Category Archives: Africa

From Open Access to Open Science and Open Data: ELPUB2018

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).

Scientists and subscription journals tussling for power/Fatima Arkin

Great to learn that there is more adoption for openness among researchers, and support for open access journals! For a list of trusted high quality open access journals, see the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Editors can further explore using PKP OJS to host African journals (PKP OJS is open source software, and used by journals worldwide – code open for African developers to install and also contribute/give back to the community). It would be great to see African journals publishing and managing African research to address African problems and find African solutions, complemented by research done elsewhere in the world, and aligning with research elsewhere, in an online, open and transparent environment. PKP OJS also has a Dataverse Plugin to upload data sets in support of research articles – making the research data openly available for others to build on existing research, what AOSP is further promoting.

In a presentation by Jean-Claude Burgelmann on the implementation of a European Research Cloud (endorsed by EU Ministers), one of the proposed actions included researchers being reimbursed for APCs when publishing in OA journals listed in DOAJ.

It is indeed interesting times, and very exciting to monitor progress in terms of openness throughout the research lifecycle.

———————————————

Scientists and subscription journals tussling for power/Fatima Arkin

https://www.scidev.net/global/publishing/feature/scientists-and-subscription-journals-tussling-for-power.html

“A recent controversy triggers long-standing debate over subscription vs open- access journals. Fatima Arkin reports.

Scientists are getting more and more interested in open-access journals. They see the advantages: more citations of their work, and a favourable eye from publishers, especially those based in Europe, who face political pressure to veer towards open access.

But two years shy of a deadline set by the European Union to make all publicly funded scientific papers in the region open-access, some publishers continue to introduce new subscription-based journals — and in the process, face pushback from the global scientific community.”

Invitation: Nominate Africa’s Leading Workplace eLearning Professionals

This email to invite you to nominate candidates for the Top 50 most influential Africans in workplace eLearning. This list of Africa’s leading thought leaders, opinion formers and practitioners in eLearning in the workplace in both the corporate and public sectors is scheduled to be published shortly before this year’s eLearning Africa conference, which will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 26th to 28th September. This list, which will be published under the ‘Bob Little’ brand, should draw worldwide attention to the eLearning activities going on throughout Africa.

If there is anybody you think should be considered to be on this list, please feel free to nominate them using the form at the end this message which you can send by return email.

Eligibility/ Judging Criteria
The selection/ eligibility criteria for names on the African Workplace eLearning Movers and Shakers List will be the same as for the ‘main’ List. That is:

People named on the List will be influential within the workplace e-learning sector both within their country and the continent. Those who are  influential on a wider geographic scale will tend to rank higher than those who are influential “only” on a national level.

Although academics can be named on this list, they should be considered only in so far as their work influences those in the corporate world in Africa.

The list is compiled on the basis of a person’s perceived current influence on the workplace online learning industry – as a practitioner, commentator, facilitator and/or thought leader. In today’s social media influenced age, this tends to give social media users, especially bloggers, a greater “international profile” and “thought leader influence” than, say, practitioners. Nonetheless, the judges will try to take account of the work and influence of “pure” industry practitioners, including those who are active “behind the scenes”. These people have a significant, if often unseen, influence over the industry.

When considering who you will nominate for this List, please consider which online learning practitioners, commentators, facilitators and/or thought leaders most inspire and influence you – and your colleagues.

If you need further guidance, please view the main Corporate eLearning Movers and Shakers’ List.

For the sake of continuity – and credibility for both lists – it would be good to reflect this in the Africa List. However, the Africa List should focus on those who’re influential in eLearning across the continent of Africa, rather than those from Africa who’re influential on the world stage.

What’s Involved
To produce the List, please complete the template ‘entry form’ below.

Please supply the required details of as many people as you feel meet the criteria to be included on the List.

Please note that you cannot nominate yourself. However, your name could be on the List if another ‘nominator’ includes you on their list. The Nomination Form is attached and please copy – and complete – this template for each person you want to nominate. You can nominate as many (different) people as you wish – but, please, only submit one nomination per individual nominee.

Please return these nomination forms to me, via email, by June 30. I will forward them to Bob Little. Then he and his team will validate the nominations, carry out further research and then produce the Movers and Shakers’ List for Africa.

I am very grateful for your help with compiling this List of the Movers and Shakers for Workplace eLearning in Africa, which I believe will help highlight these people on the world stage of eLearning.

A Workplace eLearning Movers and Shakers’ List for Africa

Nomination Form

I would like to nominate – for inclusion in the Workplace eLearning Movers and Shakers’ List for Africa, 2018:

Name of nominee:   
Country of origin  
Country in which they currently work (if different)  
Nominee’s Job Role:  
Nominee’s Organisation:  
Nominee’s LinkedIn profile reference:  
Nominee’s other social media outlets:  
Why do you believe that this person should be on the List?  
Any other relevant information:  

I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards,
Rebecca Stromeyer

_________________________________

Rebecca Stromeyer
Founder and Director
eLearning Africa

Leibnizstrasse 32
10625 Berlin
Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)30 310 18 18-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 324 98 33
E-Mail : rebecca.stromeyer@icwe.net
Skype: rebeccastromeyer
www.elearning-africa.com
www.icwe.net

Research Data Management Course presented by UCT (starting 21 Sept 2018)

The Library and Information Studies Centre at the University of Cape Town, South Africa offers a master’s level course in Research Data Management (Course Code LIS5029S) that is ideal for persons and/or organisations seeking continuing professional development in this new skills areas:

Lifecycle Models | Data Management Planning | Policy Analysis & Development | Challenges to Data Curation

The full fee schedule with the official amounts is in the Fees Handbook available here: http://www.students.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/434/study/handbooks/2018/2018_Fees_Booklet_FINAL14052018.pdf

Duration

6 weeks, starting 21 September 2018. Closing date for application: 20 July 2018.

Entry requirements: NQF level 8 (SA Honours or equivalent). Blended online/contact format ideal for students based outside of Cape Town. The course equals 24 credits.

The bulk of the lectures are online, but there are two contact days when students are required to be on campus in Cape Town (8 and 9 October 2018).

Apply by 20 July 2018

To apply, visit http://applyonline.uct.ac.za (On application, apply for Occasional Postgraduate Studies: Level of Qualification: Postgrad Non-Degree; Faculty: Humanities) 

Inquiries

Library and Information Studies Centre, University of Cape Town email: lisc@uct.ac.za or tel.: +27 (0)21 650 4546.

Course Convener: Michelle Kahn Email: michelle.kahn@uct.ac.za

Costs

The course fee for the Research Data Management course (LIS5029S) for 2018 is ZAR8 930-00 (excluding application fees and any other fees that apply such as international student fees). The full fee schedule with the official amounts is in the Fees Handbook available here: http://www.students.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/434/study/handbooks/2018/2018_Fees_Booklet_FINAL14052018.pdf

African Journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals

In an effort to make African scholarly research output more visible, we would like to better understand which journals are currently published in each country in Africa, and also which journals are available as Open Access. Many academic libraries have started offering scholarly journal hosting services using OJS (Open Journal Systems) software, in addition to hosting institutional repositories using open source software such as DSpace.

Through the Directory of Open Access Journal initiative (DOAJ), we would like to encourage all African librarians to assist African journals to make the transition to online and open access. If the journal is already online and open access, please apply for the journal to be included in DOAJ by completing the online form.

The African DOAJ Ambassadors would be more than prepared working with you in making your journal becoming DOAJ compliant. The DOAJ Ambassadors for the African continent include:

Kamel Belhamel (North Africa) kamel@doaj.org

Pascal Soubeiga (West Africa) pascal@doaj.org

Solomon Mekonnen (East Africa) solomon@doaj.org

Ina Smith (Southern Africa) ina@doaj.org

The number of scholarly journals per country in Southern Africa included in DOAJ (please visit DOAJ for other African countries):

Angola: 0

Botswana: 0

Democratic Republic of the Congo: 1

Lesotho: 0

Madagascar: 0

Malawi: 0

Mauritius: 2

Mozambique: 0

Namibia: 0

Seychelles: 0

South Africa: 89

Eswatini (Swaziland): 0

Tanzania: 0

Zambia: 0

Zimbabwe: 0

Another report shared by Kamel Belhamel via Twitter:

Brief feedback on the SA-EU Open Science Workshop, 15-16 May 2018, Pretoria, SA

Similar to many other African countries, the South African Dept. of Science and Technology (DST) has – in partnership with the European Union (EU) – started a dialogue on an Open Science policy framework for the country. Open Science is no longer an option since major world economies and industries are adopting this approach to advance innovation (Open Innovation), to tackle global challenges as defined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The first of the meetings took place on 12-13 December 2016, followed by a workshop on 30 Nov – 1 Dec 2017. An expert task team was assigned and compiled an interim report following input from all relevant stakeholders, to further direct the process and the drafting of a framework, supported by the DST steering committee. The report set the global and specifically South African context, demonstrating coherence between global aspirations and the South African National Development Plan 2013. Topic areas covering the major issues concerning Open Science were identified, incl. Open Data, Open Science and Open Innovation, Governance and Regulations, Skills and Training, Infrastructure, Funding, Metrics and Incentives, Citizen Science, Intellectual Property Rights, and Implications for Africa and the SADC.

The above topics were further unpacked during a second workshop on 15-16 May 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. Responsibilities, key stakeholders, funding requirements, the level of priority for each of the topics, and more, were discussed.

Dr J-C Burgelman, Head of the Unit Open Data and Science Cloud Policy, European Commission (EC) delivered a virtual presentation on Open Science and FP9, and progress made in terms of the European Open Science Policy. The 8 policy priorities identified by the EC include Open Data, Science Cloud, Altmetrics, Future of Scholarly Communication, Rewards, Research Integrity, Education and Skills, and Citizen Science. Progress made in terms of the priorities were shared, as well as possible future actions. Two documents were highlighted, which can potentially inform policy-makers elsewhere:

Dr Anwar Vahed explained the role of the CSIR (DST) implemented National Integrated Cyberinfrastructure System (NICIS) with the focus on DIRISA. NICIS comprises of the following:

  • Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) – focusing on computing services
  • SA Research and Education Network (SANReN) – focusing on network provision and services
  • Data Intensive Research Initiative of SA (DIRISA) – focusing on data management & data storage

Dr Simon Hodson provided an overview of open science development on a global level. He discussed the rationale behind the need for open science and data to be FAIR, and shared examples of developments in donor and journal policies. The SA Open Science policy aligns with the vision of the African Open Science Platform project,  forming part of an international ecosystem driving science and innovation.  View the presentation by Dr Hodson at the following:

Open Science Globally: Some Developments/Dr Simon Hodson

High-performance computing capability, high-speed network capacity and a national research data infrastructure integrated hierarchically into globally connected systems and into local system systems, providing seamless access for the research and education communities, are important services for African governments to consider, to further advance collaborative research projects and the sharing of research data among researchers globally. Representatives from the three regional African NRENs attended this 2-day workshop (Dr Pascal Hoba from UbuntuNet, Dr Ousmane Moussa Tessa – represented Dr Boubakar Barry from WACREN, and Dr Yousef  Torman from ASREN), to also benefit from this workshop, which followed the 1-day AOSP ICT Infrastructure Meeting in Support of Data Sharing, also attended by them.

Through sharing policy interventions and experiences, as well as initiatives such as lessons learned through NICIS, it is expected that a lot of progress can be made by countries across Africa.

The above dialogue is managed and funded by the SA Dept. of Science and Technology.

Reliable ICT Infrastructure a condition for research data sharing – African NRENs to play an important role

Whether it will be called a guideline, a roadmap or a framework – all participants during the AOSP ICT Infrastructure meeting held on 14 May 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa were in agreement that a document guiding African countries in preparing ICT infrastructures in support of research data sharing, will be of benefit to all. The one day meeting brought together key stakeholders. African regional NRENs (National Research Education Networks) attendees included Dr Pascal Hoba (Chief Executive Officer, UbuntuNet Alliance), Dr Ousmane Moussa Tessa (Chief Executive Officer, NigerREN  & member of the WACREN Board, on behalf of Dr Boubakar Barry (Executive Director, WACREN), Dr Yousef Torman (Managing Director, ASREN) and Dr Leon Staphorst (Executive Director, SANRen).

The objective of this meeting was to help NRENs better understand the needs experienced by collaborative data intensive research projects, and for NRENs to consider future service delivery in support of research data. The three projects represented included H3ABioNet (Prof Nicky Mulder, Head: Computational Biology, UCT & Lead: H3ABioNet), GBIF (Dr Mélianie Raymond, Senior Programme Officer for Node Development, GBIF Secretariat) and Dr Jasper Horrell (representing the Square Kilometre Array Organisation, SA).

The GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) is a free open source software tool used to publish and share biodiversity datasets through the GBIF network. The IPT can also be configured with either a DataCite or EZID account in order to assign DOIs to datasets transforming it into a data repository. Dr Raymond during her presentation indicated that more portals, laptops/workstations and IPT installations for selected nodes are required to enhance the sharing and visibility of biodiversity data. Capacity building needs include training of researchers, students, lecturers and more in digitization, data cleaning, data publishing, and data analysis, towards more relevant and sustainable data use in support of decision making concerning biodiversity conservation.

H3ABioNet provides support for the H3Africa Human, Heredity & Health in Africa Consortium, which focuses on the study of genomics and environmental determinants of common diseases, with the goal of improving the health of African populations. Prof Mulder shared the limitations that apply when sharing human data, and the importance of protecting the rights and privacy of human subjects when participating in research studies. The project follows a well-established workflow using open source software tools, at the same time having policies built into the various stages of working with the data. As with biodiversity, skills need to be constantly developed, and infrastructure needs to be maintained and upgraded. A challenge faced by funded projects is that collected data needs to be curated when projects come to an end, and it is for governments to discuss as to whether data is regarded as a national asset, and who will fund the long-term curation of the data.

According to Dr Jasper Horrell from the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDiA), key science on the SKA will be achieved by large-scale survey programs executed by globally distributed teams of researchers and through creating massive data. A cloud computing system that utilizes the OpenStack Infrastructure as a Service framework has been established by IDiA.  OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface. This ideal for the large amounts of data that is expected to be collected through the telescopes.

Regional NRENs represented indicated that they are in full support of working with AOSP on developing and populating a framework as part of service delivery to their research communities, and to also invite national NRENs in their respective regions to explore opportunities. Important elements to be included in such a document have been identified, and the group will continue as a working group, building on what is already in place through the SADC Cyberinfrastructure Framework, of which an overview was provided by Prof Colin Wright. This framework was approved by SADC ministers in June 2016, and the next step would be to revisit the existing framework and to adapt – where needed – for the whole of Africa, with input from key stakeholders across Africa. It was also clear that – through possible partnerships and lessons learned from KENET, IlifuDIRISA, Sci-GaIA and more, the design, development and implementation of ICT infrastructures in support of data sharing and curation can become a reality – sooner rather than later.

The AOSP ICT Infrastructure Framework will be tested during various stages and across different domains, before it will be finalized to be shared with African countries interested in advancing the sharing and responsible management of data.

Also view the following presentations:

The African Open Science Platform/Susan Veldsman

Framework and Roadmap towards an Open Science Infrastructure/Simon Hodson

Introduction to GBIF for the African Open Science Platform/Mélianie Raymond

Research Infrastructures H3ABioNet Case Study/Nicky Mulder

Data Infrastructure Development for the SKA/Jasper Horrell

Reflections on the SADC Infrastructure Framework/Colin Wright

Call for Participation in IDW2018

We would like to invite you to participate in International Data Week 2018, in any of the following ways:

About IDW2018

International Data Week 2018 (IDW 2018) will be held on 5-8 November 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana. Hosted by the Botswana Open Science and Open Data Forum, IDW 2018 will bring together data scientists, researchers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, policymakers and data stewards from all disciplines and geographies across the globe.

Co-organized by the ICSU World Data System (WDS), the ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the Research Data Alliance (RDA), University of Botswana (UoB) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), IDW 2018 combines the 12th RDA Plenary Meeting, the bi-annual 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.

In a hyper-connected 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. With the theme of ‘The Digital Frontiers of Global Science’, this landmark event will be a rich week of science and data, featuring world renowned keynote speakers, plenary panels and discussions, and the presentation of high quality research and practical working sessions for international collaborations.  Focus topics will include:

  • Research issues in a global and digital age
  • Applications, progress and challenges of data intensive research
  • Data infrastructure and enabling practices for international and collaborative research

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.

Thank you for your support to help make this event a success, putting the focus on data intensive research happening on the African continent.

On behalf of the IDW2018 Programme Committee