Engaging with Open Access Locally and Internationally: A holistic and longitudinal study of the United Arab Emirates academic publishing landscape
peter.suber's bookmarks 2023-10-12
Abstract: Scholarly communicaton has witnessed many transformatve changes throughout history. These changes are accelerated by the advent of the Internet that enabled complex communicaton networks between its diferent stakeholders. These networks are kindled by the noble principle of exchanging research fndings. Within this context, no change has been as disruptve as open access (OA). Whether through self-archiving (green) or directly from the publishers (gold), OA’s aim is to free the exchange of research fndings from paywalls. Many initatves in support of OA fourished and scientometric studies started measuring its uptake and impact. However, OA research stll faces many challenges.
The aim of this thesis was to analyze the UAE research landscape for empirical data on the natonal state of OA. The UAE makes for a good study case because of its economic, demographic and research characteristcs. The UAE is a very young country that is, nonetheless, being classifed among high income countries. Its researcher populaton is characterised by high transiency, an atribute that may negatvely afect research output and OA prioritzaton. The fndings show that UAE lacks incentves to adopt OA, OA related mandates and policies, OA infrastructure, and OA funding. However, the UAE is on par with the rest of the world in terms of number of OA journals; practitioners’ awareness and support of OA practces; and OA artcles output. This study also supports the evident correlaton between internatonal coauthorship levels and OA uptake. This is in stark contrast to policy lacunae and no evident prioritzaton of OA.
This thesis also highlights how existng bibliographic sources of data can draw a distorted picture of the state of OA especially in countries such as the UAE since these sources are largely biased. This is in additon to gaps in OA-related metadata. Even with integratve methods, OA-related research is largely restrained.
The UAE could beneft greatly from a natonwide science policy that would not only promote research output but also make it more visible and accessible through OA supportve measures. OA uptake numbers would improve and consolidate the positon of the UAE as a forward looking country and a crossroad of global talents.