Knowledge without boundaries: Advocacy campaign in Kenya for open access and institutional repositories | EIFL

“KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

  • The University of Nairobi OA Policy was approved in December 2012 by the Senate members, who supported it overwhelmingly, and signed by the Vice Chancellor. The OA IR is now online. The policy became the third OA policy in the country following two other OA mandates adopted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s (JKUAT) Senate in April 2012 and Strathmore University in 2011.

  • Collaboration on OA advocacy between the Medical Students Association of Kenya (MSAKE), the University of Nairobi Library and the office of DVC Research, Production and Extension of the University of Nairobi has been strengthened. This has proved to be a good strategy to reach students and to work with them to ensure success of OA initiatives.

  • Ten repositories have been set up at ten institutions that participated in DSpace installation trainings, half of them are already on the web with the others are on local Intranets (pending  OA and IR policies approval by the relevant bodies).

  • Ten new OA and IR policies have been drafted, five of them have already been approved and five others are still pending approval by the Universities Management Boards and Senates.

  • Over 30 research institutions in Kenya are now aware of the importance of OA initiatives including the national policy makers. Government officials in ministries, top level managers in Higher Learning Institutions, researchers and students, ICT managers and the press are better informed about OA initiatives and many participants were ready to support their respective institutions in OA developments.

  • 300 researchers, students, research administrators and managers, publishers and policy makers were trained, which resulted in increased awareness of OA.

  • Great impact on OA Initiatives in KLISC Member Institutions and in Kenya as a whole. Was able to sensitize different stakeholders on OA initiatives….”

OASPA Member Spotlight: African Minds

In 2000, I set up a company that offered publishing services to research NGOs in South Africa. These NGOs wanted to publish their research, and we offered them design, editing, typesetting and print management services. We encouraged our clients to use print-on-demand and we set up distribution channels for their publications. By 2008, we realised that some of the NGOs wanted a publisher rather than a service provider. So we began by setting up African Minds, first as an imprint and, by 2012, as separate legal entity in the form of non-profit, public benefit trust, with a board of trustees and an editorial board.

All our books are open access with no embargo periods, and we also sell printed books; the two aren’t mutually exclusive. We explore all available dissemination channels to increase access to knowledge.  

We did some research on university presses in Africa and found that at one university over 60% of the books authored by academics at that institution over a 3-year period were published by a predatory publisher. We believe that our emphasis on working closely with authors and on being transparent contributes positively to growing the African knowledge base. We are a small team, but we try our best to deepen authors’ understanding of the publishing process by being responsive and accessible. And by placing the emphasis on access rather than on sales….

We aren’t reliant on income from book sales, so we don’t face the same challenges that commercial publishers do. Our overheads are low, and we have no permanent staff. We donate a much of our free time to running African Minds although this is beginning to change as the number of publications increases. All publishing costs are covered by the publication fees which, in turn, are paid from authors’ research funds. Although I should note that not all our titles incur publication fees. We are mindful of the fact that academics from some universities in Africa, and in some disciplines, struggle to secure research funding. In such cases, African Minds waives all publication fees. The forthcoming title, African Markets in Nairobi by Mary Njeri Kinyanjui is an example of such a title. …”

The African Open Science Platform: The Future of Science and Science for the Future

“The challenge for Africa. National science systems worldwide are struggling to adapt to this new paradigm. The alternatives are to do so or risk stagnating in a scientific backwater, isolated from creative streams of social, cultural and economic opportunity. Africa should adapt, but in its own way, and as a leader not a follower, with its own broader, more societally-engaged priorities. It should seize the challenge with boldness and resolution by creating an African Open Science Platform, with the potential to be a powerful lever of social, cultural and scientific vitality and of economic development.

The African Open Science Platform. The Platform’s mission is to put African scientists at the cutting edge of contemporary, data-intensive science as a fundamental resource for a modern society. Its building blocks are:

? a federated hardware, communications and software infrastructure, including policies and enabling practices to support open science in the digital era;

? a network of excellence in open science that supports scientists and other societal actors in accumulating and using modern data resources to maximise scientific, social and economic benefit.

These objectives will be realised through six related strands of activity:

Strand 1: A federated network of computational facilities and services.

Strand 2: Software tools and advice on policies and practices of research data management.

Strand 3: A Data Science and AI Institute at the cutting edge of data analytics.

Strand 4: Priority application programmes: e.g. cities, disease, biosphere, agriculture.

Strand 5: A Network for Education and Skills in data and information.

Strand 6: A Network for Open Science Access and Dialogue.

The document also outlines the proposed governance, membership and management structure of the Platform, the approach to initial funding, immediate priorities and targets for 3-5 year horizons.”

LIBSENSE Survey on Open Access Repositories & Librarians’ Roles – Ubuntunet Alliance Region

“Currently, according to Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), there are 255 existing Open Access repositories in Africa. To address a project of federating Open Access repositories across the multiple African regions in which they operate, the identification of key capabilities and training needs for African HEI librarians is needed.The survey aimed to produce a rounded picture of how higher education sector librarians view the enabling and constraining factors of their practice as information resource managers especially regarding the development, implementation and maintenance of Open Access Repositories….

Regarding the existence of a national policy on the management of research outputs, only 32% of the sample confirm that their respective countries have such a policy in place. As many as 45% say they do not have any such thing. As a reality check we compared these results against statistics from the Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies (ROARMAP1) and found that similarly, two types of policy seemed to exist in African countries (one related to institutions and one related to funders) and the incidence of the latter was non existent in eastern African countries and not too signficant in southern African countries. 

Meanwhile, a significant 23% are also ignorant about the existence of a national policy, exposing the gaps in advocacy, particularly for countries which have such policies….

Drawing from the above, unsurprisingly, the survey records a low incidence on the existence of national open access repositories – only 20% of respondents say they have national repositories in their countries. 64% do not have OARs and some 16% are ignorant about the existence of such in their countries….

The general consensus on the insufficiency of funding for the management of digital information resources is quite disturbing (see figure 12). Expectations on the efficiencyand availability of information resources is likely to be low if as many as 84% say that funding is inadequate…”

LIBSENSE Repository Workshop I (19-20 November 2018) · Conferences, Workshops, Trainings & Seminars (Indico)

This workshop, organized in conjunction with the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) and  EIFL, will convene library and NREN stakeholders to explore how repositories can operate embedded in NREN e-infrastructure and provide a foundation for an innovative, open, distributed and networked resource for scholarly communication and open science in Africa.

The 2-day meeting will also discuss results of the LIBSENSE survey of how higher education sector librarians view the enabling and constraining factors of their practice as information resource managers especially regarding the development, implementation and maintenance of open access repositories.

The outcomes from this workshop will be developed further in two follow-on events; in the WACREN region colocated as a side event with the 2019 conference in Accra, Ghana which takes place from 14-15 March 2019, and in the ASREN region where regional stakeholders will meet from April 27-29, 2019 at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. …”

AOSP Workshop in collaboration with UbuntuNetConnect 2017: “Towards an African Open Science Platform Infrastructure Framework” – African Open Science Platform

AOSP is proud to co-present a pre-conference workshop with the UbuntuNetConnect 2017 network on 1 November. Speakers will be focusing on skills required to not only build the necessary data infrastructure, but also the skills to generate, manage, manipulate, visualise, manage and preserve the data sets for the long term. In addition to this, we will have the opportunity to listen to ICT network experts/engineers, sharing progress made in terms of building infrastructures to accommodate the activities associated with generating, sharing and curating large volumes of data sets. This will be a very important opportunity for researchers collecting data to communicate needs in terms of data with ICT network support specialists, and vice versa….”

Open Access Africa

Open Access Africa offers you the possibility to personalize the interface, to set up your own personal library of documents, or to set up an automatic alert query that would run periodically and would notify you of search results by email….

Collections are a different way to discover content. Instead of searching, you can browse different categories and sub-categories. Curators of this repository have carefully put together content in a meaningful way. Enjoy!….”

Draft for the International Data Week Gaborone Statement-181107 – Google Docs

Google doc draft of International Data Week Gabarone statement.

“International Data Week explores the digital frontiers of global science and how governments, science systems, research institutions and researchers engage with developments that are transforming the world….

The conference explored how data can transform agriculture, education, health, and the response to health crises, Data can also contribute to social inclusion, and preservation of the environment and biodiversity.  Participants It examined the policy dimensions of Open Science and the technical implementation that enables data to be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). Furthermore, Participants drafted Indigenous data governance principles–CARE, collective benefit, authority and control, responsibility and accountability, and ethics (CARE)–that are intended to be complementary to the FAIR principles so that open data and open science consider data, people and purpose as well as data in their operations.

The value of data is enhanced by reuse.  Therefore, data should be as open as possible, as closed as necessary.  The global movement for Open Science is showing how benefits can be achieved: African researchers and research institutions should participate fully in these initiatives…..”

UBORA: an EU-African e-Infrastructure to develop innovative and collaborative health solutions | Digital Single Market

“UBORA aims at creating an EU-Africa e-Infrastructure enabling open source co-design of new solutions to face the current and future healthcare challenges of both continents. To do so the project brings together European and African universities and their associated technological hubs, biomedical prototyping laboratories and incubators, national and international policymakers, and committed stakeholders….”