15-19 March 2021
UTC timezone
Digital Transformation for Development

The Somali Research and Education Repository: motivations, status, perspectives, and opportunities

Not scheduled


Presentation Open Science and Open Access Poster Session


Mr Mohamed Ali Ahmed (Somali Research and Education Network (SomaliREN) - Somalia)


As many other countries in Africa, Somalia suffers from a gap with respect to other countries in the world for what concerns openness of research [1] and visibility of research outputs [2]. Research outputs produced by local universities and research institutions are not adequately showcased to interested communities and citizens outside academic institutions and this has negatively branded the local institutions as in-competent to produce any form of research contents. As an example, printed copies of students' theses and dissertations are usually archived inside the university and nobody is basically able to see them after the defending day.

In order to overcome this problem and bridge the above-mentioned gaps, the Somali National Research and Education Network (SomaliREN) [3], which gathers 20 universities and research institutions from all over the country [4], is developing a program based on three strategic pillars [5]: connectivity, community, and content. Under the latter, SomaliREN has launched an initiative to deploy a centralized open access multi-institutional digital repository, and the Somali Research and Education Repository (SORER) [6] has recently come online.

SORER has been installed in collaboration with experts from the University of Catania, Italy, and the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). It is a scalable, standard-based, FAIR principle [7] and Plan S [8] compliant repository meant to promote and enable the Open Science paradigm in the country. The digital asset management system (i) is based on Invenio [9] and Zenodo [10], with some add-ons developed by INFN, (ii) allows persistent identification of contents, through DataCite [11] digital object identifiers, for easy discovery and citation of research products stored as well as for a direct link to the ORCID [12] profiles of their authors, (iii) sports an OAI-PMH [13] compliant endpoint, for easy harvesting of metadata from aggregators and search engines, and (iv) supports federated authentication, for an easy configuration of the repository as a Service Provider of an Identity Federation.

In this contribution, we would like to share with all the participants the motivations that drove the creation of SORER for the uptake of Open Science practices in Somalia, its current status and future plans – towards the certification of the archive and the establishment of a national open access policy - as well as to discuss the opportunities of collaboration with universities/organizations belonging to the WACREN region willing/planning to install FAIR compliant digital repositories at their premises. Collaboration may include technical support for the deployment and/or training on administration/use of the repository.

[1] World map of Open Access policies, http://roarmap.eprints.org/dataviz2.html
[2] World scaled by number of documents published in Web of Science in 2017 with authors from each country, http://scholcommlab.ca/cartogram/
[3] https://somaliren.org/
[4] https://somaliren.org/current-members/
[5] https://somaliren.org/strategic-pillars/
[6] https://sorer.somaliren.org.so/
[7] http://www.go-fair.org/fair-principles/
[8] https://www.coalition-s.org/
[9] https://inveniosoftware.org/
[10] https://github.com/zenodo
[11] https://datacite.org/
[12] https://orcid.org/
[13] https://openarchives.org/pmh/

Primary authors

Mr Mohamed Ali Ahmed (Somali Research and Education Network (SomaliREN) - Somalia) Mr Ahmed Siyad (Somali Research and Education Network (SomaliREN) - Somalia) Mr Abdullahi Bihi Hussein (Somali Research and Education Network (SomaliREN) - Somalia) Prof. Roberto Barbera (University of Catania - Italy)

Presentation Materials