Research data is becoming increasingly available and terms like ‘Open Access’ and ‘Open Science’ are used frequently. OpenAIRE supports Open Access in Europe, making data more accessible for research communities. The EU-funded EapConnect project supports these goals by planning activities to accelerate the engagement of Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. OpenAIRE, with which EaPConnect and the GÉANT organisation collaborate,  causes great interest in EaP countries and on 19 February 2021, an online workshop about OpenAIRE was organised by EaPConnect and partner AzScienceNet for researchers at the Institute of Information Technology of the Azerbaijanian National Academy of Sciences (IIT of ANAS).

The workshop brought together more than 70 participants. IIT of ANAS Director Rasim Alguliyev and EapConnect project manager Veronika Di Luna welcomed them, highlighting that collaboration between AzScienceNet and GÉANT – which coordinates the EaPConnect project – benefits the research and education community of Azerbaijan, and underlining the importance of the workshop for individual scientists and the scientific community.

Rasim Alguliyev, Director of IIT of ANAS, ©GÉANT
Veronika Di Luna, Project Manager at GÉANT, ©GÉANT

Joining GÉANT ‘s EaPConnect project has played an important role in the formation of AzScienceNet as a research and education network. In the second project phase, we are going to have high-quality content from the European research community, the next step of integrating into the European research and education community.”

Rasim Alguliyev, ANAS, Director

EapConnect be can be a vehicle to accelerate research and education in Azerbaijan. We need to accelerate the engagement of Azerbaijan with other infrastructures. I really urge IIT of ANAS colleagues to engage with OpenAIRE through the AzScienceNet series of workshops, to ensure that you benefit most from this infrastructure.”

Veronika Di Luna, GÉANT,  EaPConnect Project Manager

The participants heard detailed information about the OpenAIRE portal and activities, presented by Regional OpenAIRE Coordinator for the Eastern Region, Iryna Kuchma. She gave an overview of the OpenAIRE history, stages and partners. She noted that the OpenAIRE portal is an initiative supported by the European Commission and is aimed at developing Open Science in Europe to accelerate research and innovation. The portal has services for researchers, research communities, content providers, managers, scientific journals and repositories.  She also spoke about the features and advantages of the system, the wide range of opportunities offered to scientists and specialists. She introduced the OpenAIRE EXPLORE portal and gave information about how to find research materials and manage data. Through the website, participants gained information about the thematic portals and platform aggregators, repositories and content providers which OpenAIRE cooordinates.

At the end of online workshop, there was an extensive discussion. The participants expressed their interest towards OpenAIRE and emphasised the importance of the further workshops and webinars, which AzScienceNet is planning to provide soon.