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Türkiye Makes Strides in Open Science Thanks to OpenAIRE


Gultekin Gurdal, the Library Director at Izmir Institute of Technology (IZTECH) and an executive board member of OpenAIRE AMKE, attended the Polish Open Science Conference that took place 10–12 April 2024. This key event, focused on all aspects of Open Science, provided a platform for researchers, librarians, data managers, and scientific infrastructure developers to discuss critical issues such as Open Access publishing, research data management, and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

During the conference, Gurdal gave a presentation which took centre stage titled "Open Science in Türkiye and the Impact of OpenAIRE." One of the most compelling aspects of Gurdal's presentation was the role OpenAIRE has played in developing Open Access infrastructures and the adoption of Open Science in Türkiye, a country with a robust higher education system consisting of 208 universities.

Some Key Takeaways

Open Access and Open Science practices have gained tremendous momentum at both policy and infrastructure levels in Türkiye, mainly after IZTECH participated in OpenAIRE projects between 2011 and 2021 (OpenairePlus, OpenAIRE 2020, OpenAIRE Advance). These OpenAIRE projects strengthened the Turkish community's Open Access and Science goals through recommendations, knowledge sharing, best practices, and training activities within a well-connected network. During the OpenAIRE projects, the OpenAIRE Türkiye NOAD participated in 123 events (including 26 international), gave 100 presentations, organised 15 webinars, and held 12 essential events. 

Thanks to the collaboration between the OpenAIRE Türkiye NOAD, the Council for Higher Education (CoHE), the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Türkiye (TUBITAK), and the Anatolian University Libraries Consortium (ANKOS), Türkiye has made remarkable progress in establishing Open Science policies and infrastructures. These infrastructures include the National Harvesting System "Türkiye Academic Archive (Harman)," TUBITAK-ULAKBIM DergiPark, an open journal publishing system which is one of the largest OpenAIRE data providers, and the Aperta Türkiye Open Archive, a research data and publication repository.

Before getting involved with OpenAIRE projects, there were very few institutional repositories (IR) in Türkiye. However, as of March 2024, the number of IR has increased to 183, making Türkiye the 7th country in the world with the highest number of repositories, according to OpenDOAR Statistics. The first Research Information System in international standards, GCRIS, was also developed with the support of artificial intelligence and is continuously being improved by Research Ecosystems Inc., which was established in Technopark Izmir. As a strategic partner, IZTECH became the first university to use GCRIS in April 2021. Currently, seven members in Türkiye are using GCRIS.

Türkiye has also made significant progress in advancing Open Science policies. In March 2018, the Parliament enacted Open Access to theses and dissertations. In 2019, TUBITAK launched the Open Science Policy based on the OpenAIRE model Policy on Open Science for Research Funding Organizations. At the institutional level, IZTECH became the first university in Türkiye to establish a mandatory Open Access Policy in 2013 and an Open Science Policy based on the OpenAIRE model for Research Performing Organizations in 2018. These policies have served as a model for other universities. In 2022, the IZTECH Research Data Management (RDM) Directory, which is Türkiye's first RDM Directory, was approved.

Lastly, Gürdal provided information about OpenAIRE services and highlighted the benefits of being a member of OpenAIRE.

Overall, Gultekin Gurdal's presentation highlighted the progress Türkiye has made in Open Science. A founding member of OpenAIRE and a partner in several Open Science projects, IZTECH continues to act as a bridge between Türkiye and the world of Open Science and integration with the EOSC, as well as spur the realization of critical OpenAIRE studies in Türkiye. 
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