The Iraqi Virtual Science Library boasts an impressive list of partners and resources. American universities created IVSL in response to Iraq’s forcible isolation from the world of research and scholarship under Saddam.
Scholars here are thirsty for new knowledge. They know they need access to journals and current datasets to practice modern science. The trouble is, they don’t know what resources they have available.
Both the faculty and the students here, independently, have asked me to use my credit card to help them pay for World Bank datasets. [For clarity: their money, using my credit card as a payment system.] They know what journals and data they are looking for, and they want to get into the game.
Language is one barrier. English is not spoken universally here.
Connectivity is another. Not every professor yet has a computer at his desk.
But a huge number of resources are available, both inside IVSL and out (more here). The main problem is reaching the audience. How can we promote awareness of the IVSL and similar resources at University of Duhok and elsewhere in Iraq?
Sending American graduate students and professors to do the job in person (without any language skills) cannot be the most effective solution.