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Fact Sheet
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Washington, DC
June 5, 2006

The Iraqi Virtual Science Library

The Iraqi Virtual Science Library (IVSL), launched on May 3, 2006, is a digital portal that provides Iraqi universities and research institutes with access to an outstanding collection of millions of full text articles from over 17,000 premier scientific and engineering journals and their archives, in addition to technical content and educational resources. Its goal is to help rebuild the educational and scientific infrastructure in Iraq.

Recognizing the need to rebuild the science and engineering infrastructure in Iraq, a group of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellows began the IVSL (https://ivsl.org) project in 2004. The IVSL is now an interagency collaboration with members from the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. The project is funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the U.S. State Department, and the Civilian Research and Development Foundation, the generous donations of publishing companies and professional societies, and partnerships with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, other departments and agencies of the U.S. Government, Sun Microsystems, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Useful Utilities, and Vitalect Technologies.

The IVSL is being implemented in coordination with the Iraqi Government, with the ultimate goal of transitioning the pilot program into a long-term project sponsored and supported entirely by Iraq. Associated computer software, information technology (IT) training, and some hardware will be provided to Iraqi partners in order to facilitate this transition.

IVSL partner institutions in Iraq include:

  • The Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research and the Iraqi Ministry of Science & Technology;
  • Seven universities: Basrah, Baghdad, Al-Nahrain, Mustansyriah, University of Technology, Mosul, and Sulaimani, covering Iraq from north to south;
  • Iraqi National Academy of Science and the Iraqi Academy of Science;
  • Iraqi International Center for Science and Industry (IICSI).

IVSL Project Implementation

The Defense Technical Information Center built the IVSL web site, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences negotiated subscriptions to a broad range of science, engineering, and technical journals with initial seed funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the U.S. Department of State. IVSL was only possible through the extraordinary generosity of the professional societies and publishers--who are providing access gratis or at substantial discounts to normal licensing rates, as the seed funds covered only a tiny fraction of the normal fees--as well as contributions and training material from our technical partners. Partners include:

Current and Future Work

IVSL (https://ivsl.org) is on-line and has been successfully beta-tested. The next phase includes working with Iraqi colleagues to expand the user base, develop training programs, and add educational resources. Eight Iraqi partner institutes will be provided with servers, technical support, software, and IT training in order to facilitate this transition. A partnership with the Civilian Research and Development Foundation will help meet the goal of transitioning the IVSL project entirely to Iraqi ownership and support as soon as practical.

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