Birzeit University in West Bank, Palestine, has launched an open access (OA) institutional repository, opening its publications and research to the world.
Titled ‘FADA’, which means ‘Space’ in English, the OA repository was launched on 17 October 2016 at a special event held in Birzeit University Main Library. The OA repository aims to increase visibility of the university by making publications and research produced by the university and its community globally accessible.
The creation of the repository follows open access workshops funded and organized by EIFL for institutions in Palestine late in 2015, which Birzeit University attended. In 2016, Birzeit University library staff and information technology team members also took part in a series of EIFL webinars on installing, setting up and managing institutional OA repositories using DSpace free and open source software.
According to Mrs Diana Sayej Naser, Director of Birzeit University Main Library, the EIFL workshops and webinars were instrumental to successful creation of FADA, which was set up using DSpace software.
Participants in the FADA launch event were introduced to the policies that guide management and use of the OA repository, and were given a demonstration on depositing publications and conducting searches.
FADA CONTENT EXPECTED TO GROW QUICKLY
Enthusiastic members of the university community have already deposited over 3,000 publications, including journal articles, research papers, books and rare books, theses and dissertations. Birzeit University mandates deposits into FADA, and content is expected to grow quickly.
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our administration and the University Council for encouraging us to move ahead with the idea of establishing an OA repository, and for their approval,” said Sayej Naser.
“We would also like to thank EIFL for their support in organizing workshops where universities in Palestine could learn about building institutional repositories,” she added.
Open access has special significance in Palestine, a divided country where there are restrictions on movement between its two parts, the West Bank and Gaza. “In addition to opening our research to the world, FADA will facilitate learning for our local academics, researchers and students, who face problems meeting each other resulting from restrictions on movement,” said Sayej Naser.
Now that the launch is over, the hard work begins.
“The 3,000 deposits is just a start. In future, much more material will be added, and we will also digitize and add rare books, ethnographic items, educational materials, archaeological images and articles from newspapers,” she said.