Tanzania workshop on Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) | Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO of the UN) in conjunction with several partners organized a series of training workshops in 2016 and 2017 across Asia, Africa and Latin America focused on access to research in agriculture and fisheries. Earlier, workshops were held in NamibiaMyanmarTanzaniaZimbabwe, Laos PDR, Honduras and Guatemala.

The workshops are aimed at drawing attention to the scope of free online agricultural information available on Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) and International System for Agricultural Science and Technology (AGRIS) and in effectively using these resources. Alongside this core focus, the workshops raise awareness of key trends in scientific publishing in agriculture, fisheries and forestry, with a look at the further range of resources available to researchers in agricultural research, and on Research4Life

The most recent workshop was held at Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), 26-27 July 2017. In the United Republic of Tanzania, 115 national institutions are registered for free access to scientific journals and e-books through AGORA and Research4Life.”

Assessing the Landscape of Open Access to Scholarly Publications in Ethiopia – A Consultative Workshop | Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS)

“EAS, in collaboration with Education Strategy Center and the Ethiopian Education and Research Network, organized a consultative workshop on ‘Assessing the Landscape of Open Access to Scholarly Publications in Ethiopia’. The Workshop, which was held on 04 August 2017, brought together key stakeholders to explore the status of open access publishing in Ethiopia with a view to inspiring a collaborative action towards creating/maintaining a sustainable open access platform.

Open access platforms that center Ethiopians can be valuable in spotlighting and promoting scholarship among Ethiopians and making scientific knowledge accessible to the public. Prof. Masresha Fetene, Executive Director of EAS, noted that despite the increasing consensus on the benefits of open access, Ethiopia has yet to fully tap into the global open access movement. Prof. Masresha further noted that while various institutions in Ethiopia have open access initiatives, most efforts remain fragmented. Therefore, assessing the landscape of open access publications in consultation with a wide-range of stakeholders is a critical step in identifying what has been done so far in Ethiopia, the challenges under and promoting an efficient and collaborative approach towards creating and sustaining an open access platform.”

Open Access and Education: the cases of SABER and the Open Educational Resources (OER) – Inventa International

“Multiple studies carried out by international institutions, such as the UN, identified Intellectual Property Rights as partially responsible for the existence of a difference between ‘information-rich’ and ‘information-poor’ due to the exclusion they create. Thus, an approach to the management of Intellectual Property, taking into account human development and fundamental rights, has proved to be essential.

In this context, the Open Access approach to copyright management emerged as the most appropriate model to promote education through access to information and creative content.

Under this model, intellectual works, such as educational and research materials, are made available online free of charge.”

The Munyonyo Declaration: Improving Health Communication and Public Understanding

“We, the stakeholders (researchers, policymakers, and knowledge intermediaries, including journalists, broadcasters, librarians, journal editors, and others) concerned with the diffusion of health information in Uganda, gathered at Munyonyo, Kampala, from 26 to 28 April 2017, on the occasion of the first in a series of Building Bridges forums, declare that: …We will build national capacity to disseminate quality, evidence-based and timely health information by establishing a health communication network comprising researchers, policy makers, and knowledge intermediaries, such as journalists, broadcasters, librarians, and journal editors. Our immediate objectives will be: …To promote, and lobby for improved access to the best health information….”

A Moral Reflection on the Information Flow From South to North: an African Perspective : Libri

“In most discussions of the digital divide, the emphasis is on assisting developing nations by facilitating the flow of information resources from the developed countries to the developing – a North-South flow. The South-North flow of information receives less attention. A number of moral questions arise from the current state of South-North information flow, six forms of which are analysed in this paper with particular reference to Africa. The discussion is approached from an ethical perspective based on a specific moral framework based on three moral claims: (1) there exist universal information-related human rights – the right of freedom of access to information, the right of freedom of expression, and the right of individuals and groups to control the information they have generated; (2) the notion of a common good, predicated on a moral community which shares certain values, imposes an obligation to share information; and (3) justice is the main normative tool that can be used to regulate the flow of information….”

Backchannels | What a new university in Africa is doing to decolonise social sciences | Society for Social Studies of Science

“#1: By 2019, everything we assign our students will be open source

Like most institutions of higher education in Africa (and across much of the world) ALU’s library is limited. Students often deal with this by flouting copyright and piracy laws and illegally downloading material. We don’t want to train our students to become habitual law breakers. Nor do we want them to accept second-tier access to commodified knowledge.

Our aspiration is that by 2019 everything we assign in our programme will be open source. This will be achieved by building relationships with publishers, writers and industry leaders, and negotiating partnerships for equitable access to knowledge. This will ensure that a new generation of thinkers is equipped with the analytic tools they need.

It will also move towards undoing centuries of knowledge extraction from Africa to the world that has too often taken place with little benefit to the continent itself….”

The battle for free knowledge | Fin24

“The consensus seems to be that a lawsuit isn’t going to stop Sci-Hub, it’s more than likely here to stay. 

Some in the publishing industry have even suggested that the sector needs to be introspective and acknowledge that it has failed to provide fair access to researchers.

What is clear is how much power the publishing industry that services the academic world appears to have.

Two activists who have challenged that power have met with the full force of the law. One forced into suicide and the other into hiding, fearing being kidnapped for extradition.

In a time of #FeesMustFall perhaps we as South Africans should be paying more attention to this global battle.”

Students canvass open data policy – The Nation Nigeria

“In line with the global campaign for open data, students in Nigeria have urged governments at all levels to adopt open access to data as a national policy because of its benefits.

Students, under the auspices of Open Con, at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Tuesday, organised a conference, which sought to address challenges facing open access to data.

The convener, Bolutife Adisa, a 400-Level Electrical Electronic Engineering student, said adopting the policy would make online research and data freely accessible to people.

He said the policy would help improve government’s performance and give the citizenry the opportunity to make informed decisions and hold government accountable.”

Kenya leads the way for African countries to shift to more open, accessible and data-driven national agricultural policies | Diana Szpotowicz | Pulse | LinkedIn

“The event had a simple mission: to spur greater investment in agriculture and food nutrition data, especially in the G77 countries – a mission shared by the United Nations and the African Union this year.

The conference was co-convened by the Government of Kenya, the G77 Secretariat, African Union (NEPAD) and the Platform of African Farmers’ Organizations (PAFO).”

Africa tackles biohacking for healthcare | Timbuktu Chronicles

“On May 23-24, 2017, the Association for the promotion of open science in Haiti and in Africa (Apsoha) and the Yaoundé Higher institute of medical technology (ISTM) with support from the international network Open Science Hardware (Gosh), organized in the Cameroonian capital the first seminar dedicated to biohacking and open hardware equipment in healthcare: ‘Biohacking in the medical field: perspectives for developing countries’. On the first day were presented the different advances, uses and applications of DIYbio in the medical field. The second day was dedicated to workshops where participants had to apply and contextualize acquired knowledge.”