Free and open access to research in Myanmar will grow dramatically as a result of an exciting new project that will establish a national portal for journal articles, theses and dissertations, conference proceedings and other research output from Myanmar universities.
The Myanmar Education Research and Learning Portal (MERAL) is a project of the Department of Higher Education of the Myanmar Ministry of Education, the Rector’s Committee and the National Education Policy Commission (NEPC). EIFL will manage the project, with technical assistance from the National Institute of Informatics (NII), Japan.
MERAL was announced by Professor Zaw Wai Soe, Chairman of the Rectors’ Committee, during the opening ceremony of the Myanmar Universities’ Research Conference 2019 (24 - 25 May), which took place at the University of Yangon. EIFL Open Access Programme Manager Iryna Kuchma presented the project at a round table discussion with policy makers and researchers on 25 May.
Myanmar will be the first country in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region to launch a national portal that will collect, disseminate and preserve all research outputs.
Portal will make Myanmar research more visible
MERAL will host Myanmar institutional open access repositories, and will have an interface for searching and browsing content across repositories. It will be built using WEKO 3, an Invenio-based multi-tenancy repository platform, developed by NII.
The portal will make Myanmar research more visible and showcase Myanmar’s intellectual and research capacity, fostering collaboration with institutions in other countries and helping Myanmar researchers to develop professional networks internationally.
It will also strengthen the capacity of universities and research institutes to manage and coordinate research. Improved management will open opportunities for collaboration among researchers from different institutions in Myanmar, and decrease duplication and fragmentation of research. By providing statistics and analytics about research that has been published, the portal will serve as a research monitoring tool.
FIRST FIVE REPOSITORIES TO BE HOSTED
The MERAL Portal project builds on EIFL’s work in Myanmar over the last four years, that resulted in the establishment of institutional open access repositories at five universities: University of Yangon, University of Mandalay, Yangon University of Economics, Yadanabon University and Yezin Agricultural University. The repositories provide open access to more than 1,000 research publications that have already been downloaded over 100,000 times.
MERAL will start by hosting these five repositories. Guided by a project working group, EIFL will reach out to other institutions and invite them to make their research results openly available on MERAL.