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Prof. Kamel Belhamel: “For the global south, Open Access is an opportunity in terms of innovation, the diffusion of knowledge and the emergence of new ideas.”

Continuing the highly successful Open Science Stars series, this round we’re honoured to bring you Prof. Kamel Belhamel, the recently appointed DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa. Here’s his story.

Hi Kamel, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

Thank you for interviewing me Jon and congratulations on receiving your hard-earned doctoral degree. Best wishes for the future. (Ed: Thank you!! 🙂)

Image credit: Kamel Belhamel
Image credit: Kamel Belhamel

I am Kamel Belhamel, full Professor of Chemistry at the University of Bejaia, director of the Laboratory of Organic Materials and Editor in chief of Algerian Journal of Natural Products (E-ISSN: 2353-0391). I graduated in Chemistry at the University of Setif- Algeria and achieved my PhD at the same University in the field of Process Engineering and Chemistry of Materials. I have taken part to several international projects such as: Italian project, German – DAAD, French- Algerian framework programme CMEP and co-ordinator of several Algerian national research projects, CNEPRU, PNR). My scientific activity is focused on the chemistry of macrocycles; Solvent extraction of metal ions from ores and waste solutions; Extraction and study of chemical composition from plant extract; Electrodeposition of metals and alloys. I am author/co-author of 20 scientific papers in international scientific journals and more than 50 abstract books in national and international conferences. I was Supervisor of many Master’s and 11 PhD students. I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the Faculty of Technology, the Algerian Chemical Society, and Training Manager of Master of Science: pharmaceutical processes at the University of Bejaia. Recently, I was appointed as the DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa.

When did you first hear about open access/data/science? What were your initial thoughts?

I have heard about open access journals during my first scientific visit to Freie Universität, Berlin in 2000. When I selected an open access journal, Molecules, and edited by MDPI, in order to publish our research results, my friend, Prof. Rainer Ludwig, has refused to publish in this journal because, in this period it hadn’t obtained an impact factor and asked for high APCs (article-processing charges). One important element to keep in mind when discussing Open science, that this concept is very old. By the 12th century, Bejaia, my city was an important port and an open centre of science in the North Africa. The Italian mathematician Fibonacci (c. 1170 – c. 1250) has studied Arabic numerals and algebraic notation in Bejaia. He introduced these and modern mathematics into medieval Europe in his famous book Liber Abaci. Another influential North African Muslim thinker of the 14th century, Ibn Khaldun, has been extensively studied in the Western world with special interest. He has written a part of his famous Muqaddimah “Introduction” in Bejaia. This document, summarize his theories of the science of sociology, was the greatest legacy that he freely offered for all of humanity and the generations to come.

 

The bust of Ibn Khaldun  and the entrance door of the Casbah of Bejaia (built in 1154, place of learning for Ibn Khaldun , Fibonacci and other scientists). Image credit: Kamel Belhamel
The bust of Ibn Khaldun and the entrance door of the Casbah of Bejaia (built in 1154, place of learning for Ibn Khaldun , Fibonacci and other scientists). Image credit: Kamel Belhamel

You recently were appointed as the DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa – congratulations! What sort of activities does this role entail? Continue reading “Prof. Kamel Belhamel: “For the global south, Open Access is an opportunity in terms of innovation, the diffusion of knowledge and the emergence of new ideas.””