Saturday, October 20, 2012

VOA3R 6th project meeting and Open Access Workshop


VOA3R Family Photo @ Cyprus
I had the opportunity to visit Cyprus for the first time during October 15-17, for the 6th project meeting of the VOA3R project. In addition, we have worked closely with George Adamides, the local host from Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) and we managed to organize a Workshop on "Open Access and Agricultural Repositories Workshop" right after the meeting, on October 18th, 2012.
The meeting was successful, since there was active participation and long discussions on pending issues, in order to make sure that everything will be on time, just 8 months before the end of the project.

Workshop participants working
on the VOA3R portal
The aim of the Workshop was to bring in touch stakeholders from Cyprus (researchers, students, practitioners etc. in the area of agriculture and agricultural research) in order to create and support a network, as well as to present the tools and services developed by related EU projects, like VOA3R and agINFRA, that could be used in order to facilitate the daily research work of the participants. It was rather successful, as it was attended by about 10 Cypriot stakeholders, mainly (if not all) researchers. I was facilitating the Workshop, making an introductory presentation and introducing each presenter before his presentation, which was really nice since all speakers were colleagues and friends of mine.
Imma Subirats from FAO/AIMS made a long but really interesting presentation about Open Access, which was followed by two case studies of Open Access repositories: The SLU Epsilon repository (presented by Urban Ericsson from SLU) and Organic Eprints (presented by Ilse Rasmussen from ICROFS), both based on Eprints software. Then there was a presentation of the repository tools used in Open Access repositories, like the AgriOcean DSpace (by Dirk Leinders from University of Hasselt) and Eprints (by Alejandro Engelmann from SLU). The following session was a hands-on session on the VOA3R portal, as a networking platform for researchers, practitioners and students in the agricultural context. For collecting the feedback we used both the online questionnaire as well as some additional focused ones provided by the UAH team. After a really interesting lunch break (I really loved the buffet lunch at Atlantica Miramare Hotel!), it was time for another interactive session, supported by the agINFRA project, which included a short presentation of the project and its expected outcomes as well as a discussion during which we tried to identify the needs of the participants as regards the tools, services and infrastructure used, barriers they face regarding the open access to content and other aspects. You may find additional information about the Workshop in my post in the FAO/AIMS website.

In general it was a fruitful workshop and I feel really grateful to the people who got involved in it and dedicated their time in order to prepare and present their presentations. I felt really glad that we had the opportunity to engage some stakeholders from Cyprus in such a discussion about Open Access and repositories and I really enjoyed the related discussions that we had with the brave ones who stayed until the end of the Workshop. I also hope that I will have the opportunity to visit Cyprus again in the near future, as due to the lack of time I did not have the opportunity to go around and see things!