Category Archives: Botswana

Brief AOSP Feedback on IDW2018, 5-8 November 2018, Gaborone, Botswana

International Data Week 2018 brought together more than 800 participants from 64 countries and 6 continents, with top numbers from Botswana, South Africa and the United States.

The African Open Science Platform (AOSP) – managed by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) – was part of the organising committee, and also managed to fully/partially sponsor 30 delegates from Africa in some way. We were further very proud to sponsor the colourful African beaded lanyards the 600 paid-up registrants received when the conference started, and hope you will use it in innovative ways to always remember this conference! One of our delegates tweeted on Twitter: “I have been to many, many conferences, and this “lanyard” is the best! So pretty!” Thank you for your appreciation.

Thank you to our host – the University of Botswana – and main organisers (CODATA, RDA, WDS, and University of Botswana), and all delegates, for an excellent event. From the outset IDW2018 was aligned with the mandate of AOSP – which is to create awareness and advocate for high quality research data to be curated in a FAIR way. At the same time AOSP managed to establish many new networks globally, and became aware of even more Open Data initiatives on the continent. IDW2018 truly fulfilled our expectations in terms of the purpose of what an international conference should be about, among many others:

  • Sharing and testing innovative ideas;
  • Exchanging existing and new information among experts and upcoming researchers, passing on expertise;
  • Extending “international” to also include Africa, connecting North and South;
  • Making governments part of the conversation;
  • Having keynotes sharing the new frontiers of science with all;
  • Engaging in dialogue and challenging ideas/thinking;
  • Connecting scientists from Africa with one another, but also with people from outside Africa, to collaborate in taking the curation of research data forward, and
  • Giving many excellent researchers the opportunity to express and share great experiences and initiatives – giving all a much needed voice through this very important platform.

The proposed draft International Data Week Gaborone Statement – one of the many outcomes of the conference – is in the process of being finalised. Major outcomes for AOSP included – among many others – the opportunity to further add to the landscape study and the database of networks, and to create awareness on AOSP – also among delegates from outside Africa. The AOSP frameworks on policy, infrastructure, capacity building and incentives were further presented and tested for the first time during the AOSP Technical Advisory Board Meeting, and valuable feedback was received. A video will be compiled following interviews conducted with participants, responding to the question “What are the socio-economic benefits of Open Data and Open Science for Africa and the world?” The video will form part of the AOSP Advocacy Toolkit, used to create further awareness for the need for policy and more by African governments. Presentations, recordings and photos as well as keynotes are expected to be made available at soon.

Dr Serageldin (keynote speaker and also a member of the AOSP Advisory Council)  – during his announcement of the conference theme – said: “Our societies need more than knowledge, they need wisdom. The knowledge produced by the Natural Sciences, requires the insights of the Social Sciences, and the wisdom of the Humanities.” We therefore need each other, Open Science and Open Data not only connecting African scientists, but also connecting disciplines and scientists from all over the world with one another, towards collaboration to accelerate science.

Both the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and AOSP are looking forward working with all in taking Open Data and Open Science forward along with key stakeholders globally. In the words of Pasteur, also quoted by Dr Serageldin: “Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and it is the torch which illuminates the world.” We cannot illuminate the world if data, information, and knowledge are not open and transparent, cannot be tested/verified, and are unavailable for others to build on existing data, information and knowledge. Finally, all to lead to wisdom, so that we have a better understanding of how we can make our world more sustainable for future generations, addressing priority disciplines on the African continent and elsewhere, such as food security, infectious diseases, clean water and climate change.

On behalf of ASSAf and AOSP, thank you for the opportunity we had to be part of this very important event, and to engage and meet with so many of you! We are looking forward staying in touch and towards future collaboration!


Other ASSAf/AOSP presentations/activities/involvement during IDW2018:

  • 2 Nov Workshop: The Role of Librarians in transforming the world through Open Data and Open Science
  • 3 & 4 Nov: Meeting of the AOSP Technical Advisory Board
  • 5 Nov: Open Science in Africa – Opening Session
  • 6 Nov Panel Discussion: The international dimension of a sustainable and FAIR-enabled European Open Science Cloud
  • 6 Nov Panel Discussion: WDS Capacity Building CODATA RDA
  • 6 Nov AOSP Session & Presentation: Skills-development in an increasingly data-driven science environment: an African perspective
  • 7 Nov Gala Dinner Funder Message on behalf of AOSP
  • 8 Nov 2018: Chairing session on: Data Revolution for Local Impact – Data Policy and Innovation Use Cases from Tanzania
  • 8 Nov 2018: Receiving message of appreciation on behalf of AOSP
  • 9 Nov 2018 WDS Data Repository Workshop: African Open Science Platform

Presentations for the above are available at  

Presenters during the AOSP Session Skills-development in an increasingly data-driven science environment: an African perspective

IDW2018 in the media:

AOSP IDW2018 Session on Skills-development in an increasingly data-driven science environment: an African perspective

The programmes for IDW2018 are now online available!

Please support the African Open Science Platform Session on Skills-development in an increasingly data-driven science environment: an African perspective 

Date: Tuesday 6 Nov. 2018

Time: 14:00 – 15:30

Venue: Gaborone International Convention Centre (The Grand Palm). Meeting room to be confirmed.

Please revisit the online programme regularly to monitor changes/new info added by the organisers.

The AOSP session has 8 papers:

AOSP is looking forward welcoming all to this very important event, putting research data high on the agenda of all stakeholders!

Technology Adaptation, Innovation and Research Capacity with the focus on Botswana

The African Open Science Platform had the opportunity to participate in the recent IST-Africa2018 conference, and we would like to share some brief feedback.

The message shared during the IST-Africa2018 conference in Botswana from 9-11 May 2018 was that researchers and government are committed to turn research into knowledge products, implementing policies to strengthen human resource development, towards sustainability and more people becoming entrepreneurs and creating jobs. A condition for this to be successful is however stable Internet connectivity and sufficient bandwidth. Unfortunately too often Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on the African continent have monopolies, which makes Internet connectivity almost unaffordable. The pan-European GÉANT network calculated that citizens from Mali would be charged more than 1 mill. Euro per month, should they want to have Internet access at 300Mbps, something for which a citizen from the Netherlands would pay only 67 Euro per month. Through the AfricaConnect 2 project, GÉANT is making great progress in bringing affordable Internet to African countries. By collaborating with AfricaConnect2, the pan-European GÉANT network strengthens Europe’s links with the African continent and provides African research and education communities ​with a gateway for global ​collaborations – also a requirement for successful research data sharing.​​​

Themes covered during the conference included mHealth, mHealth4Africa, technology-enhanced learning, cyber security, next generation computing, research cyber-infrastructure and NRENs, IoT, geospatial sciences and land administration, open data and open science, e-government, mAgriculture, ICT4D and content technologies and many more. The conference had high-level support from the Botswana government, with the welcome done by the Honourable Minister Onkokame Kitso Mokaola (Ministry of Transport and Communications, Botswana) and the opening address by His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi, which referred to ICT as a democratic variable.

The African Open Science Platform project highlighted the importance of research data being shared, with Dr Simon Hodson (Executive Director, CODATA) sharing more on FAIR data principles, the upcoming International Data Week 2018, and Phase 2 of the African Open Science Platform project. The Botswana Open Science Open Data case study was presented by Prof Julius Atlhopheng.

The series of sessions on ICT initiatives, research capacities and priorities provided great insight into the status of 10 of the 18 African IST member countries, and will help to inform the African Open Science Platform further. The AOSP project is further looking forward towards continuing high-level meetings with African governments where interest was indicated by representatives from selected African countries. We are also looking forward welcoming many new individuals becoming part of the African Open Science network.

SciDataCon 2018 – Call for individual papers & posters – Closing Date: 31 May 2018

The deadline to submit abstracts for papers and posters for SciDataCon 2018, part of International Data Week, 4-8 November 2018, Gaborone, Botswana is 31 May 2018.

Call for Papers and Posters

Submit Abstracts for Papers and Posters

Provisionally Accepted Sessions

Themes and Scope of SciDataCon

Call for Papers
For SciDataCon we request that proposals should be submitted for research papers, practice papers, lightning talks and panel contributions:

About the Sessions
In some cases, session organisers will be inviting proposals, but please note that you may submit a proposal to any accepted session if you think your proposal is a good fit with that session topic.

Abstracts must be submitted to an accepted session or to the General Submission session. You may consult the descriptions of accepted sessions at

When submitting your abstract at you will need to select the appropriate session.

Abstracts submitted to specific sessions will be reviewed for their individual quality and according to their appropriateness for that session. Abstracts submitted to the General Submission option will be reviewed for individual quality and, if accepted, will be assigned to an accepted session or grouped into thematic sessions.

Author Guidelines
Accepted abstracts will be available from the conference website and will form a persistent collection, so please consider the following recommendations carefully:

o Length: The proposal for a research paper should be 800-1600 words and for a practice paper 600-1000 words. For lightning talks or panel interventions 300-600 words are sufficient. These are guides and please use your judgement. We strongly discourage proposals of more than 1600 words.
o Summary: The submission must include a summary. The summary should be brief – 100-250 words, and certainly no more than 250 words.

Call for Posters
Posters will be an important feature of SciDataCon 2018. The organisers will endeavour to ensure that all poster presenters have an opportunity to give a lightning talk as well as participating in the poster reception. Posters can often be a more effective way of communicating key technical features of a paper and providing a visual summary that really engages the viewer.

About the Sessions
Abstracts must be submitted to an accepted session or to the General Submission session. You may consult the descriptions of accepted sessions at

When submitting your abstract at you will need to select the appropriate session.

Author Guidelines
• Length: A Poster Abstract should be 800-1600 words and no more than 1600 words in length.
• Summary: Submission must include a summary. The summary should be brief – 100-250 words, and certainly no more than 250 words.
• Subject: Describe the subject of the proposed poster in as much detail as possible. Describe the structure of the poster. Above all, let us know:

o why will this be an interesting feature of the conference?
o why is it particularly suited to a poster and/or demo session?
o why the poster or demo will catch delegates’ attention and why will they stop and listen to you?

Asha Law | Program Assistant, CODATA |

Tel (Office): +33 1 45 25 04 96

Deadline approaching! Session Proposals Invited for International Data Week, 5-8 November, in Gaborone, Botswana

The deadline is approaching for Session Proposals for SciDataCon which is an integrated part of International Data Week 2018

International Data Week = SciDataCon and RDA Plenary
International Data Week comprises SciDataCon, a conference for research and practice papers addressing all aspects of data in research, and the 12th Plenary Meeting of the Research Data Alliance

Deadline for SciDataCon Session Proposals – Fri 2 Feb 2018
Please consult the call for session proposals and the conference themes at

The CODATA General Assembly will take place on 9-10 November 2018.

About International Data Week

Co-organized by the ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the ICSU World Data System (WDS) and the Research Data Alliance (RDA), this landmark event will address the theme of ‘The Digital Frontiers of Global Science’. In a hyperconnected world where the internet is pervasive and web technologies are driving major changes in our lives, research has become more than ever before digital and international.  Furthermore, the major societal and scientific challenges facing humanity in this digital age are profoundly global in character, requiring the participation of researchers from all countries and disciplines. The data revolution is also a major source of the scientific opportunities to address these issues but to realise these potentials the frontiers of science, data analysis and stewardship must be advanced.  Likewise, the data revolution must be inclusive, benefitting all,  and harnessing all energies: no parts of the world and no disciplines should be left behind.

The following themes will be encompassed within the conference’s scope:

  • frontier issues for research in a global and digital age;
  • applications, progress and challenges of data intensive research;
  • data infrastructure and enabling practices for international and collaborative research.

Like its predecessor, IDW 2018 will bring together data scientists, researchers from all disciplines, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers and data stewards.  All areas of research are in scope, including the social sciences, humanities, and business and management sciences. Similarly, the applications of data outside of research will also be considered.  The event will be a rich week of science and data, featuring world renowned keynote speakers, plenary panels and discussions, the presentation of high quality research and practical working sessions for international collaborations.  IDW 2018 combines the 12th RDA Plenary Meeting, the biannual meeting of the research data community, and SciDataCon 2018, the scientific conference addressing the frontiers of data in research.  To a greater degree than at IDW 2016 in Denver, Colorado, the events will be integrated, such that each day will feature an inspiring and engaging range of activities.

Botswana, Africa and the World
The meeting will be held in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana.  This is an excellent location for this compelling international conference:

The fundamental role of data for research, for economic development and ecological sustainability are recognised as important and are supported by the government, research institutions and community.
The government of Botswana has a strong and forward looking policy to support education, technology, development and research.
Botswana is active and well-integrated in regional (Southern African Development Community: SADC), African and international collaboration in various areas of research and in data activities.
The Botswana university and research sector is advancing greatly as a result of these policies and engagements.
Gaborone is easy to get to, with connecting flights for international participants from Johannesburg (JNB), Nairobi (NBO) and Addis Ababa (ADD), and boasts attractive venues and excellent quality, competitively priced hotels.
Botswana is one of the safest countries in the world according to the Global Peace Index:  Since independence in 1966, Botswana maintained a stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections and ranking 35 (out of 176 countries) in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016
Gaborone offers a pleasant location and attractions; in the north of the country, there are unique UNESCO sites for participants who wish to visit before or after the conference.

International Data Week Organisers
The organisers of International Data Week are:

The University of Botswana on behalf of the Botswana Open Data Open Science Forum
CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Council of Science (ICSU)
The ICSU World Data System
The Research Data Alliance

Presentations from the Botswana National Forum on Open Data Open Science, 30-31 October 2017

From the national forum attended in Botswana 30 – 31 October 2017, it was clear that the country shares the same challenges as other African countries in terms of open science (incl. open data) policy, utilising and adapting the current ICT infrastructure/fibre connections to allow for the transmission of data sets to advance science, and building capacity – not only in terms of plans to manage research data on individual researcher/project level, but also in terms of soft skills to properly manage and re-use data. Botswana Statistics (focusing on government data) is one of the success stories which was shared. The presence of high-level key stakeholders demonstrated commitment from government level. The general experience was positive, with Botswana colleagues adamant to not only start doing African science in an African way, but also to do Botswana science the Botswana away – steering away from benchmarking with countries they have very little in common, at the same time, implementing international best practice. This coordinated effort brought together stakeholders from all over Botswana.

The Botswana ODOS National Committee has indicated that actions from this workshop will include the following:

  • Addressing policy and infrastructure needs;
  • Adaptation of the ODOS mandate by key stakeholders;
  • Capacity building, training people on institutional and community level;
  • Finding innovative uses of data; and
  • Engaging citizens.

Main Presentations

Monday 30 October 2017

A coordinated framework for open data open science in Botswana/Simon Hodson

Perspectives from the African Open Science Platform/Susan Veldsman

Data legislation, governance and policy/Abraham M Keetshabe

Setting the scene: State of ODOS in Botswana/Patrick Molutsi & Joseph Mwelwa

Tuesday 31 October 2017

The state and future of Botswana Optic Fibre Networks/Tlhako Sekopo

Open data for digital development in Botswana/Jack Meshingo

Open data and innovation: tackling unemployment through data

Group Discussions & Presentations


Developments in connected regional SADC cyberinfrastructure to support data sharing & open science/Tshiamo Motshegwa

A coordinated framework for open data open science in Botswana/Simon Hodson

Data Awareness

The role of libraries and information professionals during the Big Data Era/Poloko Ntokwane

Data as a service: a human-centered design approach/Retha de la Harpe

Data Management & Repositories

Open data and open access landscape in Tanzania/Zaituni Kaijage

Research Data Curation (incl. Management)/Ina Smith

Data management principles, standards and tools/Lynn Woolfrey

Botswana Institutional Repository Landscape/Naniki Maphakwane

National Workshop on Open Data Open Science (ODOS), Botswana, 30-31 October 2017

The Botswana National Open Data and Open Science (ODOS) stakeholders will be hosting the First National Open Data and Open Science Forum (ODOS) at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana from 30-31 October 2017. The event has its origins in meetings held in October 2016 between national experts and stakeholders, and representatives from CODATA and the Research Data Alliance. The meetings led to a White Paper proposing a coordinated national activity. The National Forum ODOS has been strongly encouraged and supported by the African Open Science Platform Project, which is directed by CODATA and delivered by ASSAf.

The main aim of the forum is to initiate dialogue on national level around Open Data and Open Science through:

  • Creating an awareness and discussion on open data;
  • Highlighting the current data situation in Botswana;
  • Discussing needs and perceptions on open data; and
  • Discussing resolutions and map a way forward to advance the sharing of research data.

The forum will also seek to identify strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats to embracing open data and open science in Botswana. This initiative will allow national stakeholders to engage with issues such as Data Legislation Governance and Policy; Coordinated Research Data Cyber-Infrastructure; Data Awareness & Capacity Building; Data Management and Repositories. The conference will do this by bringing together Government Ministries, NGOs, Regional and international Body stakeholders and delegates to discuss themes in working groups. The common running thread for the workshops’ interactions and deliberations and outputs will also help feed into the development of a Botswana Policy on Open Data.This workshop is intended to be the annual event for deliberations on these issues and represent Botswana’s participation in the African Open Science Platform launched in 2016.

View the programme

Gaborone, Botswana, will be the venue for the next edition of International Data Week, 22-26 October 2018.