- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27—AMMAN — The growing influence of social media outlets as publishing tools requires adapting educational and scientific content to that medium in order to enrich the experiences of learners and researchers, academics said Monday.

Speaking at the “Social Media Shaping Electronic Publishing” conference, scholars highlighted social media tools as “direct and more democratic” communication channels between authors and publishers on one side, and the audience on another.

Organised by the University of Jordan (UJ) Library, the three-day conference aims to bring together researchers, academics and scientists to share their experiences and discuss the most recent trends and challenges in the field of e-publishing, along with their implications on academic publishing.

The event also seeks to expand electronic content at the UJ library, as well as local and regional libraries, according to library director Mohannad Mubaidin, who added that the library, which includes millions of e-documents, has developed policies to protect intellectual property rights.

Addressing some 60 participants from 13 Arab and non-Arab countries, May Abdullah, professor and researcher at the Lebanese University, said it is normal for authors and publishers to intensify their presence on social media, with over 850 million active Facebook users, half of whom log on to their accounts daily.

She cited social media as an “extremely significant and effective” tool for the accessibility of information and free self-expression for the public, describing it as “the most important tool of democracy in the history of the Arab world”.

“With all the cultural changes in the region, these countries must re-build a culture of sharing that enables them to reorganise their social and economic systems,” Abdullah said, calling for further attention to improving the quality and quantity of Arabic e-content.

Mubaidin added that the conference has been listed among the annual conferences of UJ and the Association of Arab Universities and is to include on its second day a roundtable discussion on the prospect of expression and freedom of speech in social media outlets in Jordan.

Speaking at the event, UJ President Ekhleif Tarawneh cited the university’s efforts to enhance scientific Arabic e-content as an addition to its entrepreneurial role nationally and regionally.

“We hope for this conference to establish a base of ideas that can generate themes for the library’s upcoming conferences,” he said, adding that contributions of participants are crucial for monitoring the trends in research and readership preferences.

Speaking on behalf of sponsors, Manager of Dar Almandumah Musaed Tayyar said publishers’ fear of plagiarism remains a major challenge against the spread of e-content, which as a result prevents sharing knowledge and information.

Meanwhile, he added that the publishing house has signed agreements with 300 universities in the Arab world, including UJ, to publish their intellectual productions electronically.

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(c)2015 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan)

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