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.
Please join us for the session on the African Open Science Platform (AOSP) and progress made on strategic and decision-making level, as experienced by country representatives. Registration is free, but attendees will be responsible for covering own expenses (no scholarships available unfortunately).
Date: 7 December 2017
Time: 09:00 – 09:30
Venue: Garnet Room, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. Maps at http://www.sfsa.co.za/contact/
The African Open Science Platform: Towards an Open Science Framework for African countries
The purpose of the African Open Science Platform is to explore progress made in terms of sharing scientific/research data by African researchers, especially where the research has been funded with public money. At the same time, the project wishes to establish what is needed to make the sharing of scientific/research data possible, and provide information on interventions required to get on par with the international scientific community where open science and open data are concerned.
This Science Talk hopes to identify challenges and receive input from researchers/scientists in the audience on how to promote the sharing of research data. The responses received from the audience will feed into/inform the African Open Science Platform framework. Challenges will be aligned with the 4 pillars of the African Open Science Platform project:
- Which approach(es) should be followed to create awareness and encourage national government and policy decision makers towards data management (open science) policies, and the importance thereof?
- Which incentives would encourage researchers to share their data in an open science environment?
- What skills and software expertise are required for an entry-level data scientist, who wants to make the transition to working with data in an online environment?
- What are the ICT infrastructure needs researchers experience in order to openly share research data/ what do researchers need to easily curate and share their data?
We are looking very much forward seeing you there!
October has been quite a busy month for the African Open Science Platform project. Herewith additional presentations shared by different people during different opportunities, not shared before. The project belongs to all in Africa, and we highly value contributions from experts willing to share their expertise, and also taking initiative in liaising with us on events, meetings and more. Thank you so much for your contributions in taking open data/open science forward in your individual countries!
High-level EU-Africa Meeting presentation by Prof Geoffrey Boulton, member of the Advisory Council, AOSP
The African Open Science Platform/Prof Geoffrey Boulton
Presentation during the UbuntuNetConnect 2017 Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
“Without data, science is merely an opinion”/Ina Smith
Series of webinars on incentives for sharing data, presented during Open Access Week 2017
Incentivizing data sharing: a “bottom up” perspective/Dr Louise Bezuidenhout
Open science and data sharing/Prof Martinn Wittenberg
Open Science Incentives/Veerle van den Eynden
The African Open Science Platform partnered with the organisers of the UbuntuNetConnect 2017 conference and hosted a workshop – focusing on data infrastructure and capacity building – to 65 participants from all over Africa. From previous workshops presented, it was evident that Ethiopia faces the same needs in terms of open science policy, infrastructure to exchange and make data openly available, and capacity building.
Prof. Afework Kassu (State Minister for Science and Technology, Ethiopia) welcomed all, and during his opening made the comment that openness should be embraced towards global peace. He further said that we need to lay the foundation for future citizens. We also need universities and industries to work together to promote further innovations. The important role of digital library systems to benefit students and staff was highlighted. A Science Cloud, and Science Cafes in the city for citizens to benefit from, are just two of the very successful initiatives. He ended by saying that Africa needs a continental strategy for Science and Technology towards addressing the objectives of the United Nations 2063 agenda.
View the workshop programme by clicking here.
Presentations are available from the following links:
Perspectives from the African Open Science Platform/Susan Veldsman
Ethiopia Open Data/Open Science Agenda/Teklemichael T. Wordafa
Data Carpentry/Anelda van der Walt
Role and Progress by UbuntuNet Alliance and NRENs/Pascal Hoba & Hastings Ndebvu
Ethiopian Cyberinfrastructure/Zelalem Assefa
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.