Belarus

Belarus is one of the late entrants into the Open Access movement largely due to a lack of widespread information about OA available to researchers. Only a few library professionals were informed about OA, mainly from the central libraries of Belarus (Fundamental Library of the Belarusian State University, Presidential Library of the republic of Belarus, Central Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences and Republican Scientific Medical Library). Belarus Council of Libraries on Information Cooperation (BelCoLib) was established on the initiative of the National Library of Belarus  and comprises over  37 university, public and special libraries. BelCoLib  as a successor of BelLibnet  co-ordinates activities of libraries with  EIFL and  have initiated OA  movement in Belarus. The working group on OA is responsible for coordination of the activities aimed at promotion of OA initiative in Belarus.

As of July 2015, there are 2 OA journals published in Belarus which are indexed in DOAJ and 15 OA digital repositories registered in OpenDOAR.

Enabling Environment:

In 2012, UNESCO, jointly with the National Library of Belarus organized a "Regional Consultation on Open Access to Scientific Information and Research'. The main objective of this consultation was to share how free and unrestricted access to research can increase research impact and benefit research institutions and also create an enabling mechanism to assess contexts of mandates or policy frameworks that surround Open Access. 

EIFL supports Belarus in developing OA awareness through BelCoLibNet. The National Library of Belarus  provides methodological supports for OA  initiatives  and the National Academy of Sciences (Institute of Mathematics) has published an OA journal (indexed on DOAJ).

Potential Barriers:

Copyright Law  barriers; poor financial  support of the OA  projects ; limited national internet access. A national OA policy is lacking.

Major Projects/Initiatives:

A national harvester (metadata indexing system to expand and improve access to research in OA journals and OA repositories) has been set up at the Analytical Centre of the Ministry of Education of Belarus (http://metaport.unibel.by/).

In 2013, Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics and International State Ecological University launched an OA repository (using DSpace FOSS platform).

A national Open Journal Systems (OJS) platform has been set up and sevral journals have been moved to this platform.

The Belarusian national OA website, (www.openaccess.by) has been launched. 

BelCoLib have made proposals to amendment of the national Copyright Law.

Belarussian State University Digital Library has been developed as a repository and included into ROAR.

Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics has published an OA  journal.

BSUIR  plans to launch a multidisciplinary OA portal for academic e-journals.

National library  of Belarus  is planning  to develop a corporate Belarussian Open  Access Repository.

National and Institutional Level Policies/Mandates:

There is no national OA policy in place. As of May 2015, there are 2 institutional OA policies registered in ROARMAP.

Details of Key Organizations:

BelLibnet
Overview: BelLibNet is a consortium of 27 university, national and special libraries co-ordinating country activities with EIFL under the umbrella of the Belarusian Library Association. Communication address: v_britch(at)nlb.by

Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics
Communication address: Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics,  6, Brovka Street, 220027, Minsk, Republic of Belarus; e-mail: webmaster(at)bsuir.by

National Library of Belarus
Overview: National Library of Belarus is the country’s  legal deposit library offering loan and reference facilities. Communication address: 116 Independence Avenue,  220114, Minsk, Belarus, Email: v_britch(at)nlb.by

National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB)
Overview:  The major scientific institution in Belarus, NASB coordinates scientific research activity and serves as an umbrella organisation to support development in the sciences. Communication address: 66 Independence Avenue, Minsk BY-220072, Republic of Belarus; e-mail: nasb(at)presidium.bas-net.by

Library of the Belarusian State University (BSU)
BSU has established the first digital repository for its document collection.
Communication address: Belarusian State University, 4, Nezavisimosti Avenue, 220030, Minsk, Republic of Belarus; e-mail: library(at)bsu.by

Thematic Open Access projects/Initiatives

Past and Future OA Related Activities:

The Central Information and Analytical Center at the Ministry of Education of Belarus celebrated International Open Access Week during 23-25 October 2013 by organizing a series of OA related events. 

October 2012- A seminar on using OJS was attended by 15 journal editors and publishers from the National Academy of Science. Diatech, together with Belarusian State university of Informatics and Radioelectronics piloted OJS software and provided hands-on support to researchers who planned to use the portal www.openaccess.by for OA publishing in the future.

During OA week 2012, several workshops were organized for different target groups. As a result of these workshops:

  • The institute of Applied Physics planned to launch a new OA journal on nanotechnology.
  • The Analytical Centre of the Ministry of Education of Belarus launched a national portal to integrate national and international OA resources: http://metaport.unibel.by/. They also planned to launch a shared OA repository (using DSpace FOSS) for universities which do not have appropriate infrastructure to support their own OA IRs.
  • The International State Ecological University set up an OA institutional repository for post-prints of papers written by faculty members who participate in international research projects.

November 2012: a paper on the integration of OA resources was delivered at the International Scientific Conference RINTI-2012, held in the National Academy of Science.

6 December 2012: A round table discussion "OA and Scholarly Communication" was held at the National Library of Belarus and was attended by over 50 participants. Decisions were made to:

  • Develop a Toolkit on OA implementation in research institutes and universities. The first draft of this Toolkit was released by BelCoLib in 2013on openaccess.by.
  • Submit a proposal to the Higher Attestation Commission of the Republic of Belarus to recognize national OA journals for publishing research results.  
  • Recommend to the Ministry of Education of Belarus and the State Committee on Science and Technology that they sign the Berlin Declaration on OA to Knowledge in Science and Humanities.
  • Develop a sustainability plan for openaccess.by by 2013. 

Fundamental Library of Belarus State University, BelLibNet and EIFL Open Access Awareness Raising workshop in Minsk, Belarus, 2008 resulted in planned national project using Netherlands Cream of Science.

2011- The meeting of Belarusian Council of the University Provosts devoted to the development and usage of Open Educational Resources (OER). 

National Library of Belarus EIFL GA 2011, National Library of Belarus VII International Bibliological Conference "Libraries and the policy of open access to information and knowledge".

List of Publications

Leonid Vaitsekhovich (February 2013): "Belarusian National Open Access Website (http://www.openaccess.by/) as a Focal Point for Advocacy Campaigns to Reach Out to Research Communities- Results of the EIFL-Funded Open Access Project".

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