Putting the Spotlight on Saudi Research Achievements


How the Saudi Digital Library is raising global awareness of scholarly outputs from universities in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Digital Library (SDL) is the national online digital library in Saudi Arabia, and the largest source of academic information in the Arab world.

At the recent SLA Arabian Gulf Conference, Zoë Loveland, ProQuest Senior Director Regional Marketing, had the opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Saud Mossa Alsalahi, the new

General Director for Saudi Digital Libraries.

The conversation focused on the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education’s vision for 2030 to have at least 5 of the nation’s universities ranking among the top 100 in the world, and how the SDL is working to support this mission, potentially with support from the ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Global database.

Enhancing researcher output at Saudi Arabian universities

As the General Director for Saudi Digital Libraries, Dr. Alsalahi is an official in the Ministry of Education, which has prioritized building awareness of research output from Saudi Arabian universities. The goal is to promote the Saudi researchers’ participation in the global academic community and elevate the status of Saudi universities.

“This year,” Dr. Alsalahi explained, “we expanded the scope of the SDL’s involvement in Saudi scientific research to enhance productivity and to increase the visibility of our research output nationally and internationally.”

A new award program has recently been launched by the Ministry of Education to give recognition to the work of Saudi researchers in the sciences who have their work published in academic journals.

Several new initiatives to support Saudi students and scholars

This award program is just one of several new initiatives that have been kicked off to support and nurture Saudi students and researchers.

“These initiatives are varied,” Dr. Alsalahi said. “For example, some of them are related to benchmarking the quality of the work we are doing at the SDL against other digital libraries around the world. Other initiatives strive to maximize the usage of our content. This is being done by raising awareness in our end users and among the broader community about digital accuracy and digital literacy. “

In relation to this last initiative, the Ministry of Education has created a Center for Society and Literacy Awareness, which offers a portal to open access resources available to students and scholars at every stage of their academic development, including K-12.

Increasing access to theses and dissertations from Saudi researchers

In addition to these education initiatives which have already launched, the SDL is working with the Ministry of Education on another series of initiatives that focus on making theses and dissertations from Saudi researchers more accessible to scholars within Saudi Arabia, and around the world.

The SDL “is helping our graduate students upload their dissertations and theses through us. This is a new marketplace where this hasn’t been done before,” Dr. Alsalahi said. “The SDL has established a portal for Saudi-sponsored students all over the world and we now have 27,000 dissertations in this repository.”

However, accessibility to this research is closed, and only accessible to people within the SDL consortium. The SDL is taking the lead through a series of initiatives to expand access to these dissertations and theses.

The value of disseminating dissertations and theses

In making theses and dissertations from Saudi researchers available to the international academic community, scholars around the world benefit from the information and insights that may not be available from any other sources. According to Dr. Alsalahi, Saudi universities are particularly strong in medicine and engineering areas where communication of cutting-edge discoveries is especially valuable for advancement.

Dissemination of theses and dissertations would also raise awareness of scholarly achievements of researchers at Saudi universities and contribute to realizing the 2030 vision to increase the global ranking of these institutions.

“We know each researcher has the potential to help humankind and expand global knowledge, which is not culture specific,” he said. “We are open to any initiative or any proposal that help accelerate the process of attaining our goals.”

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global

“We have been negotiating with ProQuest in order to increase the visibility of our research output,” Dr. Alsalahi continued. The SDL provides researchers at Saudi universities with several other ProQuest resources, including ebooks and databases, resulting in a strong relationship.

With this repository of Saudi research included in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global (PQDT), researchers at more than 3000 institutions would have access to it. “We are very sure that ProQuest, according to our history of working together in the past, has the experience to help us,” Dr. Alsalahi said.

“Once PQDT makes available Saudi research output, it will increase citation of these works and put Saudi researchers in a good position in the global academic community. This will empower our country to move forward with our goals in education and economy.”

Read the full interview in Arabic via

ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Global (PQDT Global)

-The largest single repository of graduate dissertations and theses

-Includes 4.5 million works – grows by 200K each year

-International scope – deposits from universities in 108 countries

-Accessed by 3000 institutions – over 45,000 downloads every month

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global simplifies searching for dissertations and theses via a single access point to explore an extensive, trusted collection of 4 million graduate works, with 2 million in full text. Designated as an official offsite repository dissertations for the U.S. Library of Congress, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global offers comprehensive historic and ongoing coverage from 3,100 contributing university partners around the globe.

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The Saudi Digital Library Signs Agreements with Governmental Universities

A number of Saudi government universities have recently signed agreements to join the Saudi Digital Library (SDL) in a bid to ensure its diverse digital databases are available directly to all their employees, students, and faculty members.

  The universities’ rectors and their deputies represented these higher education institutions  in the signing of the said agreements, in an endeavor to benefit from the SDL’s e-resources and databases for 2017, whereas the SDL’s General Supervisor& Consultant to the Minister of Education, Dr. Abdul Hamid Al-Sulaiman, inked the documents on behalf of the library.

 The agreements qualify local public universities to enter the Saudi Digital Library consortium, the largest academic conglomerate of information resources in the Arab world, which includes more than 200 million scientific materials, namely 550 thousand  digital and reference books, 160 thousand journals, periodicals, articles, dissertations, audio-video items, and conference deliberations, and covers all academic disciplines  constantly updated by the Library.

 The universities’ rectors and their deputies hailed this  constructive step, highlighting the SDL’s significant role and  efforts in ensuring provision and access to the diverse knowledge resources provided by the leading Arab and international publishing houses. They stressed their keenness, as heads of these higher education institutions, to make the best use of the rich world electronic content .

For his part, the library’s General Supervisor expressed his happiness with this achievement, which came in line with the  Kingdom’s vision 2030, as a step to empower state-run universities to access online resources swiftly in a bid to achieve  knowledge society, promote scientific research and keep up with the latest developments in global publishing.

  Some agreements were signed on the sidelines of the 7th International Exhibition & Conference on Higher  Education, recently held in Riyadh,  deemed as one of the prominent cultural and scientific events in the Arab region, while the other documents were inked at the universities’ headquarters in their respective regions.


Later, the rest of the government universities will sign similar agreements with the SDL.

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The Saudi Digital Library participates in 14th Meeting of Libraries Affairs Deans Committee of GCC

The Saudi Digital Library affiliated to the Ministry of Higher Education had participated in the 14th Meeting of Libraries Affairs Deans Committee in the universities, higher education institutes and research centers in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. The Meeting was held on Emirates University in Al Ain from 27 to 28 April 2011. Dr. Mosaed Bin Saleh Al Tayyar, Consultant at the Ministry of Higher Education and General Supervisor of the Saudi Digital Library and Mr. Ali bin Dhib AlAklubi, the Director of the Saudi Digital Library had represented the Saudi Digital Library in presenting the experience of the Ministry of Higher Education in establishing the Saudi Digital Library in addition to explore the projects and experiences in the gulf in the field of e-sources.

It is worth to mention that the Saudi Digital Library has more than 130 digital books in several fields which serve the students, faculty members and researchers in the universities.

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SDL’s Delegation Visits UAE’s Ankabut Network

The Saudi Digital Library (SDL) delegation, headed by SDL Director General Dr. Saud bin Mossa Al-Salahi, has visited UAE’s National Research and Education Network (Ankabut) to discuss cooperation between SDL and Ankabut in scientific and academic fields within the framework of the common objectives between the two sides. The delegation has also visited Khalifa University library and Ankabut’s data center.
The two sides have discussed the joint interests including: making scientific production available for scientific exchange between the beneficiaries of both sides; joint purchase of information assets in databases that serve the beneficiaries of both sides; participating in building software that contributes in developing technical programs and infrastructure of both sides and partnership in the field of training, information awareness and scientific research of the beneficiaries of both sides.

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SDL Director General Congratulates the Leadership on 88th Saudi National Day

On behalf of the members of Saudi Digital Library (SDL), SDL Director General Dr. Saud bin Mossa Al-Salahi has congratulated the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince on the occasion of the 88th National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He said: “On this occasion, we praise Allah Almighty for the progress and prosperity in all institutions of the Kingdom, including the Ministry of Education. SDL is considered as one of the ministry’s distinguished projects where it received generous support from the wise leadership for acquiring the digital information resources and making them available for higher education institutions. This will contribute to support the scientific and research movement of Saudi universities as well as the scientific production in the light of the Kingdom Vision 2030.We ask Allah Almighty for further security, stability, development and prosperity in our country”.

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