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Public Sector Data for Academic Research: The Case of the UAE

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Abstract

Access to reliable data sources is one of the most important prerequisites for quality research and innovation especially in data-driven fields, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the government has set bold targets to become a leading nation in research and innovation. However, when scientists request data from local authorities, it often takes prolonged time, effort, and resources to obtain it. As a result, government–academia collaboration has not yet reached its full potential, which is essential for the nation’s overall progress toward a knowledge-based society. This chapter explores the current procedures, barriers, and possible solutions for disclosing Public Sector Information (PSI) for academic research in the UAE. To that aim, qualitative interviews were held with 34 academicians and public officials from 20 different entities across the country, identifying key drivers of the problem. Results show that, although the government is highly supportive of research activities, different factors stand in the way of a more open approach. A solution framework is then proposed and validated with public officials to better facilitate data sharing in the country, inspired by international Open Data practices, but remaining consistent with the current processes and regulations. This is expected to set the stage for comprehensive initiatives in the public sector of UAE, starting with Abu Dhabi, which can directly address existing challenges to fulfilling national research and innovation outcomes.

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Correspondence to Elie Azar .

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Abu Samra, A., Mezher, T., Azar, E. (2021). Public Sector Data for Academic Research: The Case of the UAE. In: Azar, E., Haddad, A.N. (eds) Artificial Intelligence in the Gulf. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0771-4_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0771-4_3

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