What’s in a “NAME”? A study of African and Arab journals in the DOAJ – News Service

“Journal applications are reaching the milestone of 500 titles assessed by the ‘North Africa & Middle East’ (NAME) editor group at DOAJ. This group took over from the former Arabic group in 2016, and I have been honoured to be the editor of this group.

The purpose of the NAME group is to assess as many applications as possible coming from both Arab countries and West Africa, as the regions of former groups had very few applications.

Thanks to the efforts of the 6 volunteering associate editors, we have so far accepted 290 journals and rejected a further 196 applications, for different reasons. The rest of the applications include some completed assessments, 14 are still in progress, and 4 applications were put on hold. In fact, these numbers are very little, a “peanut” comparing to the DOAJ 14267 journals, including 11290 searchable journals at the article level and about 4, 620717 articles altogether from 133 countries. 

Most applications are coming from other (mainly Muslim) countries: Indonesia; and Iran….”

News & Views: Shifting Power Balances in Global Scholarly Output – Delta Think

“The following figure analyzes the spread of output across major regions, comparing papers published in all journals with those published in fully OA journals….


Authors from Asia-Pacific (APAC) account for just under 45% of papers, with Europe a close second and the Americas third. (Total papers in this model amount to just under 2.4 million.)
However, Europe leads in authorship in fully OA journals, covering 52% of output compared with APAC’s 43%. (The model covers just over 500,000 papers in fully OA journals.)…
The top chart shows publications in all journals. Each color represents a different year. We can see that APAC’s share of output is growing, while Western Europe is flatlining and North America lessening.
Share of output in fully OA journals (the bottom chart) shows a slightly different picture. APAC is growing, but in this case, Western Europe’s share is declining, and North America’s share is shrinking even faster.
Smaller economies are growing their share of fully OA faster than they are growing their share of overall output, albeit from lower bases….

By measuring share of output and including overlap between multi-author papers, we can analyze how the “influence” of authors from different regions is changing. As shown above, data confirms the increase in APAC output and the static or decreasing trends in Western Europe and North America, respectively.

The story is much more nuanced when you drill into each country’s contributions. For example, China accounts for a bit less than half (48%) of the APAC region’s influence. While countries such as South Korea, Japan, India, and Australia account for single-digit percentages each, together they are moving the needle, accounting for almost 38% of APAC’s total output….”

A Benedictine monk is helping to save ancient manuscripts in Syria and Iraq–Aleteia

“Meanwhile, in Iraq, a Dominican priest, Najeeb Michaeel (in photo, center, with Fr. Stewart at left), had already established a center for digitization of Christian manuscripts in the Christian village of Qaraqosh. HMML helped him digitize thousands of Syriac, Arabic, and Armenian manuscripts. In 2014, after the Islamic State group took over Mosul, Michaeel (who is now the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul) took the precaution of moving the precious manuscripts out of Qaraqosh, even though it was not expected that ISIS would move eastward of Mosul. But they did.

Along with the gruesome treatment ISIS meted out to “infidels” and the destruction it incurred upon places like the Mosul Museum and the ancient city of Palmyra, they also destroyed major manuscript collections in Mosul, “leaving behind only the digital images and a handful of severely damaged volumes,” Fr. Stewart said. “Most collections outside of Mosul, however, had been saved: moved at the last minute, or successfully concealed. This was the case at Mar Behnam Monastery, where some 500 manuscripts were hidden behind a false wall and never discovered during the two-year occupation of the monastery by ISIS. When the monks returned to their now wrecked and defaced monastery, where ISIS had blown up the shrines of the saints to whom the monastery was dedicated, they found the manuscripts intact, safe in their hiding place, a still-beating heart in the battered and bruised body of the cloister.”

Today, HMML has a growing digitized collection of more than 250,000 handwritten books and 50 million handwritten pages. The work is vitally important to helping scholars gain a deeper understanding of ancient cultures, Fr. Stewart said….”

Open Access Journals in the Middle East and Iran

Almost 650 journals are currently published in the Middle East (http://applications.emro.who.int/library/imjournals/). Almost two-thirds of these journals are published in Iran (http://journals.research.ac.ir/). Many research institutions publish their own journals. For some incentives, even a single university publishes several journals. For example, currently Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences publishes 62 journals (http://journals.sbmu.ac.ir/site/); Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 57 (http://journals.tums.ac.ir/). This large number of journals published by a scientific institution such as a university in a developing country, is because the raison d’être for scientific publishing in developing countries is quite different from that in developed nations….

All, but a few, of these journals are OA. In fact, almost all biomedical journals published in the Middle East (and many other developing countries) have been published and distributed internationally gratis long before the era of the Internet, online publishing, and the OA movement. They have merely published for enjoying the prestige and bringing promotion credit for the institution and the faculty members. After the introduction of OA movement, nonetheless, another incentive has come into play—making money….”

700 Years of Persian Manuscripts Now Digitized and Available Online | Open Culture

For Nowruz, the Persian New Year, the Library of Congress has released a digital collection of its rare Persian-language manuscripts, an archive spanning 700 years. This free resource opens windows on diverse religious, national, linguistic, and cultural traditions, most, but not all, Islamic, yet all different from each other in complex and striking ways….”

The Higher Council for Science and Technology Joins cOAlition S | Plan S

“The Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST) from Jordan is the first organisation in the Middle East to join cOAlition S.

HCST was established in 1987 as a public independent institution and acts as a national umbrella for all science & technology activities in Jordan. The objective of the Higher Council is to build a national science and technology base to contribute to the achievement of development goals, through increasing awareness of the significance of scientific research and development, granting the necessary funding and directing scientific and research activities, within national priorities, in line with development orientations.

cOAlition S is thrilled to welcome HCST as the latest member to the growing coalition and looks forward to collaborating with them in the coming months to realise its transformative Open Access plan….”

The Higher Council for Science and Technology is the first organisation in the Middle East who joined cOAlition PLAN S | The Higher Council For Science And Technology (HCST)

“The Higher Council for Science and Technology is the first organisation in the Middle East who joined cOAlition PLAN S. which is a clear indication of HCST leadership in Science and Innovation Policy….”


“As open becomes the default for science and scholarship, equity must be intentionally built into the foundation of the emerging new system. Inclusion has to be a central consideration and permanent priority in how we pursue an open system—individually, institutionally, and collectively. To achieve this, communities that are marginalized by our current closed system of scholarly communication need be included as central in planning for the future.

The Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet) has examined the diversity of modes of scientific discovery and dissemination in the Global South since 2014. The initiative includes 12 research teams working in 26 countries from Lebanon to Cameroon to Costa Rica carrying out projects involving critical issues such as climate change and water quality under a variety of local contexts….

For its contributions to promoting diversity in Open Science and representation of the Global South, the SPARC has honored OCSDNet with its June 2018 Innovator Award….”

OpenMed – Opening up Education in South-Mediterranean countries

“Five partners from Europe and nine from South Mediterranean Countries are working together to widening participation and adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) as a bottom-up approach to support the modernisation of the Higher Education sector in Morocco, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan….”

Recording and Slides: Open Access in the global South: Perspectives from the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network

“The recording and the slides from today’s webinar entitled Open Access in the global South: Perspectives from the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network are now available on Zenodo. Prof. Leslie Chan shared key lessons from OCSDNet which is a research network with scientists, development practitioners, community members and activists from 26 countries in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Based on OCS experience, he questioned openness and public good, discussed open science definition beyond academy. Prof Chan also highlighted that principles as in the definition of Next Generation Repository should be guiding the technology and the infrastructures, not the other way around.”