In Addis Ababa to promote Open Access (NADRE)

In Addis Ababa, from 19th to 22nd of February 2018 at the conference: “Towards the Ethiopian Knowledge Society”, an event meant to kick-off the National Academic Digital Repository of Ethiopia (NADRE) initiative, to promote Open Access, the e-Infrastructures and the digital repositories that will make Ethiopian scientific products (articles, publications and other resources) accessible and available for comparison all over the world.

The event, opened by H.E. Dr Samuel Kifle, Ethiopian State Ministry for Higher Education, can be considered as a natural consequence of the actions undertaken by the Sci-GaIA project to make science and scientists “made in Africa” more visible and to show the immediate results achieved by their researches. More than 70 researchers, technologists and librarians, representing more than 20 Ethiopian universities, as well as international experts coming from the South African Academy of Science, from the Digital Repository of Ireland and from the universities of Catania and Vienna, have attended the event. NADRE will provide Ethiopia with a National Open Access repository containing all the results of the researches and, among other enabling and qualifying elements, there will be the possibility to tag any result of the research using unique and persistent identifiers.

Identification through DOIs was in fact another central topic discussed during the conference. We can try to imagine DOI as a sort of ‘barcode’ for intellectual property. Trying to simplify, we can define DOI as a standard, which inside a digital network can permanently and distinctively identify any object of intellectual property and associate its relative reference data, i.e. its metadata. All sort of digital contents like texts, images, audio or video files, software, etc. can be identified. It is the object itself that is identified, there is no need for more information to define it. In Italy, DOI prefixes are assigned to all universities and research organizations by CRUI , which is the only member of the DataCite organization in the country.

Approximately one year ago, some professors and researchers of the University of Catania established a collaboration with CRUI within the context of the Sci-GaIA Project and agreed on extending the release of DOI prefixes to all African universities and research institutes requesting them. Many institutions like the Africa Population Health Research Center, Eko-Konnect, the Ubuntunet Alliance and the Ethiopian Ministry of Education through EthERNet, (the organisation manging and operating the national education and research network) have already joined.

We believe that an increasing number of African universities, research institutes and libraries will gradually request a DOI prefix for their Open Access institutional repositories. Researchers will notice a wider and faster circulation of their results, higher visibility and increasing international and cross-disciplinary collaborations.

In this perspective, we are honoured to take part and to give our contribution by means of well-aimed actions of communication and promotion in favour of Open Science in Ethiopia and in the rest of Africa.

 

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