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Albania

Creating a Database for Archiving and Publication of Research Funds and Programs in Albania (AL0049)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Albania Third Action Plan 2016 – 2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status:

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Education and Sport

Support Institution(s): Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation; IDM

Policy Areas

E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information, Science & Technology

IRM Review

IRM Report: Albania End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Albania Progress Report 2016-2018

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Yes

Ambition (see definition): High

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The Albanian government will be committed to maximizing access to information related to researches funded by public and private funds to promote greater cooperation between the scientific community, public institutions and private sector. Activities proposed in this context are the following: - Development, adoption and promotion of open standards for science in Albania. - Completion of legislation through a bylaw to enable one-stop search for publications and data resulting from scientific work undertaken by the Albanian institutions and researchers (supported by albanian and other funding resources). Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment In Albania there is few cooperation (or nonexistent) between the scientific community and the private sector and the scientific community and public institutions about policy-making based on evidence. One of the main negative consequences is the lack of research’s results produced in Albania. Currently, there are a number of programs in the country (with public funds or donor’s funds) that support research. But the lack of a unique portal, which should contain all research deliverables and calls, hinders the development of this cooperation. Main Objective The Albanian Government is committed to maximize access to research financed by public and non-public funds to promote greater cooperation between the scientific community, public and private sector institutions. Activities proposed: - The development, adoption and promotion of standards for Open Science in Albania. - Creation of an online service to provide one stop search for publications and data resulting from scientific work undertaken by the Albanian institutions and researchers (supported by Albanian funding or others)

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Scientific research database

Commitment Text:

Title: Creating a database for archiving and publication of research funds and programs in Albania

In Albania there is few cooperation (or nonexistent) between the scientific community and the private sector and the scientific community and public institutions about policy-making based on evidence. One of the main negative consequences is the lack of research’s results produced in Albania. Currently, there are a number of programs in the country (with public funds or donor’s funds) that support research. But the lack of a unique portal, which should contain all research deliverables and calls, hinders the development of this cooperation.

The Albanian government will be committed to maximizing access to information related to researches funded by public and private funds to promote greater cooperation between the scientific community, public institutions and private sector. Activities proposed in this context are the following:

- Development, adoption and promotion of open standards for science in Albania.

- Completion of legislation through a bylaw to enable one-stop search for publications and data resulting from scientific work undertaken by the Albanian institutions and researchers (supported by Albanian and other funding resources).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Education and Sport

Supporting institutions: Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (ARTI); Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM)

Start date: 2016 End date: 2018

Context and Objectives

According to the UNESCO Country Programming Document, science in Albania is in need of development.[Note78: UNESCO Country Programming, http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002330/233036E.pdf. ] There is a lack of cooperation among the scientific community (i.e. private sector and public institutions) regarding science-based policy decisions in Albania. A negative consequence of limited cooperation is that research produced in Albania rarely impacts policy making. Evidence-based policy making, on the other hand, relies on active involvement of informed stakeholders, quality of research and open access to research products.

In the past year, some initiatives focusing on open science and creation of databases with applied and scientific research data have taken place. These initiatives include the European Union research innovation program 'Horizon 2020,' to build capacity and increase investment in research.[Note79: EC report, https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/.
sites/near/files/pdf/key_documents/2016/20161109_report_albania.pdf. ]
Another initiative is the 'South-Eastern European Data Services,' which aims to establish new data services to curate and preserve digital social science data and make these available free of charge to the research community for secondary analyses.[Note80: South-Eastern European Data Services, http://seedsproject.ch/?page_id=2. ] Another initiative is the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) working group on open science with western Balkan countries.[Note81: RCC program on Skills and mobility, http://www.rcc.int/flagships/3/skills-and-mobility and workshop on 'Researcher mobility and open science contributing to research excellence' http://www.rcc.int/news/203/researcher-mobility-and-open-science-contributing-to-research-excellence. ]

The purpose of these initiatives and this commitment is to bring Albania closer to European standards of open science.[Note82: Specifically EC recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information (2012, https://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/document_library/pdf_06/recommendation-access-and-preservation-scientific-information_en.pdf. ] A 2015 assesment carried out by the Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP) and the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) on evidence-based designing of social programs found a discrepancy between evidence and policies, with regards to timing, budgeting and content. Additionally the report identifies some serious concerns, including the accuracy of data produced by different actors and the difficulty in translating programs’ evidence and their implementation on the ground.[Note83: Report on the Roundtable 'Use of Scientific Evidence in Designing Social Protection Policies in Albania' (March 2015), http://idmalbania.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Evidence-based-Policymaking-Roundtable_report.pdf.]

Despite the number of domestic programs and multilateral initiatives, Albania still lacks a unique portal, which should contain all research deliverables and calls. This hinders cooperation among the scientific community and policy-influencing institutions. This commitment aims to foster a culture of evidence-based policies by engaging research resources, sharing research deliverables, and thereby developing better policies. Furthermore, it encourages trilateral (public-civic-private) cooperation for efficient policies and promotes scientific research standards. This commitment aims to achieve its objective through the completion of two steps: the first is to develop, adopt, and promote open standards for science. The second is to establish legislation to enable a one-stop search portal for scientific data and publications, and subsequently to create the portal. Both activities are clear and verifiable, and the overall commitment is considered to be highly specific.

If fully implemented, this commitment would have a moderate impact on the research capacities and quality in Albania, the evidence-based policy making, and efficient policy implementation. By establishing open science standards and enabling the development of a one-stop portal for publications and data, Albania is taking an important step forward in strengthening research capabilities and output. However, for a potentially transformative impact, more needs to be done in order to increase the quality and integrity of research by public and private academic and civil society (think tanks) stakeholders.

Finally, this commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information and technology and innovation because it creates an aggregated portal for stakeholders to access all the scientific research undertaken by Albanian institutions and researchers.

Completion

Based on the Law 'On higher education and scientific research' and the August 2016 Council of Ministers decision,[Note84: Council of Ministers, http://www.kryeministria.al/al/newsroom/vkm/vendime-te-miratuara-ne-mbledhjen-e-keshillit-te-ministrave-date-31-gusht-2016 ] 'On the establishment, composition and functioning of the National Agency of Scientific Research and Innovation,' the Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (AKTI) was renamed as 'National Agency of Scientific Research and Innovation' (NASRI) and transferred under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Sports. Over the past year, the transformed AKTI has faced serious challenges in terms of human resources and infrastructure, thus making it difficult to perform its duties.[Note85: Interviews with former and current officials of (former) AKTI during 2016/2017.]

Additionally, while the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) is listed as a supporting institution, the IDM had no involvement in this commitment. The government thought that the CSO proposing the commitment would also be in charge of its implementation. While no official information has been offered to the IRM researcher on the progress of this commitment, additional investigation could also not track any progress in implementing either of the milestones.

Next Steps

As planned under the current action plan, this commitment intended to create the necessary legal and institutional framework for a national database of scientific and applied research data, as well as to launch the actual portal. However, additional work needs to be done to substantively develop a functional portal, which should be a follow up for this commitment.

Re-design of this commitment needs to start from the responsible authority, given the recent changes and competences of (now) NASRI. Rather than relying on foreign donors’ projects, the Ministry of Education and NASRI must act on adopting the legal and policy documents for open science in accordance with the European Commission (EC) 2012 recommendation, which entails the inclusion of an institutional framework that will enable an online database on scientific and applied research datasets produced in Albania. Furthermore, the commitment needs to identify and seek the cooperation and involvement of relevant institutions, such as universities, think tanks, associations of business who conduct research, etc.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

6. Scientific research database

Commitment Text:

Title: Creating a database for archiving and publication of research funds and programs in Albania

In Albania there is few cooperation (or nonexistent) between the scientific community and the private sector and the scientific community and public institutions about policy-making based on evidence. One of the main negative consequences is the lack of research’s results produced in Albania. Currently, there are a number of programs in the country (with public funds or donor’s funds) that support research. But the lack of a unique portal, which should contain all research deliverables and calls, hinders the development of this cooperation.

The Albanian government will be committed to maximizing access to information related to researches funded by public and private funds to promote greater cooperation between the scientific community, public institutions and private sector. Activities proposed in this context are the following:

- Development, adoption and promotion of open standards for science in Albania.

- Completion of legislation through a bylaw to enable one-stop search for publications and data resulting from scientific work undertaken by the Albanian institutions and researchers (supported by Albanian and other funding resources).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Education and Sport

Supporting institution(s): Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (ARTI); Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM)

Start date: 2016 End date: December 2017

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to foster a culture of evidence-based policies by engaging research resources and sharing research deliverables on a unique website. It expected to achieve its objective through the completion of two steps: the first was to develop, adopt, and promote open standards for science; the second was to establish legislation to enable a one-stop search portal for scientific data and publications, and subsequently to create the portal.

Status

Midterm: Not Started

This commitment was not started at the midterm. Based on the Law “On higher education and scientific research” and the Council of Ministers Decision [35] “On the establishment, composition and functioning of the National Agency of Scientific Research and Innovation” from August 2016, the Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (AKTI) was renamed as National Agency of Scientific Research and Innovation (NASRI) and transferred under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Sports. The new agency faced serious challenges in terms of human resources and infrastructure, thus making it difficult to perform its duties. [36]

While the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) is listed as a supporting institution, it had no involvement in this commitment.

End of term: Limited

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has reported making progress in setting up the regulatory framework for the quality assessment of scientific research with the approval of the Decision of the Council of Ministers (DCM) no. 165, dated 21 March 2018. [37] This decision explains the methodology for assessing the scientific research activities of the core units of higher education institutions and defining the evaluation criteria. However, in order for this procedure to be implemented, it must be complemented by two measures envisaged in the DCM: determining the algorithmic pointing system and setting up the Albanian Scientific Research Information System (ACRIS) to serve as a national database. [38]

The Ministry also reported setting up of a platform for the Digital University Library (ulibrary.rash.al) as part of the University Pact. As of early 2019, the Platform offers access to students and staff of public higher education institutions to research work of other such education institutions. Steps are also being taken to create a digitized dissertation database that will establish anti-plagiarism software to implement DCM no. 777, dated 26 December 2018, 'On anti-plagiarism of dissertations for the acquisition of scientific degrees'. [39] [40]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

This commitment’s implementation was limited so no change can be attributed to it in terms of access to information.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report, the next action plan was not available. If this issue were to be prioritized in future action plans, the Ministry of Education and NASRI could act on adopting the legal and policy documents for open science in accordance with the European Commission 2012 recommendation, which entails the inclusion of an institutional framework that will enable an online database on scientific and applied research datasets produced in Albania. Furthermore, a commitment in this area would need to entail involvement of relevant institutions, such as universities, think tanks, and associations of business who conduct research, among others.

[35] Council of Ministers, http://www.kryeministria.al/al/newsroom/vkm/vendime-te-miratuara-ne-mbledhjen-e-keshillit-te-ministrave-date-31-gusht-2016

[36] IRM Albania Progress Report 2016-2017, page 53, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/Albania_Mid-Term_2016-2018_EN_for-pub-comm.pdf

[37] DCM available at the Government’s portal http://www1.kryeministria.al/newsroom/vendime-te-miratuara-ne-mbledhjen-e-keshillit-te-ministrave-date-21-mars-2018/

[38] Information provided by the Ministry of Education, youth and sports during the pre-publication commenting period (July 2019).

[39] DCM available at Government’s portal http://www1.kryeministria.al/newsroom/vendime-te-miratuara-ne-mbledhjen-e-keshillit-te-ministrave-date-26-dhjetor-2018/

[40] Information provided by the Ministry of Education, youth and sports during the pre-publication commenting period (July 2019).


Commitments

Open Government Partnership