Empowering Open Science Capacity in Arabic-Speaking Countries: The Open Innovation Platform

31 Jul 2023 (modified: 01 Aug 2023)InvestinOpen 2023 OI Fund SubmissionEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Funding Area: Capacity building / Construcción de capacidad
Problem Statement: The proposed work addresses the urgent need for open science education in Arabic-speaking countries, where resources are scarce. The Open Science community in Saudi Arabia (OSCSA) provides cost-free training to local Arab communities and institutions like sFDA, King Faisal University, and KAU-SH University, curating materials from Carpentries and Turing Way over the past 2 years. Limited human power restricts scaling efforts, prompting the development of the "Open Innovation" platform 8 months ago. This bilingual platform equips learners with open license and source skills like GitHub, pre-registration, and decentralized science, fostering open science principles. The platform empowers Arabic-speaking individuals with cost-free training, targeting Researchers, Academics, Educators, and Scientific Institutions, promoting openness, collaboration, and transparency. MOOCs transcend barriers, providing high-quality education to diverse learners, offering self-paced learning for busy researchers and professionals
Proposed Activities: The proposed work centers on leveraging the scalability of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to address the pressing need for open science education in Arabic-speaking countries. Unlike traditional workshops that face limitations in physical space and instructor availability, MOOCs can accommodate a vast number of learners simultaneously, facilitating wider adoption of open science practices. Additionally, MOOCs generate valuable data on learner engagement and performance, allowing for continuous improvement of content and delivery, enhancing the overall learning experience. Over the past 8 months, our dedicated team has been diligently developing both the back-end and front-end of the MOOCs platform to support RTL languages. However, crucial elements are yet to be completed, including documentation migration, module development, localization efforts, and the creation of a user-friendly administrative page. Regarding documentation migration, we aim to migrate the existing documentation to the Quarto platform, streamlining organization and localization. Our technical experts, Richie and Sandy, are well-versed in the Quarto platform, ensuring a smooth migration process. To further enrich the platform's offerings, we plan to curate and develop three essential modules in Arabic, introducing learners to open science topics like open licensing, open source skills, research objects, pre-registration, and decentralized science. Additionally, we recognize the significance of localization in catering to diverse Arabic-speaking countries. Our team of native Arabic speakers, well-versed in open science and localization, will ensure accurate and culturally contextualized translations of documentation, materials, and the user interface. Finally, we seek to empower contributors with no coding experience by developing a user-friendly administrative page, enabling easy content uploading and co-creation. Our experienced web developers, Richie and Sandy, will utilize their expertise in platform development and usability principles to ensure a seamless user experience. The estimated budget for these activities over four months is $8,200. By addressing these essential aspects and leveraging our team's skills, capacity, and knowledge, we aim to successfully launch the "Open Innovation" platform. The ongoing work can be accessed here: https://github.com/Open-Science-Community-Saudi-Arabia/MOOCs
Openness: The proposed work fully embraces openness through various open practices: 1. **Open Source Technologies**: The entire infrastructure is developed using open-source technologies, like React for the frontend, NodeJS, and ExpressJS for the backend, and MongoDB for the non-relational database. These open source technologies promote transparency and collaboration. 2. **Open Licensing**: The work is hosted on GitHub under the CC-BY license, allowing reuse, sharing, and adaptation of content, ensuring open access to platform resources. 3. **Comprehensive Documentation**: The platform's comprehensive documentation at https://moocs-documentation.netlify.app/ fosters transparency and community involvement by enabling understanding and contributions. 4. **Community Engagement**: With 12 contributors already involved, the project demonstrates a commitment to building an open and collaborative community with diverse perspectives and expertise. 5. **Knowledge Sharing**: By presenting project achievements and progress in conferences, the plan promotes open sharing of project output to a wider audience, showcasing its impact and potential
Challenges: The two main challenges that may arise for the proposed work: 1. **Resource Constraints**: Limited financial resources could hinder the timely completion of activities. Insufficient funding may lead to delays in paying developers, localization efforts, and other essential tasks, potentially affecting the project's overall timeline. 2. **Sustainability**: Ensuring the platform's long-term relevance and functionality requires a sustainable plan. Identifying reliable funding sources and strategies for platform maintenance and continuous improvement is crucial to ensure its lasting impact.
Neglectedness: To the best of our knowledge, there is currently no specific support available for localization efforts for this type of work. Additionally, over the last year, funding for capacity building in our field has been limited, making it challenging to secure sufficient resources for our project. However, it is worth noting that initially, Sandy and Richie were Outreachy interns funded by Outreachy, which provided essential support during their internship period. After the internship ended, they remained committed to the platform's development. The funding we are seeking through this application is intended to help them continue and sustain their work on the platform, ensuring its progress and impact in promoting open science education.
Success: The short-term success of the proposed work is measured by successfully launching the platform by Feb/March 2024. Beyond the launch, the long-term success of the initiative can be evaluated using the following key metrics: 1. **User Engagement**: Tracking the number of active users, course enrollments, and completion rates over time will gauge the platform's ongoing appeal and effectiveness in attracting and retaining learners. 2. **Community Growth**: Monitoring the growth of the community in terms of contributors, partners, and institutions involved will demonstrate the platform's ability to foster collaboration and engagement within the open science community. 3. **Localization Reach**: Assessing the extent of localization achieved and the number of Arabic-speaking countries benefiting from the platform's content will showcase its impact and accessibility across different regions. 4. **Feedback**: Gathering feedback from learners, educators, and contributors about their satisfaction with the platform's content, usability, and impact will provide valuable insights for continuous improvement and refinement. 5. **Long-Term Sustainability**: Ensuring that the platform receives continued funding and support beyond the initial phase will indicate its long-term viability and success in delivering open science education to Arabic-speaking countries
Total Budget: 8,200
Budget File: pdf
Affiliations: Alan Turing Institute: Batool is affiliated with the Alan Turing Institute. Richie and Sandy are not currently affiliated with any institution, and this proposed work aims to support and sustain their contributions to the project.
LMIE Carveout: While two of our team includes members from Saudi Arabia, which is classified as a high-income economy, the primary focus of your project is on serving Arabic-speaking countries, many of which fall within the LMIEs category. The targeted community for the platform's outreach and adoption consists of learners, educators, and researchers from diverse Arabic-speaking countries that meet the LMIE criteria. Furthermore, the main developers of the platform, Sandy and Richie, are from Nigeria, which is classified as an LMIE. Their involvement and contributions to the project reinforce its alignment with the goal of addressing disproportionate barriers faced by individuals in LMIEs, and promoting equitable access to resources.
Team Skills: Open Science Community Saudi Arabia (OSCSA) has been incubated by the Open Life Science Program, which has equipped us with essential expertise in open science practices and community-building. Several members of our team are certified Carpentries instructors, enabling us to deliver high-quality Carpentries workshops to various institutions in Saudi Arabia. These workshops have been well-received and have contributed to building a strong foundation for open science education in the region. Our strategic partnership with the Forum for Open Research in MENA (FORM) further amplifies our impact, as FORM shares our mission to promote open science in Arabic-speaking countries. Crucially, our team includes two talented developers with expertise in a wide range of technologies, such as back-end and front-end development. Their skills are instrumental in the successful implementation and continuous improvement of the platform. Beyond technical expertise, our team members bring valuable lived experiences and a deep understanding of the specific needs and challenges faced by learners, educators, and researchers in Arabic-speaking countries
How Did You Hear About This Call: Word of mouth (e.g. conversations and emails from IOI staff, friends, colleagues, etc.) / Boca a boca (por ejemplo, conversaciones y correos electrónicos del personal del IOI, amigos, colegas, etc.)
Submission Number: 142