Just a very brief recap of our events during the past week, to keep you posted and in the loop.
Landscape Survey of Research and/or Data Intensive Initiatives on the African Continent, and Key Stakeholders
The past year (AOSP Year 1, from 1 November 2016 – 31 October 2017) focused on identifying research and/or data intensive initiatives on the African continent, and building a database around it. View a data visualisation of progress made by clicking here. The data is by far not complete, and we hope to add many more activities/projects/initiatives. We are also working in the background unpacking certain initiatives, and cleaning data to be included.
For corrections or to suggest an African initiative, please complete the two fields on the online form – click here.
Tanzania Data Tamasha (Festival)
Zaituni Kaijage wrote in an email that the Tanzania Data Tamasha (6 Dec. 2017) was a highly successful event, with more than 200 participants attending and participating. Also view the booklet which contains all the success stories presented during the event. Thank you to Raymond Katebaka, General Secretary of the African Union of Conservationists (AUC) (based in Uganda) for representing AOSP on very short notice during the Tanzania Data Tamasha. The feedback received from Raymond of great value in steering our thinking regarding the project.
If you have any activities planned in your country, please share with us so we can create more awareness, and also add to the AOSP web for further visibility. You are also welcome to write a brief news item.
SA-EU Open Science Policy Framework Workshop, 30 Nov – 1 Dec 2017
The DST (SA Dept. of Science and Technology) in partnership with the European Union (EU) hosted a successful two day workshop towards an Open Science Policy Framework for South Africa. This workshop followed the Open Research South Africa: high-level stakeholder meeting on Open Research, 12-13 December 2016. An expert task team has been appointed to come up with an SA Open Science Policy framework, and they will be supported by the steering committee.
View the presentations from this workshop:
- European Perspectives on Open Science Policy/JC Burgelman
- Open Science – Global Perspectives/Simon Hodson
- Open Science – Governance & Regulation/Simon Hodson
- Open Science, Open Innovation/John Wood
- The View from South Africa/Colin Wright, David Walwyn
Different approaches apply to different countries, and we are looking forward to learn more about your plans and progress.
2017 CHPC Annual National Meeting
The 2017 CHPC Annual National Meeting presented another opportunity for AOSP to share its thinking in terms of incentives, motivating researchers to share their data on an open platform.
AOSP is also working on populating the events web page (we have a long list in the process of being added), to create better awareness of open science/open data/open research related conferences/meetings on the continent. Please regularly visit this page and see how you can participate and contribute. The IDW 2018 to be hosted by Botswana a very important event, and we hope to see you all there next year!
Science Talk during SFSA 2017
A high energy 30 min. discussion on incentives, policy, infrastructure and capacity building allowed researchers to give input during group discussions. Each attendee was given a map of Africa, with a real-life problem role-played by members of our Technical Advisory Board, to address. Thank you all for making this high impact, very brief interactive exercise, a huge success! The Future of Science session further evoked a lot of lively much needed debate. Both Prof Geoffrey Boulton (President CODATA) and Dr Heide Hackmann (Executive Director International Council for Science) presented during this session.
AOSP Advisory Council & Technical Advisory Board Meetings
The above meetings took place on 6 Dec. 2017 at the ASSAf offices. Thank you to all members for valuable input and advise in steering this incredibly exciting project! We are thankful for your buy-in and valuable contributions. A special thank you to the chair of the Advisory Council, Prof Khotso Mokhele, and the chair of the Technical Advisory Board, Prof Joseph Muliaro Wafula. Dr Simon Hodson (Executive Director CODATA) has been playing and incredible role in directing and advising the project, and we cannot thank him enough. Thank you also to Prof Geoffrey Boulton (President CODATA) and Dr Heide Hackmann (Executive Director International Council for Science) for joining us during the two meetings, and for your valuable input and steering the project towards an even higher level.
Lastly – thank you to you as members of this list for your continued support. Thank you to our funder (DST through NRF) for financial support, as well as other funders – directly (RDA) or indirectly (AAU, UbuntuNetConnect 2017). Many thanks to DIRISA for hosting the web page. And thank you to key stakeholders for their continued support, of which there are too many to name. Apologies if we have left out names, but this thank you to all. This was an incredible year, and each of you played a role in making it a success. Thank you!
More about the initiatives and activities to be shared in January, once we are all back and had the opportunity to discuss among ourselves and include it as part of the project plan.
Wishing all a peaceful and relaxed December/January, and if all goes well, we plan to be in touch again next year.
The report from the side event hosted in South Africa during the SA Science Forum is now online available. Also access the presentation by Susan Veldsman on: Breaking new ground: the African Open Science Platform (Role of Science and Meteorology in Sustainable Development, Lusaka, Zambia, 14-16 March 2017).
The AOSP Offices are currently working on populating the project plan, and building the database of African contacts. Following this, we hope to identify key contact persons on national level to work with us in collecting information and putting us in touch with data intensive research initiatives, along with the survey we have shared previously.
The Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World was launched at the Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) in December 2015. It was fitting that the next edition of SFSA should see the launch of an African Open Science Platform initiatative that seeks to put into practice the principles and enabling practices for Open Data and Open Science that are laid out in the Accord.
The Africa-wide initiative will promote the development and coordination of data policies, data training and data infrastructure. An open science platform is conceived as an integrated set of arrangements that provides a policy, capacity-building and infrastructural framework for enhanced accessibility and impact. The initiative also focuses on the creation of national Open Science fora through which policies and coordination can be discussed and established.
The pilot phase is supported by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), directed by CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and implemented by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
The African Open Science Platform initiative was announced by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs. Naledi Pandor, at the Science Forum South Africa 2016 (SFSA).
Minister Pandor commented: “The creation of the African Open Science Platform is an excellent example of the tangible impact our Science Forum has already achieved in harnessing international partnerships to advance African science. The Platform will play a critical role to assist African countries in developing the necessary capacities to manage and exploit scientific data for the benefit of society. I am proud that our Department, and its entities the NRF and ASSAf, are contributing to this crucial mission.”
Read the full press release.
ASSAf and CODATA organised a side-event workshop and a parallel session at Science Forum South Africa. The programmes for these events are linked below.
- African Open Science Platform Side Event: a forum for conversations on data policy, data training and data infrastructure, 6 December
- African Open Science Platform Side Event: Conversations around Openness in African Research, Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, 7 December
Additionally, CODATA has assisted our colleagues at ASSAf on the preparations of a workshop intended to prepare recommendations towards the preparation of a White Paper on Open Research in South Africa.
These are major developments and indicative of the determination of African countries, research institutions and scientists to embrace the benefits of the digital revolution and open approaches to research.
Updated CODATA Prospectus: Strategy and Achievement, 2015-2016: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.165830
Legal Interoperability of Research Data: Principles and Implementation Guidelines
Dr Simon Hodson | Executive Director CODATA | http://www.codata.org
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @simonhodson99 | Skype: simonhodson99
Tel (Office): +33 1 45 25 04 96 | Tel (Cell): +33 6 86 30 42 59
CODATA (Committee on Data of the International Council for Science), 5 rue Auguste Vacquerie, 75016 Paris, FRANCE
An initiative to establish an African Open Science Platform to promote the value and exploit the potential of Open Data for science was announced by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, at the Science Forum South Africa 2016 (SFSA).
The Africa-wide initiative will promote the development and coordination of data policies, data training and data infrastructure. The pilot phase, launched today, is supported by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), directed by CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and implemented by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
The initiative originates from the Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World, which was launched at the SFSA in 2015. The Accord presents an inclusive vision of the need for and the benefits of science Open Data internationally, and in particular for lower and middle-income countries. The International Council of Science and the other partners to the Science International Accord welcome the initiative and have helped build the partnerships for the pilot.
Minister Pandor commented “The creation of the African Open Science Platform is an excellent example of the tangible impact our Science Forum has already achieved in harnessing international partnerships to advance African science. The Platform will play a critical role to assist African countries in developing the necessary capacities to manage and exploit scientific data for the benefit of society. I am proud that our Department, and its entities the NRF and ASSAf, are contributing to this crucial mission”.
The onset of the digital revolution has created an unprecedented explosion in the data available for analysis as a basis for greater understanding and efficient policies by scientists, policymakers, businesses citizens and other actors in civil society. Extremely large data sets, or ‘big data’, drive this revolution and researchers are able to recognise subtle but powerful patterns in areas ranging across the sciences, from security to genetic research and human behaviour.
Several open science activities are underway across Africa, but a great deal is to be gained if these activities were to be coordinated and developed through a coordinating initiative.
It is envisaged that the African Platform will be a basis for shared investment in infrastructure. It will harvest and circulate good ideas, spread and support good practice and develop the capacities of individuals and institutions. It will promote key applications of relevance to African economies and societies. It will also act as a conduit for links with the international open data and open science programmes and standards that will be vital if it is to flourish.
An open science platform is conceived as an integrated set of arrangements that provides a policy, capacity-building and infrastructural framework for enhanced accessibility and impact. The initiative also focuses on the creation of national Open Science fora through which policies and coordination can be discussed and established.
The high-level trajectory of development of the Platform will be determined by an Advisory Council, and its technical development by a Technical Advisory Board. Both bodies will be have membership drawn from the whole region.
During a one-day workshop and a parallel session – both as part of SFSA – experts from across the region convened to discuss and co-design the platform’s further development and its themes including coordinated policy development, incentives and benefits, capacity-building and training, and roadmaps for coordinating data infrastructure.
Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) celebrates its 20th year as official academy of South Africa this year.
ASSAf was inaugurated in May 1996. It was formed in response to the need for an Academy of Science consonant with the dawn of democracy in South Africa: activist in its mission of using science and scholarship for the benefit of society, with a mandate encompassing all scholarly disciplines that use an open-minded and evidence-based approach to build knowledge.
ASSAf thus adopted in its name the term ‘science’ in the singular as reflecting a common way of enquiring rather than an aggregation of different disciplines. Its Members are elected on the basis of a combination of two principal criteria, academic excellence and significant contributions to society.
The Parliament of South Africa passed the Academy of Science of South Africa Act (Act 67 of 2001), which came into force on 15 May 2002. This made ASSAf the only academy of science in South Africa officially recognised by government and representing the country in the international community of science academies and elsewhere.
For more on the history of ASSAf
CODATA (http://www.codata.org/) is the Committee on Data of the International Council for Science. CODATA was created to promote global collaboration for Open Data and to support ICSU’s mission of strengthening international science for the benefit of society, by promoting the policy, technological and cultural changes that are essential to make research data more widely available.
The CODATA Strategic Plan http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.50343 identifies three priority areas: 1) promoting principles, policies and practices for Open Data and Open Science; 2) advancing the frontiers of data science; 3) building capacity for Open Science by improving data skills and the functions of national science systems needed to support open data. CODATA achieves these objectives through a number of standing committees, Task Groups and Working Groups as well as executive-led activities. CODATA supports the Data Science Journal http://datascience.codata.org/ and collaborates on major data conferences like SciDataCon http://www.scidatacon.org/2016/ and International Data Week http://internationaldataweek.org/.
CODATA provides expert direction for the African Open Data Platform initiative which is being implemented by ASSAf.