Qatar National Library has announced the recipients of its inaugural Open Initiative Award for the best contributions to advance open scholarship in Qatar.

Qatar Minister of State and Qatar National Library President, HE Dr Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari, revealed the winners during a virtual ceremony this week. The Minister also delivered a rousing keynote speech, outlining the importance of the open access movement to the research community, as well as the vital role open access plays in knowledge acquisition and sharing in Qatar and across the world.

Open access is the practice of sharing knowledge openly and making research outcomes visible and accessible to all. The movement includes open access to research papers, open data, open education resources, open licenses and other applications of openness in scholarly and research environments.

An esteemed panel of judges from the Library deliberated over dozens of applications received after the call went out to Qatar’s research community in August for nominations.

Open Initiative Awards 2

The Best Individual Award went to Dr Julie Decock, a scientist at Cancer Research Center, QBRI-HBKU, and Assistant Professor at the College of Health and Life Sciences in HBKU.

Dr Decock exhibited strong support of open scholarship and personally promoted open access through research tools, research data, software code and research manuscripts. She has been involved in the QBRI summer research programme for undergraduate students, offering laboratory-based hands-on experience. She has also given several workshops on open scholarship.

The Best Institutional Award went to Bait Al Mashura Journal. The journal is an open access, semi-annual international scientific journal, publishing research in the fields of Islamic economics. The journal is published by Bait Al Mashura Finance Consultations, established in 2007 as the first Qatari firm to provide Shari’ah finance consultations.

Both award recipients gave presentations during the virtual Open Initiative Award ceremony, outlining the importance of working with organisations such as the Library to spread research findings as widely as possible.

According to Dr Al Kuwari, the research that comes from Qatar is part of its heritage, and that open scholarship and open access to information helps preserve and share the nation’s and region’s heritage. He added that by removing barriers to information, we can help the people of Qatar positively influence society by creating an advanced environment for learning and discovery.

The awards ceremony coincided with Open Access Week, a global event now entering its tenth year. The week offers the chance for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of open access, share what they’ve learned with colleagues and help inspire wider participation in helping make open access the new normal in scholarship and research.

For more information on the awards, visit qnl.qa