- The Middle East and North Africa region has the capacity to be at the forefront of the Open Science movement, leading the transition to more accessible, sustainable, and inclusive research, and education models.
- The Knowledge E Foundation is helping to make this a reality, supporting the region’s research communities by launching the Forum for Open Research in MENA (F.O.R.M.), a groundbreaking new regional initiative aiding the advancement of Open Science in libraries, universities, and research councils across the Arab world.
- The first F.O.R.M. event had 50 speakers and over 1,100 delegates from over 48 countries.
- This two-day event also included the launch of UNESCO’s new Arab Science Podium, designed to promote scientific cooperation and advance UNESCO’s science agenda across the Arab region.
UAE takes the lead with new Open Science initiative for Arab World
The first Forum for Open Research in MENA (F.O.R.M.) took place on the 26th-27th of October 2022. Organised to inaugurate a cross-regional dialogue concerning the development and implementation of Open Science policies and practices at an institutional level (both higher education institutions and research libraries), the event was a huge success.
This was a high-level participation event, with leaders and senior management from government ministries, regional councils, leading research institutions, and other national and regional stakeholders across the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, representatives from key academic publishers and solution providers also attended. F.O.R.M. was organised by the Knowledge E Foundation and endorsed and supported by UNESCO, the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, and the Arab League of Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation.
Promoting accessibility and inclusivity on every level, F.O.R.M. brought together 50 speakers and more than 1,100 delegates from over 48 countries who contributed to the thought-provoking discussions and debates. Key topics of discussion included the need to combat predatory practices, establish supportive national and institutional policies, develop appropriate structural frameworks, and invest in human and technological capacity building. In addition, UNESCO announced the launch of its Arab Science Podium, which aims to promote scientific cooperation within the Arab region and further advance UNESCO’s science agenda.
Meanwhile, on the 25th of October, ahead of F.O.R.M., a high-level strategy session was held to explore the existing challenges impeding engagement with Open Science by the region’s scholarly communities and research institutions and identify potential solutions. During this session, the Knowledge E Foundation announced the launch of F.O.R.M. as a new non-profit membership organisation designed to encourage and facilitate the exchange of actionable insights and development of practical policies relating to Open Science for libraries, universities, and research councils across the Arab world. Qualified endorsement was received from organisations including the Qatar National Library and the Arab Universities Association, as well as interest from UNESCO and the Arab States Research and Education Network. In addition, over 80 individuals and institutions registered their interest to join the forum.
Kamran R. Kardan, founder of the Knowledge E Foundation, said: “We believe that increasing the accessibility and visibility of research is vital to ensuring the future sustainability and diversity of scholarly communications ecosystems and the needs of the wider public. Our main goal with F.O.R.M. is to support the Arab world by facilitating the transition towards Open Science and Open Research. F.O.R.M. is a first step in that direction, and it is evident that there is a genuine interest to support the advancement of Open Research and Open Science across the Middle East and North Africa.
Beyond the yearly event, regular community development activities, including workshops from leading open-source providers and webinars from Open Science experts, as well as access to F.O.R.M.’s library of practical guidelines, policy templates, and other resources will be available for everyone.
About the Knowledge E Foundation
The Knowledge E Foundation is a registered Community Interest Company that aims to directly impact people’s lives by supporting efforts to improve the accessibility, availability, and inclusivity of research and education for everyone. Funded by the profits of Knowledge E, the Knowledge E Foundation strives to empower communities by supporting the causes that aid them, including disaster relief, building schools in remote areas, funding education initiatives and supporting Open Research and Open Science projects.