In the early 2000s, when EIFL began working in Serbia, there were no institutional repositories and few Serbian journals were available online. The local scholarly community was divided between digitization enthusiasts and skeptics.
EIFL’s early work included supporting national and institutional open access awareness raising and advocacy workshops. Among these were the International Open Access Workshop in Belgrade in November 2003, and the Open Access Citation Indexes Seminar, also in Belgrade, in November 2005.
These events increased enthusiasm for open access and led to the launch of an open access journals portal at the National Library of Serbia in 2005. The National Library began assigning Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to journal articles, identifying them in the digital environment and making it possible to locate them on the internet.
In 2012 EIFL provided a grant for an advocacy campaign to promote open access at the University of Belgrade.
Knowledge and awareness about open access was improving at academic institutions across the country. There were four universities in Serbia with open access repositories. However, these repositories were not well used, and few PhD theses and dissertations were available in open access.
In 2013, EIFL partnered with KoBSON in a project to promote open access among young researchers, to increase the number of open access theses and dissertations in the four existing Serbian open access repositories, and to assign DOIs to PhD theses and dissertations, making them more discoverable by international aggregators and harvesters.
EIFL also supported open access, open research data and open science in Serbia through three European Union-funded projects: the FOSTER (Facilitating Open Science Training for European Research) project (2014–2019); the OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe) project (2009–2021) and the PASTEUR4OA (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) project (2014 - 2016).
- Organizing awareness-raising and advocacy events to promote the adoption of open access and open science policies and practices.
- Participating in policy development and drafting processes.
- Training faculty and researchers, including PhD and Masters, and librarians in open access and open science.
- Implementing a marketing campaign to promote open access among PhD students.
- Producing model documents (deposit agreements) for PhD authors to complete.
- Assigning DOIs to theses and dissertations by Serbian scholars.
2003 - Ongoing
Increased availability, visibility and discoverability of Serbian research
- Increased content in open access repositories, at University of Belgrade, University of Nis, University of Kragujevac and University of Novi Sad.
- Launched an open access portal of PhD theses and dissertations, DOISerbiaPhd.
- The national portal harvested content from the existing institutional repositories.
- Special workflows were developed to support the universities that did not have open access repositories.
- Content from DOISerbiaPhd was later included in the national open access repository, NaRDuS (the National Repository of Dissertations in Serbia), that was established in 2015).
- Assigned DOIs to theses and dissertations that were uploaded to DOISerbiaPhd.
- Serbian theses and dissertations are searchable on international open access portals such as DART Europe and OATD, and other open access aggregators such as OpenAIRE, BASE and CORE.
- DOIs have been widely adopted by the Serbian research community.
The knowledge and experience gained were embedded in national legislation and policies and led to the growth of open access and open science infrastructure:
- In September 2014 the Law on Higher Education was amended to establish a national open access repositories for Serbian theses and dissertations. This led to the launch of NaRDuS - the National Repository of Dissertations in Serbia. Under the amended law, all universities are obliged to deposit all theses and dissertations to the national repository.
- In July 2018 the Serbian Government adopted a national open science policy. The policy, titled The Open Science Platform, was introduced by the Ministry of Education Science and Technological Development (MESTD), the main funder for research in Serbia. It mandates open access to all publications resulting from publicly-funded research in Serbia, and stipulates that universities and research institutes should define and adapt their institutional open science policies and develop infrastructure to comply with the national policy. [See the policy in Serbian and in English.]
- The adoption of the national open science policy led to accelerated development of institutional repositories in Serbia. By 2023, about 80 institutions had repositories (there were fewer than 10 before July 2018).
Built an aware and knowledgeable open science community in Serbia
- Serbian academics, researchers and librarians from institutions across the country took part in awareness raising events and training.
- Advocacy, open access and open science training empowered KoBSON and librarians to take part in national legal and policy development processes.
- Inspired by EIFL’s webinar about Open Science Communities in March 2021, a group of open science enthusiasts established the Open Science Community Serbia, which is now part of the International Network of Open Science & Scholarship Communities (INOSC).
EIFL's support for open access publishing in Serbia.