Call for Proposals – Open Repositories 2020

“The 15th International Conference on Open Repositories, OR2020, will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, from 1-4 June 2020. The organisers are pleased to invite you to contribute to the program. This year’s conference theme is: Open for all. 

In today’s world, access to knowledge by all is viewed by some as a fundamental freedom and human right. In our societies, open knowledge for all can enable sustainable development and growth on many levels. How well do repositories support knowledge in the service of society? How well do they enable local knowledge sharing and support not only academic use, but also use in education and practice? …”

 

Potential risks and solutions for sharing genome summary data from African populations | BMC Medical Genomics | Full Text

Abstract:  Genome data from African population can substantially assist the global effort to identify aetiological genetic variants, but open access to aggregated genomic data from these populations poses some significant risks of community- and population- level harms. A recent amendment to National Institutes of Health policy, following various engagements with predominantly North American scientists, requires that genomic summary results must be made available openly on the internet without access oversight or controls.

The policy does recognise that some sensitive, identifiable population groups might be harmed by such exposure of their data, and allows for exemption in these cases. African populations have a very wide and complex genomic landscape, and because of this diversity, individual African populations may be uniquely re-identified by their genomic profiles and genome summary data. Given this identifiability, combined with additional vulnerabilities such as poor access to health care, socioeconomic challenges and the risk of ethnic discrimination, it would be prudent for the National Institutes of Health to recognise the potential of their current policy for community harms to Africans; and to exempt all African populations as sensitive or vulnerable populations with regard to the unregulated exposure of their genome summary data online.

Three risk-mitigating mechanisms for sharing genome summary results from African populations to inform global genomic health research are proposed here; namely use of the Beacon Protocol developed by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, user access control through the planned African Genome Variation Database, and regional aggregation of population data to protect individual African populations from re-identification and associated harms.

Can open access bridge the gaps between science and societal impact? | AAS Open Research Blog

“Some people may consider this open access wave as a simply incremental gain, but it really is, in many ways, a revolution. As it stands, people who generate the knowledge are rarely the same people who valorize that knowledge. Instead, it is often third parties who make most value by integrating knowledge from multiple sources. This is a new descriptor of literacy, and we must pay attention to the fact that the more it is shared, the more knowledge becomes useful. Researchers must therefore realize the need to bridge efforts in within the otherwise siloed knowledge industry, with the need to community desires for impact.

I believe that liberating information so that it can be accessed by multiple brains across disciplines will create immeasurable value. Here I mean value not just to academics, but to industry, governments and societies. The adage, “knowledge is power” remains most relevant today. The more of it we have, and the wider we share it, the greater our capacity will be to address our priority needs in key sectors including energy, health, agriculture, infrastructure and education. One might say that while quantity of knowledge has a linear effect on societal impact, the extent to which it is shared will have exponential effects.  

As am writing this, I have an email from one of our Tanzania postgraduate students requesting full text of an article published in 1962 in the East African Medical Journal, which historically had fantastic ratings. The article in question contains work done in northern Tanzania but is unfortunately now behind a paywall. The student can choose to pay for access, send an email to some American or European partner who probably has paid access or repeat the experiments? As it stands, all those options remain on the table, especially since I am, perhaps unreasonably, being adamant that “all which is behind a paywall is immaterial”….”

Embracing New Trends in Scholarly Communication: From Competency Requirements in the Workplace to LIS Curriculum Presence

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Scholarly communication has undergone dramatic change in the digital era as a result of rapidly evolving digital technology. It is within this context of evolving scholarly communication that this paper reports on an inquiry into (1) the extent to which university libraries in South Africa are actively embracing new and emerging trends in scholarly communication; and (2), the extent to which LIS school curricula in South Africa are responding to new and emerging scholarly communication competencies required in university libraries. METHODS This qualitative study, located within an interpretivist epistemological worldview, was informed by the Operational Elements of Scientific Communication aspect of Khosrowjerdi’s (2011) Viable Scientific Communication Model. Data was collected using summative content analysis of university library job advertisements over a four-year period; South African university libraries’ organizational organograms; and course descriptions available on the websites of South Africa’s LIS schools. RESULTS & DISCUSSION A review of job advertisements and organograms shows that on the whole university libraries in South Africa are embracing the new and emerging trends in scholarly communication, but some university libraries are performing better than others in adopting emerging scholarly communication services such as RDM, digital humanities, or research landscape analysis. Course description analysis provides evidence that LIS schools’ curricula, as per global trend reported in the literature, do not seem to be keeping pace with developments in scholarly communication. CONCLUSION The ambivalent nature of an evolving scholarly communications field with unclear definitions and boundaries necessitates professional practitioners who are adaptable and open to change as well as an LIS education curriculum that is in constant review to seamlessly embrace an evolving field propelled by advancing digital technologies.

Embracing New Trends in Scholarly Communication: From Competency Requirements in the Workplace to LIS Curriculum Presence

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Scholarly communication has undergone dramatic change in the digital era as a result of rapidly evolving digital technology. It is within this context of evolving scholarly communication that this paper reports on an inquiry into (1) the extent to which university libraries in South Africa are actively embracing new and emerging trends in scholarly communication; and (2), the extent to which LIS school curricula in South Africa are responding to new and emerging scholarly communication competencies required in university libraries. METHODS This qualitative study, located within an interpretivist epistemological worldview, was informed by the Operational Elements of Scientific Communication aspect of Khosrowjerdi’s (2011) Viable Scientific Communication Model. Data was collected using summative content analysis of university library job advertisements over a four-year period; South African university libraries’ organizational organograms; and course descriptions available on the websites of South Africa’s LIS schools. RESULTS & DISCUSSION A review of job advertisements and organograms shows that on the whole university libraries in South Africa are embracing the new and emerging trends in scholarly communication, but some university libraries are performing better than others in adopting emerging scholarly communication services such as RDM, digital humanities, or research landscape analysis. Course description analysis provides evidence that LIS schools’ curricula, as per global trend reported in the literature, do not seem to be keeping pace with developments in scholarly communication. CONCLUSION The ambivalent nature of an evolving scholarly communications field with unclear definitions and boundaries necessitates professional practitioners who are adaptable and open to change as well as an LIS education curriculum that is in constant review to seamlessly embrace an evolving field propelled by advancing digital technologies.

No borders on knowledge? WIPO debates key question | EIFL

“EIFL will join copyright experts, librarians, educators and government representatives in Geneva to debate a key question facing libraries, archives and museums today: will copyright barriers to accessing knowledge be removed?…

In developing countries, where easy access to knowledge is critical for education and socio-economic development, the situation is particularly acute. For example, out of 53 countries surveyed in Africa in the WIPO study by Professor Kenneth Crews, 13 countries have no exception for libraries, only one country allows inter-library document delivery, and no countries permit cross-border exchange. …”

 

Book Dash: The power of open ?

“Book Dash is defined by its philosophy of open source: our books are published under an open license (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0), our sources files are open (on the website for anyone to access and use) and our model of content creation is open (the 12-hour Book Dash events have been replicated in Nigeria, Angola, Laos, Cambodia and France). The power of open extends our reach logarithmically: it enables our books to be read by people in places that we would never have reached if we had a more traditional approach to copyright. Anyone can adapt, translate, animate, download, print, distribute and even sell our books, because our license imposes no restrictions. 

In this newsletter we have rounded up a few examples of the interesting, weird and wonderful amplifications, applications and adaptations of the Book Dash books, powered by our open philosophy.

1. Google’s Rivet uses our books

Rivet is a new free reading app from Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects. They scoured the internet, and found 250 open licensed books that they felt were of a high enough quality to use, and 100 of these were Book Dash books. These books, created by South African volunteer creatives, continue to be top-performers on the app (which has 1 million downloads). …”

Guest post: Overview of the African Open Access Landscape, with a Focus on Scholarly Publishing – News Service

“The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) – during October 2016 until October 2019, conducted a landscape study (Academy of Science of South Africa, 2019) of what is happening on the continent in terms of Open Science and progress made regarding Open Access. This formed part of the pilot African Open Science Platform, in preparation of building an actual platform addressing the collaborative needs experienced by scientists in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Awareness regarding Open Access is evident through the

12 Open Science-related (Open Access/Open Data/Open Science) declarations and agreements endorsed or signed by African governments (Academy of Science of South Africa, 2019);
196 Open Access journals from Africa registered on the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ);
174 Open Access institutional research repositories registered on OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories);
33 Open Access/Open Science policies registered on ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies);
24 data repositories registered with the Registry of Data Repositories (re3data.org) (although the pilot project identified 66 research data repositories);
and one data repository assigned the CoreTrustSeal. Although this is a start, far more needs to be done to align all African research practices with global standards….”

Trends in Preprints | The Official PLOS Blog

“It’s not only PLOS-facilitated preprinting that is on the up, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of authors telling us they’ve already posted a preprint of their manuscript before submitting to a PLOS journal….

PLOS’ preprint posting service appears to be very popular among scientists based in African institutions. While we have posted the highest volume of preprints from the USA, China and European countries, it is African countries that dominate our opt ins – with eight of the ten highest opt in rates. At the top of the list are Uganda and Tanzania, where over 30% of corresponding authors chose to post a preprint at submission….”