On a knife edge? South Africa’s new copyright law | EIFL

“The Copyright Amendment Bill [B13B – 2017] had been sitting on the desk of President Cyril Ramaphosa for over a year waiting to be signed into law. In June 2020, when Blind South Africa issued a legal challenge over the delay, the President acted. But instead of signing the Bill that had been approved by the legislature, the President used his prerogative to return it to parliament citing constitutional concerns with certain aspects, including new exceptions for libraries, education and persons with disabilities.

The President’s rejection of the Bill is widely seen as the result of pressure by copyright industries, and the threat of trade sanctions and reduced future investment from the United States and the European Union. …

In advance of the briefing, EIFL wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly and to the Portfolio Committee to pledge support for the Bill. EIFL’s letter sets out how libraries and educational institutions in South Africa, and the millions of South Africans citizens they serve, will benefit greatly from new exceptions designed for non-commercial uses. They will help to re-calibrate the existing copyright system in South Africa which forces resource-deprived institutions to pay high licence fees to largely European and US companies. (For example, the 2011 Copyright Review Commission Report, known as the Farlam Review, confirmed that 70% of copying fees paid by higher education institutions in the previous year were distributed to foreign rightsholders). While this is a windfall for these companies, it is in our view, bad public policy for South Africa.

EIFL’s letter also notes that the exceptions in the Bill are modelled on provisions in the copyright laws of developed countries including Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore, the UK and the US, that the Bill seeks merely to ensure that libraries and educational institutions in South Africa have the same rights than their counterparts in these countries, and any concerns that they may be inconsistent with South Africa’s obligations under international copyright treaties are misplaced….”

Building an Open Access repository in Eritrea with limited resources – Open Repositories 2021

“A huge part of Eritrean Archival collections date back to the colonial time and armed struggle. All research outputs, records, reports, theses and other work is still not automated and captured. Instead, a huge amount is produced in  physical paper and forgotten in shelves far from the reach for scholars. Hence, this poster is expected to share the know-hows on how such complex data production can become a reality as an Open Repository and contribute to the democratization of knowledge to the citizens of the country.”

Crafting an OER network in Ghana using IndieWeb building blocks – Open Repositories 2021

“Many students are unable to finish their first degrees due to the high cost of higher education in Ghana. Many universities in Ghana lacks access to rich online educational materials to provide an alternative learning module for students who can not afford the standard university education.

This poster focuses on how we are using IndieWeb building blocks to help students and educators to create Open Educational resources. Our program provides free personal websites to students and educators to curate and create OERs on their own websites, the community then write or remix these resources to develop collections of community-approved OER….”

Measuring the impact of institutional repositories in selected Zimbabwean State Universities – Open Repositories 2021

“There is a dearth of empirical evidence in Africa to support the assertion that IRs have made research output easily accessible, visible and citable as acknowledged by some scholars. The study assessed the extent to which archived content is cited by publications indexed in Scopus. Five IRs in Zimbabwean state universities were analysed. Scopus cited references search facility was used to mine for documents citing IR content from 2014 to 2018. Results from Scopus searches were exported into text files then transported to excel workbooks for filtering and analysis. The impact of an IR was analysed from two perspectives; cited and citing documents characteristics. Results show that on average 8.6 documents per year were cited for all IRs combined within the 5 year period selected for the study. The most cited document types were thesis and dissertations followed by research articles. The University of Zimbabwe IR was found to be the most influential, with 34 citers affiliated in 12 countries. A new measure of IR research impact based on Scopus was put forward.”

Open Access in Africa, Institutional Repository Development and Open Science Challenges | Open Research Community

“In Africa, despite the presence of regional frameworks for the promotion of Open Access and Open Research, such as LIBSENSE comprising local and international stakeholders, e.g., the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN), National Institute of Informatics (Japan), and OpenAIRE, their outcomes include networking workshops, regional surveys and policy and metadata guidelines. This could be due to a lack of national Open Access policies, the insufficient development of institutional repositories and below par funding and expertise levels in individual countries….

Nevertheless, Côte d’Ivoire has successfully launched a country-level Open Access repository, in Ethiopia university and government ecosystems have managed to implement effective Open Access policies for repositories, journals and infrastructures and other African countries, such as Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda, have finalized their national policies for data and repository management. Yet, in this region, the progress of Open Science is likely to be slowed by language barriers, such as the prevalence of Arabic in North Africa and French in Western and Central Africa….”

AfricArXiv Preprints | No Better Time to Practice Open Science Than Now

“This is a guest speaker presentation given at the virtual Open Science Fellows Program 2020 in Berlin. The presentation captures the speakers perspectives on Open Science where he related it to the story of William Kamkwamba from Malawi, his journey through Open Science and Projects and Initiatives that are making use of Open Science in overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 today.”

AfricArXiv Preprints | No Better Time to Practice Open Science Than Now

“This is a guest speaker presentation given at the virtual Open Science Fellows Program 2020 in Berlin. The presentation captures the speakers perspectives on Open Science where he related it to the story of William Kamkwamba from Malawi, his journey through Open Science and Projects and Initiatives that are making use of Open Science in overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 today.”

Advert: Director: African Open Science Platform (AOSP) | National Research Foundation

“The NRF seeks to appoint a Director on a 5-year fixed term contract within the Division for Strategy, Planning and Partnerships to lead and manage the AOSP. This individual will be joining a cohort of highly talented, knowledgeable and committed individuals.

The incumbent shall be responsible for leading the further development and implementation of the scientific and organisational objectives of the AOSP Strategy in providing effective, responsive and efficient administration and support. The incumbent will be responsible for staffing and directing the AOSP programmes based at the NRF in Pretoria, South Africa, and will take accountability to direct a proactive focus on advancing open science, data and infrastructure sharing and human capacity development, with the ultimate goal of building long-term relationships with key stakeholders….”

IDEAL, the Infectious Diseases of East African Livestock Project Open Access Database and Biobank – PubMed

Abstract:  The Infectious Diseases of East African Livestock (IDEAL) project was a longitudinal cohort study of calf health which was conducted in Western Kenya between 2007-2010. A total of 548 East African shorthorn zebu calves were recruited at birth and followed at least every 5 weeks during the first year of life. Comprehensive clinical and epidemiological data, blood and tissue samples were collected at every visit. These samples were screened for over 100 different pathogens or infectious exposures, using a range of diagnostic methods. This manuscript describes this comprehensive dataset and bio-repository, and how to access it through a single online site ( http://data.ctlgh.org/ideal/ ). This provides extensive filtering and searching capabilities. These data are useful to illustrate outcomes of multiple infections on health, investigate patterns of morbidity and mortality due to parasite infections, and to study genotypic determinants of immunity and disease.

Open Science (coordinated by UNESCO)

“Open Science is increasingly seen as “Science for the Future” and the “Future of Science”. Science is not necessarily accessible by all, inclusive and readily available. Science can contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNESCO was tasked to lead a global dialogue on Open Science, to identify globally-agreed norms and practices in order to create a standard-setting instrument.

The session will address what open science means for Africa, the challenges and opportunities for making science accessible to all, assess the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, and identify concrete measures advance science in Africa…”