UNILIB Belgrade is a leader of the PR4 of the CeOS project from February to August 2023. Throughout this period, UNILIB assumed the crucial responsibility of conducting a comprehensive survey involving academic librarians from the Balkan region and Cyprus. The findings of this survey served as a foundation for creating an innovative Roadmap on CeOS in the Balkans.
The CeOS Multiplier Event at UNILIB Belgrade
The survey aimed to map the Open Science (OS) and Citizen Science (CS) landscape in the area, focusing on the knowledge level, practices, and policies, as well as the engagement with external stakeholders related to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). It’s important to note that the Balkan region in this context includes project countries (Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and exceptionally Cyprus), along with Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of North Macedonia, which are acting as associated partners. The survey results informed a landscape analysis that formed the basis of the first draft Roadmap on CeOS in the Balkans, which was presented at the first CeOS Multiplier Event held on June 12, 2023 in Belgrade. The number of the expected audience is prescribed by the CeOS project – 15 local and 12 international participants. Still, UNILIB hosted 61 participants from academic libraries in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, also from some public libraries as well as researchers, HEIs management, policy makers and other stakeholders related to OS and CS. All signatory institutions of the Letter of Intent were also present.
The Multiplier Event hosted by UNILIB aimed to strengthen synergies with stakeholders from Serbia and the wider Balkans region. The draft of the Roadmap for CeOS in the Balkans and the Multiplier Event provided a unique opportunity to share this important project result and invited participants to shape and refine it towards its final version during consultation on CeOS in the Balkan region. To that goal, before the event, a draft version of the document was posted on the UNILIB website, so that consultations and discussions during the event would be as efficient as possible.
Promoting OS and CS Initiatives
In addition to the presentation of the CeOS project results by the UNILIB CeOS team and consultations related to the draft Roadmap with all participants, examples of good practices related to OS and CS in Serbia were showcased at the Multiplier Event. Renowned experts, Dragana Stolić, PhD, from the University Library, and Obrad Vučkovac from the Institute of Nuclear Sciences in Vinča, presented ‘Open Science at the University of Belgrade’ and ‘The Significance of Open Data,’ respectively. Examples of good practices related to CS were presented to the participants through the lectures given by various experts:
- Mirko Đorđević, PhD, “Citizen Science in Biological Research” (Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, Belgrade)
- Jovana Bila Dubaić, Assistant Professor, “Citizens on the Wings of Bees: new opportunities for scientific research through Citizen Science” (University of Belgrade, Faculty of Biology)
- Branko Todorović and Dragan Obrenović, “The Grbovnik Project and the System for Discovering Lost Heraldic Manuscripts” (The Society of Serbian Genealogists “Poreklo”, Belgrade),
- Dobrivoje Lale Erić, “Experiences, Practices, and Institutional Support for Citizen Science Research” (The Center for the Promotion of Science, Belgrade)
- Selka Sadiković, Assistant Professor, and Ilija Milovanović, Assistant Professor, “Two Examples of Citizen Science Projects in Psychological Research” (STAR Center of Excellence for Behavioral Research in Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad)
Collaboration for Advancing CS Projects
In the discussion following these lectures, the participants presented ideas for cooperation with institutions actively engaged in CS projects. The initiative of the Ministry of Science on financing sustainable projects related to CS was also announced. Cooperation between UNILIB and institutions from which examples of CS good practice come from has been agreed, to present their projects to other libraries and their end users – citizens as well as utilising UNILIB digital collections and resources to create new CS projects. The Multiplier Event was very successful, and information about it was shared on UNILIB’s social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to reach users who couldn’t attend the event in person. A recording of the entire Multiplier Event is also available on UNILIB’s YouTube channel in Serbian.
Gratitude and Acknowledgments
The UNILIB CeOS team would like to express gratitude to all the participants of the Multiplier Event for the fruitful discussion and comments related to the refinement of the Roadmap, as well as all CeOS project partners for the corrections and suggestions related to the addition and correction of data in the draft version of the Roadmap. With such collegial cooperation of all actors, the UNILIB team successfully shaped the final text of the Roadmap for CeOS in the Balkans.
Authors: Aleksandra Trtovac, PhD, and Nataša Dakić, PhD, UNILIB