EIFL – in association with the University of Mandalay, the University of Yangon and Yadanabon University – ran a series of seminars in February on 'Open access: How to maximise the impact, efficiency and availability of your research' as part of the EIFL eLibrary Myanmar project.
Over 200 participants – Rectors, Pro-Rectors, Heads of Departments, Senior Faculty Members, Librarians and PhD Students – gathered to discuss how open access can help to disseminate research results in the most efficient way, and also to maximise the visibility, usage and impact of universities’ research publications.
As a result of the seminars University of Mandalay is setting up an open access working group to develop an open access repository and draft an open access policy. And University of Yangon faculty and management have also expressed interest and commitment to develop institutional open access strategy and policy.
Over 260 master and PhD students participated in follow-up hands-on sessions on open access resources for Politics/International Relations, Law and History at the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR YADANABON UNIVERSITY
For Professor Dr. Khin Maung Oo, Rector of Yadanabon University, the seminars mark an opportunity for higher education institutions in Myanmar to help shape the human resources for the country.
“The latest advances in ICT have made circumstances more conducive for the universities to adopt new approaches to teaching, research and learning process of students,” says Professor Dr. Khin Maung Oo, speaking at the EIFL seminar at Yadanabon University on February 18, 2015.
“The seminar will fulfill the research skills and will address the impact of research publications, establishing new contacts and partnerships for Yadanabon University, and will help to create a complete record of our research publications in an easily accessible form,” he continued.
Yadanabon University – a public liberal arts and sciences university in Mandalay – celebrated its 15th anniversary at the end of February and the launch of eLibrary (yadanabonuniversity.com/2015-02-02-04-14-16/e-library) was a part of celebrations.
The university offers bachelor's and master's degree programmes and has 21 departments, over 800 faculty members and over 19,000 students. It publishes annually 'The Yadanabon University Research Journal' (23 articles per issue), which is hardly available outside the country. Open access to the journal articles will help to greatly enhance their global visibility and impact.
Like in other universities in the country, the submission of soft copies of theses and dissertations is mandatory and Yadanabon University would like to make them openly available.
Open access will help in implementing the university’s vision – to create an education system that can generate a learning society capable of facing the challenge of the knowledge age. See the university’s photo report about the seminar here: (yadanabonuniversity.com/news/235-seminar-on-open-access-how-to-maximise-the-impact-efficiency-and-availability-of-your-research) Seminar on Open Access: How to Maximise the Impact, Efficiency and Availability of Your Research.
UNIVERSITY OF MANDALAY SETS UP AN OPEN ACCESS WORKING GROUP
The University of Mandalay (1958) is the only university in Upper Myanmar which offers Doctor of Philosophy Programmes (PhD).
Located in the second largest city and the old capital of the last Myanmar Kingdom, it offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on Social Sciences and Humanities as well as Sciences.
A new Research Complex has started running in November 2013 which is equipped with sophisticated instruments and consists of laboratories for Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology and Geography.
After attending the seminar on February 19, Professor Dr. Thida Win, Pro-rector of the University of Mandalay, plans to set up an Open Access Working Group to develop an open access institutional repository and to draft an open access policy.
Over 1,000 PhD theses, over 200 research papers from the Mandalay University Research Journal and the Mandalay University of Distance Education Research Journal, as well as faculties' research papers from the Universities’ Research Journal (a national journal published by the Government of The Republic of the Union of Myanmar Ministry of Education) and selected proceedings from the Weekly Research Seminar will form the initial content of the open access repository.
UNIVERSITY OF YANGON AND DAGON UNIVERSITY EXPRESS COMMITMENT TO OPEN ACCESS
Rectors and Pro-rectors of the University of Yangon and Dagon University also expressed commitment to develop institutional open access policies and strategies during the EIFL seminar at the University of Yangon (on February 24, 2015 for representatives of the University of Yangon, the Yangon University of Economics, Dagon University, West Yangon University and East Yangon University).
Established in 1920, the University of Yangon is the oldest and most well-known university in Myanmar.
Universities’ Research Centre – a multidisciplinary research laboratory established in 1985 and headed by a Pro-Rector – assists and fosters research activities in Universities, colleges and institutes of higher education (research works leading to MSc, MRes, PhD degrees and departmental projects).
It also provides research assistance/services to private enterprises and government organizations seeking modern technology. In addition, it fosters and promotes effective multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research with emphasis on the economic development. Embedding open access in the Universities’ Research Centre’s activities will enhance its impact worldwide.
Together with Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS) the University of Yangon co-established the Asia Research Centre at the University of Yangon in August 2002 (a second MoU was signed in June 2013 after the new government took office in the country in April 2011). The Centre’s objective is to provide research grants and academic support to Myanmar scholars carrying out quality research.
The Asia Research Centre publishes 'The Journal of the Asia Research Center, Yangon University'. Each issue includes 12 papers resulting from outstanding research projects in Arts and Social Sciences conducted by the academic departments of the University of Yangon.
Professor Dr. Aung Thu, Rector of the University of Yangon, sees the content of this journal as the first open access research collection of the university.
Universities can learn from the practice of non-profit organizations in the country managing their document repositories e.g. from Spectrum – Sustainable Development Knowledge Network founded in 2007 during the early phases of Myanmar's transition – that has a managed document repository hosted by KnowledgeArc. The Union Parliament of Myanmar also uses DSpace – a free and open source repository application – for its document repository.
Open access developments in the country go together with the reform in higher education.
Stay tuned for more news and updates about open access developments in Myanmar.