Qatar National Library Announces First Winners of Awards for Open Access

25 October 2020

Qatar National Library has announced the recipients of its inaugural Open Initiative Awards, rewarding the best contributions to the advancement of open scholarship in Qatar.

His Excellency Dr. Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, Minister of State, Qatar and President of Qatar National Library, revealed the winners at a virtual ceremony on 25 October. He also delivered a rousing keynote speech outlining the importance of the open access movement to the research community, as well as the vital role open access plays in knowledge acquisition and sharing in Qatar and across the world.

Open access is the practice of sharing knowledge openly and making research outcomes visible and accessible to all. The movement includes open access to research papers, open data, open education resources, open licenses and other applications of openness in scholarly and research environments. 

An esteemed panel of judges from the Library deliberated over dozens of applications received after the call went out to Qatar’s research community in August for nominations.

The Best Individual Award went to Dr. Julie Decock, a scientist at Cancer Research Center, QBRI-HBKU, and Assistant Professor at College of Health and Life Sciences, HBKU, for promoting open scholarship in Qatar through student mentorship and open access research at QBRI. 

Dr. Decock exhibited strong support of open scholarship and personally promoted open access through research tools, research data, software code and research manuscripts. She has been involved in QBRI's summer research program for undergraduate students program, offering laboratory-based hands-on experience, and has given several workshops on open scholarship.

The Best Institutional Award went to Bait Al-Mashura Journal. The journal is an open access, semi-annual refereed international scientific journal publishing research in the fields of Islamic economics. The journal is published by Bait Al-Mashura Finance Consultations, established in 2007 as the first Qatari firm to provide Shari’ah finance consultations.

Both award recipients gave presentations at the virtual Open Initiative Awards ceremony, outlining the importance of working with organizations such as the Library to spread research findings as widely as possible.

Dr. Al-Kawari said: The research that comes from Qatar is part of its heritage, and we believe that open scholarship and open access to information helps us preserve and share the nation's and region's heritage. By removing barriers to information, we can help the people of Qatar positively influence society by creating an advanced environment for learning and discovery. 

With this in mind, today we are delighted to announce the inaugural recipients of our Open Initiative Awards. These awards will become a key annual fixture for the Library as the movement grows in importance to researchers in Qatar and beyond. We are proud to support Qatar’s research through this key initiative at the Library.

The awards ceremony coincided with Open Access Week, a global event now entering its tenth year. The week offers the chance for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of open access, share what they’ve learned with colleagues and help inspire wider participation in helping to make open access the new normal in scholarship and research.

For more information on the awards, please visit