy of Open Access and weak ICT facilities and applications is also slowing down the OA movement in Iraq.

However, today, there is a sense of renewed progress. Systematic structural challenges remain, but the momentum is tangible – publications have more than tripled in the past decade. Several stabilizing factors have converged to account for this progress, not least of which is the decline in violent conflict and the semblance of political continuity. But another key factor is the availability of scientific literature to local practitioners. Thanks to the Iraq Virtual Science Library (IVSL), academic research – those peer-reviewed reports generally encaged by steep paywalls – is now widely accessible.

The growing movement toward open access in the United States and other developed countries is predicated largely on issues of fairness, taxpayer return, and the productive synergies of shared information. But initiatives like the IVSL reveal another role for open access – as a tool for economic and technical development.

Major Projects/ Initiatives

The Iraqi Virtual Science Library (IVLS) is a digital science library sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Defense and State with public/private partnership to build a digital science library for Iraqis. The IVSL is hosted in the United States and accessible to most of Iraq’s academic and research institutions. It provides free, full-text access to more than 17,000 cutting-edge scientific journal titles for thousands of scientific journals from major publishers as well as a large collection of on-line educational materials and educational aids, such as course materials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and links to federal and international government scientific resources, and more than 34,000 E-Book from "Project Gutenberg". More than 7,000 users are registered with the library, which serves nine government ministries and all public universities in Iraq.

Iraq Literary Review is the first Open Access Iraqi Literary journal in English with an Iraqi, Arab and World outlook - the new magazine, published under the auspices of the University of Iowa International Writing Program, is split into five sections: criticism, poetry, fiction, Arab portfolio, world portfolio.

Publications

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