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Botswana Open Science Open Data Case Study/Julius Atlhopheng


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Presented during IST-Africa 2018.

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Botswana Open Science Open Data Case Study/Julius Atlhopheng

  1. 1. Botswana Case Study Prof Julius R. Atlhopheng (University of Botswana) The Open Data Open Science in Botswana – the developments so far Data for citizen empowerment; creating opportunities and resolving economy/industry needs.
  2. 2. The Rationale for Open Data Open Science • World Bank, Government of Botswana and the Botswana Innovation Hub – conduct an assessment, on Botswana’s readiness. • The report concluded in 2015, and affirmed Botswana was ready. • That Botswana stands to benefit from the open data initiative, as data impact would improve services and development. • The report indicated the national institutions that must take a lead on the initiative e.g. Ministry of Transport, National Strategy Office, Statistics Botswana, Botswana Innovation Hub, as strategic foci entities. • Ministry of Transport, recommended to take the lead.
  3. 3. OPEN DATA OPEN SCIENCE – Botswana • Data is essential to knowledge economy, data is for development, data metrics help us measure impact of our interventions etc. • Thus the world has come up with ‘data impact’ – and Botswana is at the bottom 10 i.e. there is limited impact of data. • Data drives initiatives, the National Development Plans and leads to efficient systems (so much time lost on seeking data/information) • Thus data leads to better services, more efficient development, hence data is the new currency. • There is need for legislative framework in Botswana, data protocols/standards, National Research and Education Networks (NRENS), data repositories etc.
  4. 4. ICSU-CODATA, RDA Visit to Botswana • The CODATA_RDA visit to Botswana in 2016 started a new wave of interest, effort and awareness on the initiative e.g. private entities such as Joint Minds playing a facilitative role, with UB hosting most of the events. • A national adhoc committee was formed – i.e. National Steering Committee, chaired by UB. • A number of activities, in addition to weekly meetings included extending the initiative to Ministry of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology. • The drive was for policy development, to help with coordination of national efforts.
  5. 5. Open Data Open Science initiatives-Botswana • ‘Open Data’ is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed. • It emanates from the concept ‘Open Science’ which itself aims to promote transparency in experimental methodology, observation, and data collection. • This is to ensure public availability and reusability of scientific data. • FAIR data principle = Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable. Botswana held first ever national forum on data in October, 2017. The outcome document highlights the following gaps: Need for awareness and discussion on open data. Need to highlight the current data situation in Botswana. Need for legislative framework on open data, for coordination.
  6. 6. What are the data needs/gaps for Botswana • Policy implementation requires transparency (data), i.e. to demonstrate that national efforts have impact. • Data is needed to achieve set targets of the National Development Plans etc. require data for their monitoring, evaluation & reporting. • Lack of access to data leads to poor performance i.e. inability to solve problems. Loss of opportunities. • Data access enhances efficiency and better coordination. • Botswana needs a data policy – to meet data needs, coordinate them better i.e. better data impact for the nation.
  7. 7. Activities on Open Data Open Science • A national action plan was drawn, on how to effect open data initiatives nationally. Activities included a National Forum (October 2017). • It was noted that, Botswana needs to consider several aspects relating to data: • Data Management & Repositories – what are existing repositories and whether they meet data protocols & standards. Data capacity low. • Data Awareness & Capacity Building – with Botswana pursuing knowledge economy, it was imperative data use & re-use values were appreciated. That access and interoperability needed to be built up.
  8. 8. • Coordinated Research Data Cyber-infrastructure: data sharing cuts down on costs of ‘seeking’ data; NRENs are important infrastructure for the developing Botswana. It is timeous to take advantage of the BOFINET infrastructure, for better data sharing using FAIR data principles. • Data Legislation, Governance & Policy: documentation of existing legislation on data; highlight existing coordination which enhances data sharing; and to draft a national policy on open data open science. • Data for Innovation & Development: connectivity, tariffs; attitudes of sharing data; benefits of open data e.g. jobs, revenue creation. Data needs for development & innovations. Data for driving development & the economy. • Key international Partners for hand-holding the national initiatives: AOSP, CODATA in giving guidance, motivation, expert advice, funding and for being resource persons.
  10. 10. Botswana National Forum Conclusions 1. Botswana building on her strengths - need to document successes e.g. existing legislation, guidelines, policies etc. on open data open science. Show benefits of data sharing e.g. emanating from reduced duplication; jobs made through data; that data is a resource. Botswana currently seems to have no data sovereignty – e.g. personal banking data etc. who controls our data (security). • No data = missed opportunities on benefits of data impact. 2. Priority actions from the forum: Develop capacity in data management and repositories; Profile types of data within institutions and their possible usage; Illustrate revenue creation through data; NRENs developed (National Research Education Networks). 3. Develop a policy on open data open science: Adopt FAIR data principles for better access and impact/equity of data; Data for drive knowledge economy initiatives; develop infrastructure for efficient data access which drives innovations and economies. Develop policy that would lead to a legislative framework. Need for partnerships/funding on all these initiatives.
  11. 11. National Priorities and Data • Vision 2036 – Achieving Prosperity For All • The kind of Botswana we would have built by 2036 i.e. sustainable economic development; human & social development; sustainable environment; governance, peace & security to have been achieved. • Transformation and Implementation imperatives of V2036 mean: innovative breakthroughs; multi-stakeholders participation i.e. non- state actors, private and public. Data metrics is essential to implement these. • Status of innovations, SDGs implementation, national vulnerabilities (e.g. droughts), successes etc. need data (extent, present, future).
  12. 12. For 2018 and beyond • National feedback forum conducted in March 2018. High commitment from national stakeholders to complete the roadmap. • Implementation to be done through leading entities/institutions. • A lot of enthusiasm during the forum discussions. A national strategy & policy as high priority, so as to enable implementation. • The knowledge economy, which the nation currently pursues, needs a data anchor. • Knowledge economy – through data offers opportunities of interweaving knowledge systems i.e. indigenous & modern scientific knowledge. • Data is needed to measure the progress in NDP11, Vision 2036, SDGs.
  13. 13. INTERNATIONAL DATA WEEK 2018 • Botswana is hosting, for the very first time, IDW 2018. • International Partners at the helm of coordination and capacitation. • Africa faces many challenges, which need data innovations to be solved. • There are challenges to do with health & diseases epidemics; monitoring interventions, storing/protecting records and benefits associated with impact of data. • The IDW2018 has included key developing world issues such as industry, development, research, education, indigenous knowledge.