During the 22nd edition of the International Conference in ELectronic PUBlishing and the 10th anniversary of the meeting in Toronto, Canada, 22-24 June 2018, the Open Access conversation has been extended to Open Science and Open Data. The sustainability of Open Science infrastructures and ongoing community ownership and control of the Knowledge Commons were major themes at ELPUB 2018. The SCOSS initiative (SCOSS: A global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services) was introduced to participants, working towards guaranteeing financial sustainability for existing Open Science/Open Access initiatives, addressing the issue of financial sustainability.
Dr Aled Edwards – an expert scientist in structural biology (and pharmaceutical sciences) – delivered a fascinating keynote on “Open Science for Public Good”. Some key messages from his presentation, from which the African Open Science Platform can greatly benefit in working towards proposed frameworks, include:
- Open Science leads to competitive scientific outcomes and reproducible science;
- Open science helps build trust with the public and with patients;
- Open science reduces redundancy, which in turn accelerates research (which is good, since redundancy makes drug discovery less efficient – the drug price is high because it includes the price of failure and redundancy, which could have been avoided if science was open);
- Governments always care about themselves, often thinking: “How do we make sure country X [us] wins and not country Y [them].” But open collaborations with industry enables academics to learn the market, spot commercial opportunities and launch companies. This should lead to benefit the country first of all;
- Open science is a transparent way to recruit people (you can actually see people’s work!);
- Open science is sustainable – pharmaceuticals WILL fund open science. This isn’t going to lead them to a drug in the next 5 or 10 years, but it will enable research in other understudied areas. All have to be collaborative about the funding structures;
- Open drug discovery may be the key to fixing the broken pharmaceutical model and to developing personalized medicines;
- Scientists afraid of sharing data and research are redundant; and
- Open science is the solution, and should not just be the aim.
An example of an Open Science initiative shared by Dr Edwards: Extreme Open Science Initiative https://opennotebook.thesgc.org/ : A team of groundbreaking scientists at SGC, UNC and INSERM are now sharing their lab notebooks online.
The AOSP presentation was well received, and it was a privilege to present. We would like to thank and congratulate the organisers of ELPUB2018 with an excellent conference. Access the AOSP conference paper: Data Driving Sustainability – the African Open Science Platform Project/ Ina Smith & Susan Veldsman. Read more papers presented at the ELPUB2018 conference and benefit from the many messages and work done globally: https://elpub.episciences.org/volume/view/id/339
AOSP is looking forward towards creating awareness of the work done in Africa (along with many other initiatives), and the project deliverables. Through dialogue, collaboration and diversity, science can be advanced much faster, addressing the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).