Opinion: Why we’re becoming a Digital Public Good — and why we aren’t | Devex

“A few months ago, Medtronic LABS made the decision to open source our digital health platform SPICE, and pursue certification as a Digital Public Good. DPGs are defined by the Digital Public Good Alliance as: “Open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the Sustainable Development Goals.” The growing momentum around DPGs in global health is relatively new, coinciding with the launch of the U.N. Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation in 2020. The movement aims to put governments in the driver’s seat, promote better collaboration among development partners, and reduce barriers to the digitization of health systems.”

Empirical validation of IR sustainability model: leveraging on a PLS-SEM approach | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose This study aims to validate a proposed conceptual model for the implementation of sustainable institutional repositories (IRs) in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative approach shaped the survey research design. This study used structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis to evaluate the proposed model. The population of the study comprises 117 librarians, information technology staff and researchers knowledgeable about IR implementation status across 14 public universities in Nigeria. The data was collected using an online survey. The Smart-PLS v3.3 software was used to facilitate the analysis.

Findings

The findings indicate that the nine identified factors of the IR sustainability model have a significant influence on the implementation of sustainable IRs. This signified that the model has adequately depicted the relationship between the implementation of sustainable IRs and the identified factors.

Originality/value

This study provides an integrated synthesis of factors that influence the implementation of sustainable IRs. This study also presents the first-ever empirically validated model for sustainable IRs. The findings of this study addressed the challenge of implementing sustainable IRs and institutionalized the idea of IRs’ sustainability assessment.

The evolving role of research ethics committees in the era of open data | South African Journal of Bioethics and Law

Abstract:  While open science gains prominence in South Africa with the encouragement of open data sharing for research purposes, there are stricter laws and regulations around privacy – and specifically the use, management and transfer of personal information – to consider. The Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (POPIA), which came into effect in 2021, established stringent requirements for the processing of personal information and has changed the regulatory landscape for the transfer of personal information across South African borders. At the same time, draft national policies on open science encourage wide accessibility to data and open data sharing in line with international best practice. As a result, the operation of research ethics committees (RECs) in South Africa is affected by the conflicting demands of the shift towards open science on the one hand, and the stricter laws protecting participants’ personal information and the transfer thereof, on the other. This article explores the continuing evolving role of RECs in the era of open data and recommends the development of a data transfer agreement (DTA) for the ethical management of personal health information, considering the challenges that RECs encounter, which centres predominantly on privacy, data sharing and access concerns following advances in genetic and genomic research and biobanking.

 

RePP Africa – a georeferenced and curated database on existing and proposed wind, solar, and hydropower plants | Scientific Data

Abstract:  Promoting a transition to low-carbon energy systems to mitigate climate change requires an optimization of renewable energy (RE) planning. However, curated data for the most promising RE technologies, hydro-, wind and solar power, are missing, which limits data-based decision-making support. Here, a spatially explicit database for existing and proposed renewable power plants is provided: The Renewable Power Plant database for Africa (RePP Africa) encompasses 1074 hydro-, 1128 solar, and 276 wind power plant records. For each power plant, geographic coordinates, country, construction status, and capacity (in megawatt) are reported. The number of RePP Africa records exceeds the respective values in other existing open-access databases and matches available cumulative capacity data reported by international energy organizations best with deviations <13% for hydro-, <23% for wind, and <32% for solar power plants. This contemporary database is the most harmonized open-accessible reference source on RE power plants across Africa for stakeholders from science, (non-)governmental organizations, consulting, and industry; providing a fundamental data basis for the development of an integrated sustainable RE mix.

 

New project: Open science cloud infrastructure and training for communities in Latin America and Africa

“We are excited to share that the grant proposal that the IOI team contributed to, titled “A Collaborative Interactive Computing Service Model for Global Communities”, has been awarded funding by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative….

The goal of this proposal is to create a collaborative cloud infrastructure service that enables community-based cloud-native workflows in the biosciences. Together with our collaborators, we will promote values of open and inclusive community practices, infrastructure that enables these practices, and a “train-the-trainers” approach that empowers community leaders to share expertise in cloud infrastructure with others in their communities. Our focus will be on communities in Latin America and Africa, and we hope to learn how this model could be extended to other global communities that are historically marginalized from large-scale scientific infrastructure projects….”

Continental Platform | University of Cape Town

“The continental platform allows the African research community to take ownership of creating and sharing its own scholarly content, which contributes to the growth and development of local research for African society. The publishing platform addresses the challenge of Africa’s low production by practicing diamond open access, that is knowledge is free to access for the reader and the author does not pay to publish. In this model, diamond open access is a community-based publishing alternative model that disrupts the commercial publishing system. This shift returns the control of publishing back to the researcher community; free from third-party publishers imposing their restrictions to access.

The continental platform consist of open access journals and open access monographs and textbooks.

If any African institution would like to publish open journals or open monographs/textbooks on this continental platform, please contact Jill Claassen, Section Manager: Scholarly Communication and Research…”

How Africa is overcoming ‘knowledge colonialism’ – 360

“But as the world starts to question why access to knowledge is controlled by a small group of corporate publishers, African scientists are developing their own platform for sharing research findings. It’s sparking interest from other regions around the world. 

The stakes could not be higher. In exchange for making scientific papers free to read — open access — the corporate publishers will often charge an up-front fee to the scientist. This is a win-win for the publishers, who secure payment either way. 

Many nations have negotiated country-wide deals with publishers allowing their scientists to publish and read articles. During these negotiations in South Africa, one publisher inadvertently let slip that in determining the up-front fee for a South African scientist, the publisher weighed up whether the journal had a high ‘impact factor’ and the number of articles South Africa was likely to publish as open access.

The calculations mean a South African scientist is paying almost 200 percent more in up-front fees than a UK scientist (or their institution). If South African scientists have access to read high impact journals (while not necessarily publishing in them) via such nation-wide agreements then it pushes up the up-front fee….”

Frontiers | Open access and its potential impact on public health – A South African perspective

Abstract:  Traditionally, access to research information has been restricted through journal subscriptions. This means that research entities and individuals who were unable to afford subscription costs did not have access to journal articles. There has however been a progressive shift toward electronic access to journal publications and subsequently growth in the number of journals available globally. In the context of electronic journals, both open access and restricted access options exist. While the latter option is comparable to traditional, subscription-based paper journals, open access journal publications follow an “open science” publishing model allowing scholarly communications and outputs to be publicly available online at no cost to the reader. However, for readers to enjoy open access, publication costs are shifted elsewhere, typically onto academic institutions and authors. SARS-CoV-2, and the resulting COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the benefits of open science through accelerated research and unprecedented levels of collaboration and data sharing. South Africa is one of the leading open access countries on the African continent. This paper focuses on open access in the South African higher education research context with an emphasis on our Institution and our own experiences. It also addresses the financial implications of open access and provides possible solutions for reducing the cost of publication for researchers and their institutions. Privacy in open access and the role of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) in medical research and secondary use of data in South Africa will also be discussed.

 

TCC Africa Promoting Open Science Policy Dialogue at the World Science Forum | Training Centre in Communication (TCC AFRICA)Training Centre in Communication (TCC AFRICA)

“Dr. Ezra Clark of UNESCO and Ms. Joy Owango of Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa), moderated the discussions on UNESCO’s Open Science Day and Science Granting Councils Initiatives’ Annual Forum, which included presentations from other organizations and a roundtable discussion with experts. Speaking on ‘Open Science African Perspectives through Strategic Partnerships and Its Impact on Democratizing Knowledge’, Ms. Joy Owango, mentioned collaborations the organization has established with the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the Association of African Universities (AAU), and the East African Commission of Science (EASTECO). Additionally, she discussed the interventions by TCC Africa and these partners to advance institutional and regional policy dialogue on open science in Africa. The Open Science Day, was aimed at taking stock of the progress made in supporting the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, and to share lessons learned and practical approaches on open science from across the world….”

Frontiers | Open science and Big Data in South Africa

“With the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project and the new Multi-Purpose Reactor (MPR) soon coming on-line, South Africa and other collaborating countries in Africa will need to make the management, analysis, publication, and curation of “Big Scientific Data” a priority. In addition, the recent draft Open Science policy from the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) requires both Open Access to scholarly publications and research outputs, and an Open Data policy that facilitates equal opportunity of access to research data. The policy also endorses the deposit, discovery and dissemination of data and metadata in a manner consistent with the FAIR principles – making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIR). The challenge to achieve Open Science in Africa starts with open access for research publications and the provision of persistent links to the supporting data. With the deluge of research data expected from the new experimental facilities in South Africa, the problem of how to make such data FAIR takes center stage. One promising approach to make such scientific datasets more “Findable” and “Interoperable” is to rely on the Dataset representation of the Schema.org vocabulary which has been endorsed by all the major search engines. The approach adds some semantic markup to Web pages and makes scientific datasets more “Findable” by search engines. This paper does not address all aspects of the Open Science agenda but instead is focused on the management and analysis challenges of the “Big Scientific Data” that will be produced by the SKA project. The paper summarizes the role of the SKA Regional Centers (SRCs) and then discusses the goal of ensuring reproducibility for the SKA data products. Experiments at the new MPR neutron source will also have to conform to the DSI’s Open Science policy. The Open Science and FAIR data practices used at the ISIS Neutron source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK are then briefly described. The paper concludes with some remarks about the important role of interdisciplinary teams of research software engineers, data engineers and research librarians in research data management.”

AAU president: ‘It is time we moved from talking to walking’

“He added that, as the celebration focused on the theme ‘Open Science – Bringing Equity to Research and Publishing’, it was appropriate that discussions were aligned to addressing the bigger picture.

“I strongly believe that it is time we moved from talking to walking and to implementing the various recommendations that we come up with – at our departmental, institutional, and continental levels, year after year. The time to act is, indeed, now,” he said….

Oyewole said, contrary to the fear and apprehension that was held by some against open science when it started, he was confident that many have now been convinced that it is the way to conduct research.

“Indeed, we all had first-hand experience about the benefit of open science when, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, both researchers and publishers in the scholarly sector made efforts to freely make available and in real-time, their COVID-related research, in a bid to help stem the rising tide of infections,” he added….

In addition, he said, the African continental publishing platform, one of the pillars of open science, is open access. The AAU, in collaboration with UbuntuNet Alliance (a regional research education network, or REN) is providing a cloud-based platform to host institutional journals….”

Call for proposals – Open Repositories 2023

Repositories unlocked for discovery and interoperability

The web was designed as an information space with the goal that it should be useful not only for human-human communication, but also to allow communication facilitated by machines. The OR2023 conference will focus on the practices of the international repositories community to develop and implement the standards, frameworks, architectures, and methodologies for open repositories to serve as knowledge representation databases for the structured web of data.

Invitation to participate
OR2023 will provide an opportunity to explore and reflect on the ways repositories enable discoverability and interoperability of information and data within the structured web of data. How can we better utilize repositories for machine interoperability? How can we develop the capacity of institutions to implement sustainable open repositories to improve data equity worldwide?…”

Two Ghanaian research organisations agree to collaborate – BusinessGhana

“The Ghanaian Academic and Research Network (GARNET) and the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Ghana (CARLIGH) have agreed to cooperate towards the delivery of relevant infrastructure and interoperable open scholarly services to enhance the delivery of research, teaching and learning in higher education institutions in Ghana….

Under this cooperation, the two organisations, with the support of the Library Support for Embedded NREN Services and E-infrastructure (LIBSENSE) and the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN), will explore the use of federated identities to simplify access to academic and research services. When realised, all libraries, researchers and students under the GARNET, CARLIGH umbrella will have a single sign-on credential to access library resources and services across Africa and the World.

Under this MoU, the two organisations will also explore the provision of national platforms for repositories and scholarly publishing, data management services and storage, library management systems, learning management systems and other systems relevant to their respective communities….”

UMass’ World Librarians provide open access education for students in Malawi and Kenya

Members of the University of Massachusetts World Librarians team are working to promote open access information and get their RSO up and running this semester. Professor of environmental conservation Charles Schweik and students involved with the World Librarian team discussed sharing education information with schools in Malawi and Kenya.

Seven years ago, Schweik attended a talk on campus given by Peter Suber, a philosopher and director of the Harvard Open Access Project.

Suber’s talk was on the concept of “open access,” or transmitting information via satellite to other parts of the world. Schweik went up to Suber and asked if he knew who was deciding what information was going into the signal. Suber said that it was the “Outernet people,” a group based in the United States.