Through the network established on the continent, the African Open Science Platform project managed to make huge inroads into open data/open science policy discussions with many countries. One of these countries is Uganda, which hosted a high-level Uganda Open Data/Open Science National Dialogue and associated meetings during 25-26 April 2018 (separate meetings on 27 April 2018). We are incredibly thankful to the principal organizer, Mr Raymond Katebaka, Secretary General of the African Union of Conservationists, as well as to Prof David Bakibinga (Professor of Commercial Law, Makerere University), for their major contributions in taking the existing conversation forward, bringing all important stakeholders in Uganda together. The African Open Science Platform was a proud funder of the event which was coordinated together with the African Union of Conservationists, with great support from the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST).
The meeting was well attended by more than 60 people, and included the Executive Secretary, Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (UNCST); Assistant Commissioner, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance; National Environment Management Authority (NEMA); Ministry of Health; Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS); National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U); with some key researchers from Makerere University.
The workshop discussed Uganda’s draft Open Data Policy, and workshop sessions discussed research data issues, incl. strategy and stakeholders, barriers and incentives, policies, technical infrastructure and training. Valuable meetings were held with the Vice-Chancellor of the Makerere University, the Executive Secretary and team at UNCST, the Director of Research and Graduate Training, Makerere University, and the RUFORUM Secretariat. Opportunity was also given to participants to share their projects on open data, subject repositories, visualisations and the much needed cyber infrastructure needed. The conference also had the underlying theme of how Open Science can address achieving the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through this work AOSP managed to prioritise open science and open data in Uganda.
One of the deliverables is a report to inform the way forward on a Uganda Open Science/Open Data policy. Needs were expressed in terms of data training and infrastructure, and AOSP is looking forward continuing working with Uganda in taking all forward.
Selected presentations delivered are available as follows:
- Legislative framework for open data practices in Uganda/ Prof. David Justin Bakibinga, Makerere University Kampala
- Open Data Policy for Uganda/ Mr. Silas Ngabirano, Ass. Commissioner, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Uganda
- Understanding open data – open data science in developing economies/ Dr. Simon Hodson, Executive Director, Committee on Data of International Council of Science
- Open science and higher education in Africa: opportunities and challenges/ Ms. Jacqueline Nnam, RUFORUM
- Perspectives from the African Open Science Platform Project/ Mrs. Susan Veldsman, Academy of Science of South Africa
- Supporting Scientific Research for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa/ Mrs. Susan Veldsman, Academy of Science of South Africa
- Ecological Research Data generation and Sharing: A case of Uganda/ Dr. Simon Nampindo, Wildlife Conservation Society
- Using data in sustainable exploitation and management of natural resources: Sharing environmental data and progresses made in Uganda/ Mr. Richard Waiswa, National Environment Management Authority
- Data generation and management practices in health sector Uganda/ Ministry of Health
- Data sharing for development: a case of infrastructural development in Uganda/ National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U)
- Data Policy Frameworks & Data Publishing and Incentives/ Mrs. Susan Veldsman, Director Scholarly Publishing (ASSAf), South Africa
- The role of data in technological development and monitoring/ Alexander Komakech Private Sector-AOT, Uganda
- Steps towards National and African Data Strategies: stakeholders, policies, technical infrastructures and training/ Dr. Simon Hodson
- Leveraging Big Data and innovative data for Sustainable Development/ Dr. Paula-Hidalgo-Sanchis, Pulse Lab
- ICSU and open data and data science/ Ms. Gasa Nomasomi, International Council of Science
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and Uganda Biodiversity Information Facility (UgaBIF)/ Mr. Innocent Akampurira, Uganda National Council of Science & Technology
- Capacity Building Efforts and Infrastructure at both at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and Makerere University/ Dr. Kitayimbwa John (PhD) Uganda Virus Research Institute & Makerere University Kampala (MAK/UVRI) Uganda
- National Research Education Networks (NRENs), ICT Infrastructure & Service delivery readiness in support of Open Data/ Research & Education network of Uganda (RENU)
- Management access and sharing of government data/ Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS)
- Open source on big data: A case of Uganda (Education, Health, taxation)/ Mr. Akatwijuka Michael UTAMU Uganda
Thank you to all the presenters, and specifically Nozuku Hlwatika, Susan Veldsman & Simon Hodson representing AOSP during this highly successful event.
Comment by one of the participants:
“Although, I was only able to attend the last session, I felt that the dialogue triggered our thoughts on open data, and provided a platform to talk, participate and make critical efforts towards an open data policy in Uganda.Thanks for the opportunity and lets keep the dialogue going-on in anyway possible.”
Photo below: Meeting of Conveners of the National Dialogue on Mainstreaming Open Data with Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, 26/04/2018 — with Raymond Katebaka, Susan Veldsman, Simon Hodson, David Bakibinga at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.