In Saudi Arabia, there has been a positive and steady response towards Open Access among the different stakeholders in the community by academia, researchers and librarians through participation in Open Access journal publishing initiatives, supporting Open Access repositories.
Currently, ROARMAP lists only one OA mandate from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), highlighting the need for the establishment and implementation of more OA policies at the national and institutional level. KAUST repository mandate was passed on June 2014,
On 15 January 2014, Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading global provider of information for healthcare professionals and students, announced that the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has launched nationwide open access to UpToDate®, providing nearly 80,000 physicians and nurses with access to its acclaimed clinical decision support resource.
As of June 2015, OpenDOAR registers 7 digital OA repositories.
Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ) lists 5 OA journals: Annals of Saudi Medicine, Synergies Monde Arabe, Saudi Medical Journal, Saudi Journal of Anaesthesia, Journal of Family and Community Médicine. Other OA journlas published in Saudi Arabia which are not included in DOAJ are Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Arts and Humanities, Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Earth Sciences, Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Economics and Administration,Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Engineering Sciences, Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Islamic Economics, Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Marine Sciences, Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Medical Sciences,Journal of King Abdulaziz University : Meteorology, Environment and Arid Land Agriculture Sciences and Saudi Dental Journal.
Researchers from KSA publish articles in international Open Access journals, for example, in 2013, 269 research articles have been published with BioMed Central – an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the Open Access publishing model– and among them are highly accessed (most viewed) articles published by researchers from King Saud University, King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, and College of Science King Saud University.
Saudi Arabia aims to become a regional leader in an information society and the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). This will be achieved through the Kingdom’s 20-year ICT plan which aims to conclude the ICT’s Home PC Initiative. Saudi Arabia is already the largest telecommunications market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, constituting 30% of the overall market share. The Saudi Arabia government spends heavy investment in education with One Billion SR for e-education projects. Current Internet subscribers are 1 million and broadband usage is a miniscule.
In Saudi Arabia, there has been a positive and steady response towards Open Access among the different stakeholders in the community by academia, researchers and librarians.
However, a recent survey study carried out by Abdullah Almubariz & Imam Muhammad in the Saud Islamic University showed the need for more OA awareness workshops to be organized locally.
- 36% faculty disagreed about publishing research in OA journals
- 63% were skeptical about peer-review process
- 58% OA publications were not considered in career promotion.
Major Projects and Initiatives
Nidae Al-Ryadh of Free Access to Scientific and Technical Information was the first Arabic declaration in support of OA by the participants in the Second Gulf-Maghreb Scientific Congress (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 25-26, 2006), which calls for free access to all scientific literature on the internet. It supports the idea that scientific literature should be disseminated without any financial, legal, or technological barriers except those concerned with the intellectual property for the author.
Saudi Digital Library (SDL) aims to support university education system and meeting the needs of beneficiaries in higher education institutions in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
International Open Access Week is celebrated annually in Saudi Arabia. On October 2009, KAUST Library at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, celebrated the Open Access week. The KAUST Library emphasizes support for "e-science" through its digital repository, web-based services, data curation, and full exploitation of the University's extraordinary IT infrastructure. Faculty of information and computer science, King Fahd University also held a workshop for faculty on Open Access and open source.
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) libraries are one the first Libraries in the Middle East that integrated the new technologies to create its own digital library for its student community. The library has launched an ambitious project in order to transform into a digital library. KFUPM also provides a variety of technological facilities such as on-line and CD-ROM searching of bibliographic, full image, multimedia and numerical databases, as well as virtual audiovisual services
The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) is an independent scientific organization which continues to promote OA in the region. Among its objectives is to "coordinate with government agencies, scientific institutions and research centers to enhance research and exchange information and expertise". As part of its plan to create an ecosystem for the National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan, which aims to increase scientific publishing from the region, KACST with its partner, Springer, launched 6 international scientific journals on six of strategic technologies (Water, Oil and Gas, Petrochemicals, Nanotechnology and Biotechnology, Energy). The first issues appeared in 2011. The KACST Scientific Journals are the first 100% Open Access journals on their respective topics, both free to read and free to submit for all. Articles published in these journals will therefore benefit from maximum exposure and higher citations.
In 2007, a study conducted by Jawhraa Abdul Rahaman, to explore the contentment of academics in universities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia towards open Access publishing - 63.4% of the total participants in the study showed their desire to have their scientific publications available for free access on the Internet in future, compared with 22.4% reported that they do not support the idea.
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)
Communication address: P.O Box 6086, Riyadh 11442, Tel.: +96614883555, Fax: +96614813274, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM)- integrated the new technologies to create its own digital library for its student community.
Communication address: Dhahran, 31261, Saudi Arabia. Tel.: +966 (3) 860 0000.
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