Open Access in North Macedonia

By Liladhar R. Pendse, University of California-Berkeley (Lpendse@library.berkeley.edu)

ESS Newsletter

2021, Vol. 1


Introduction

In 2019, a country formerly known as Macedonia agreed to change its name to North Macedonia. Since 1991, North Macedonia has continued to develop its open access infrastructure. This article provides a general overview of Open Access (OA) in North Macedonia (xn).1There are several abbreviations of North Macedonia. These vary from earlier FYROM-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or MK by the International Standards Organization. However, for this article, the Library of Congress’ code, “xn” was used.

North Macedonia is located in Southeastern Europe. Macedonia is the name of a geographical region, and some have defined this region as a peripheral region of the Balkans even though it encompasses today’s nation-states of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia.2Gingeras, Ryan. “Between the Cracks: Macedonia and the ‘Mental Map’ of Europe.” Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne Des Slavistes, vol. 50, no. 3/4, 2008, pp. 341–358. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40871305. Accessed 24 Mar. 2021. While a detailed discussion of the history and complicated political trajectory of North Macedonia and its often turbulent relationship with its neighbors is beyond the scope of this article, it is sufficient to note that it was after 1945 and until 1991, a constituent part of the Yugoslav Federation.3Dimova, Rozita. “Materialities of Displacement: Borders in Contemporary Macedonia.” The Political Materialities of Borders: New Theoretical Directions, by Olga Demetriou and Rozita Dimova, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2019, pp. 116–131. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv18b5m0p.15. Accessed 25 Mar. 2021.4Horncastle, James. The Macedonian Slavs in the Greek Civil War, 1944-1949. Lanham, Maryland : Lexington Books , 2019. Below, in Image 1, is the Republic of Northern Macedonia map that the United Nations Cartographer’s office created.

Image one: Map of North Macedonia, including cities, airports, and highways. The name of the country is listed as the "Republic of Northern Macedonia" on the map.

Image 1: Map of North Macedonia5United Nations Cartographic Department, United Nations, Aug. 2020, www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/macedonia.pdf.

The development of OA in North Macedonia

The development of OA in North Macedonia was delayed in comparison to other former Yugoslav republics. One can understand this delay by analyzing the North Macedonian OA journals indexed in the DOAJ.  The official policy related to the text of the Protocol on Open Access Research in the Western Balkans (текстот на Протоколот за отворен пристап до истражувачката инфраструктура во Западен Балкан) was approved only on November 3, 2020.6Утврден текстот на протоколот за отворен ПРИСТАП до ИСТРАЖУВАЧКАТА Инфраструктура Во Западен балкан. (2020, November 3). Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://mia.mk/utvrden-tekstot-na-protokolot-za-otvoren-pristap-do-istrazhuvachkata-infrastruktura-vo-zapaden-balkan/ Thus the publication timeline of OA journals in Northern Macedonia can explain the arc of OA development.

To gather the data on the chronology of OA journals, I used the following resources. One readily available resource is the Directory of the Open Access Journals (DOAJ). At the time of writing this article, the DOAJ boasted 16,067 indexed journals from all over the world.7“Directory of Open Access Journals.” Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), doaj.org/search/journals?source=%7B%22query%22%3A%7B%22match_all%22%3A%7B%7D%7D%2C%22size%22%3A50%2C%22sort%22%3A%5B%7B%22created_date%22%3A%7B%22order%22%3A%22desc%22%7D%7D%5D%7D. Image 2, below, shows that in March of 2021, there were fourteen journals from Northern Macedonia that are indexed in the DOAJ. These journals represent 0.08 percent of the total OA journals in DOAJ.

Image 2: a screen shot of the DOAJ showing 14 index journals.

Image 2: North Macedonian OA journals in the DOAJ.

The earliest North Macedonian journal indexed in DOAJ is the Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation (JESR). JESR was added on January 19, 2010. The newest indexed journal is Bezbednosni Dijalozi / Security Dialogues. It was indexed in the DOAJ on March 24, 2021. I analyzed all of these fourteen journals by the dates they were indexed in the DOAJ. Image 3, below, shows the trajectory of the North Macedonian OA journal indexing in the DOAJ.

Image 3: a graph showing the trajectory of North Macedonian OA Journals

Image 3: The trajectory of North Macedonian OA journals (n=14) indexed in the DOAJ by date.

We can deduce that the evolution of the OA journals as they were indexed in the DOAJ was gradual and protracted over eleven years (from 2010-2021). The subject analysis of these journal titles provides the following distribution (see Image 4, below).

Image 4: sideways bar chart showing the subject distribution of OA in North Macedonia.

Image 4: Distribution of North Macedonian Journals by Subject

The distribution by subject for North Macedonian shows a 50-50 split between the OA journals that fall within the general sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences.

OpenDOAR

The following tool that we have to assess OA infrastructure development is to examine the presence of Open Access digital repositories in North Macedonia. To this end, I used the data from the OpenDOAR. As of March 2021, in OpenDoar, as shown in Image 5, below, North Macedonia is still referred to as Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic).

Image 5: A screenshot of OpenDOAR with a list of countries, with North Macedonia highlighted.

Image 5: The screenshot of OpenDOAR page showing North Macedonia as Macedonia (the former Yugoslav Republic of).

There are five OA digital repositories in the database, out of which four belong to academic institutions. And on is of the National Digital Library of Macedonia. The dates by which these were indexed and their accessibility are shown below in Table 1.

Name of the RepositoryDate of Addition in OpenDOARContent TypePlatformAccessibleWebsite Address
UGD Academic Repository9/9/2013Journal ArticlesePrintsNot accessible on 3/37/2021http://eprints.ugd.edu.mk/
Digital Library of Macedonia3/19/2015  Books, Chapters and Sections Other Special Item TypesDSpaceYes, 3/27/21http://www.dlib.mk/
FIKT Repository9/2/2016Journal Articles, Bibliographic ReferencesePrintsNo, 3/37/21http://eprints.fikt.edu.mk/
Repository of SS Cyril & Methodius University in Skopje1/2/2019  Journal Articles Conference and Workshop Papers Theses and Dissertations Reports and Working Papers Books, Chapters, and SectionsDSpaceYes, 3/27/21https://repository.ukim.mk/
UKLO repository4/5/2019Journal Articles Bibliographic References Conference and Workshop Papers Theses and Dissertations Reports and Working Papers Books, Chapters, and SectionsePrintsYes, 3/27/21http://eprints.uklo.edu.mk/

Table 1: North Macedonian OA depositories in OpenDOAR

At the time of writing this article, two of five OA repositories were inaccessible. The earliest repository was that of the Goce Delcev University. However, it was not accessible at the time of writing this article in March 2021.

The Digital Library of Macedonia8The title of the Digital Library of Macedonia has remained unchanged despite the change in the country’s name to North Macedonia.

It is part of the National and University Library “St. Kliment Ohridski,” and it is hosted on the DLib platform.  It provides access to the digital collections of manuscripts, early printed books, music scores, maps, audiobooks, and a separate section of digitized Italian manuscripts and books. These are part of a project named,  “La Biblioteca digitale italiana in Macedonia del Nord.” Below is the landing page of the Digital Library of Macedonia (see Image 6, below).

Image 6: a screenshot of the landing page of the Digital Library of Macedonia

Image 6: The Landing Page of the Digital Library of Macedonia

The library provides access to early printed books and Slavic manuscripts. One note that the use of Macedonian as the language of these books is purposefully avoided as Macedonian as there are multiple views on the status of Macedonian as a separate language and its relationship to both the Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian languages. The discussion of linguistic relationships is beyond the scope of this article.9Lunt, Horace G. A Grammar of the Macedonian Literary Language. Skopje: s.n., 1952. Print. Eighty-nine individual early printed books have been digitized.

A screenshot of digitized books in the Macedonian Digital Library

Image 7: The digitized early book in the Macedonian Digital Library

The Digital Library of Macedonia thus serves as an aggregator of digital information on Macedonia from the National and University library collections. However, the Slavonic manuscripts component of the Digital Library of Macedonia was inaccessible.10“Старословенски Ракописи.” Dlib.mk Почетна, www.dlib.mk/handle/68275/2. On March 29, 2021, sites like that of the Virtual Library of Macedonia (vbm.mk) and Slavic Manuscripts component of the National Library of Macedonia were not accessible (http://staroslovenski.nubsk.edu.mk/).

UKLO Repository

UKLO Repository is the institutional repository of the “St. Kliment Ohridski” University in Bitola. I have used it here as an example of the repository of an academic library. Below, in Image 8, is a screenshot of the landing page showing different aggregated resources.

Image 8: a screenshot of the landing page of the UKLO Repository

Image 8: The Landing Page of the UKLO Repository.

The UKLO database allows its users to browse the contents by the years of publication, by subjects, by division (Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, and Technology, Humanities, etc.), and by authors. One feature that this repository lacks is the search functionality of the items by the dates of deposit.  I believe this could have helped us assess the evolution of the rate by which OA items were deposited in this repository. However, if one clicks on individual items, one can see the date of deposit. In some cases, these are not pre-prints, and the creator of the items, i.e., the author, is not the depositor, as shown in Image 9, below.

Image 9: a screenshot of a record in the UKLO repository. The article is called "Greet-Turkish Relations, UE and Migration Problem."

Image 9: A screenshot of the individual record in the UKLO repository

NOSCI.mk (National Open Science Cloud Initiative)

National Initiative for Open Science in Europe (NI4OS), by its self-description, aims to be a core contributor to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) service portfolio, commit to EOSC governance and ensure inclusiveness on the European level for enabling global Open Science.11Project NI4OS. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2021, from https://ni4os.eu/overview/ The European Union sponsors this initiative, and the map of its stakeholders is in Image 10, below.

Image 10: a screenshot of the National Initiative for Open Science in Europe’s landing page.

Image 10: National Initiative for Open Science in Europe’s landing page.

One of the goals of this European Union-sponsored Open Science Cloud Initiative is to help develop the participant non- EU countries in developing their national Open Science Clouds.12“Open Science Cloud.” Shaping Europe’s Digital Future, European Commission, 24 Mar. 2021, digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/open-science-cloud. While Open Science Cloud can facilitate further evolution of Open Access, in North Macedonia, the inaugural meeting of Open Science Cloud only took place on March 16, 2021.

Image 11: A screenshot of the landing page for the National Open Science Cloud Initiative in North Macedonia

Image 11: National Open Science Cloud Initiative

The establishment of Open Science Cloud and related policies in North Macedonia means that the Open Access infrastructure is bound to improve as the collateral effect of the EU investments in the project and the development of OA infrastructure that will be sustainable.

As we can see from this survey article, it seems like the cohesive governmental policies to support the OA infrastructure are only recently evolving in North Macedonia. And many OA journals had already been around since as early as 2013. North Macedonia has come a long way since the dissolution of Yugoslavia. There is no doubt that OA will be a major policy stay that will empower knowledge creation for the future.