Authors : Mohamed Boufarss, Mikael Laakso
Higher education institutions (HEIs) have an instrumental role in the move towards Open Access (OA) by shaping the national strategies, policies, and agendas.
This study sets out to explore the role of HEIs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) OA uptake and reflect on the ongoing international initiatives pushing for universal OA to research.
The study is based on an online survey targeted at UAE higher education institutions research management units. In order to measure the institutional views, only one response was solicited from each institution.
A total of 19 valid responses were received, making up 47% of HEIs included in the population of organisations. Our results suggest that there is low commitment to OA among UAE HEIs as attested by the low number of OA policies, scarce OA funding, limited proliferation of institutional repositories, perceived lack of urgency to migrate from current access models, and little consideration of OA for promotion purposes.
The study is the first of its kind in the UAE, Arab and Middle Eastern countries, providing rare insight into a growing phenomenon that is global, yet most vocally discussed from a western perspective and context.
The study contributes to the debate on the role of HEIs in the transition to OA and in shaping national and regional OA policies, as well as informing international initiatives about the current status of OA in the region.