Open Science in Oman: Initiatives and obstacles

Obaid Al Saeedi - The Research Council of Oman

Oman is a relatively small Arab country with a population of about five million people. In 2018, Oman was ranked as the 47th most competitive nation in the world out of 140 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum. Although Oman has a positive and Steady Progress towards adopting open science, the progress is still slow. In 2018 Oman was Ranked # 63 in the Global Open Data Index up from #93 in 2014. Until June 2018, The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has 540 open access journals from the MENA region, five of which are published from Oman. Oman also has a Digital Strategy that was endorsed in 2003 and an open government data policy. The Research Council (TRC) of Oman was established in 2005 as the governmental funding agency for research. To support open science, TRC has established Masader, The Oman Virtual Science Library to provide access to a wealth of global research material. TRC is planning to adopt an open access publication policy in the very near future, where all publications resulting from funded projects must be published as open access. Despite these initiatives, open science still faces many barriers in Oman such as lack of open access policies, lack of awareness among the stakeholders, and lack of recognition for publishing in OAJ when it comes to promotions. Although their research is funded using public money, many researchers still publish in journals locked up in commercial databases. In this poster, we will highlight the initiatives taken in Oman towards adopting open science, the obstacles faced, and the efforts made to overcome these obstacles.