During the past UbuntuNet Connect 2018 conference, it was clear that more and more NRENs are becoming geared to host Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS). This can be services such as identity management, data management, cloud services, security certificates, repositories, and more. See the List of African NREN Partners to find the NREN in your country, and to inquire about services offered.
NRENs can and in some instances already play an important role in making open science and the sharing of research data (incl. Big Data) a success.
An NREN Capability Maturity Model/Duncan Greaves
Level 6 (Elaborated service offering) marks a fully mature NREN of the kind that characterises Europe, North America and comparable contexts. The NREN is richly connected at high speed to many other networks and resources. Numerous value-added services are available, such as grid and cloud computing resources, user-controlled lightpaths, videoconferencing, and federated identity services. The NREN’s value proposition lies primarily in these services, since bandwidth pricing in such contexts is transparently cost-related. Many institutions will purchase commodity bandwidth from a commercial provider in addition to NREN-specific bandwidth. A culture of collaboration is deeply established.
Levels of African NRENs according to the following studies:
The Role and Status of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Africa/Michael Foley (World Bank Study)
Riding the National Research and Education Networking Train in Africa: A Policy Brief for Stakeholders/Association of African Universities. The policy brief was commissioned by Nodumo Dhlamini (Director AAU ICT & Knowledge Management) as an update to a policy brief commissioned in 2007 by Boubakar Barry, then the Coordinator of the REN Unit (RENU) at the AAU. It was funded by IDRC. The author is Lishan Adam, who is well known in the African REN community.
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.