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Open Science and Higher Education in Africa – Status, challenges & opportunities/Nnamu Jacquiline


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Presented during Uganda Open Data/Open Science National Dialogue 25-26 April 2018.

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Open Science and Higher Education in Africa – Status, challenges & opportunities/Nnamu Jacquiline

  1. 1. Open Science and Higher Education in Africa – Status, challenges & opportunities Presented By: Jacqueline Nnam, Programme Officer Knowledge Management Date: 25 April 2018 Venue: Naguru Skyz Hotel
  2. 2. About RUFORUM
  3. 3. RUFORUM Founded in 2004 by African Vice Chancellors to: 1. Provide a platform for networking, resource mobilization and advocacy to transform universities for relevance towards inclusive sustainable development 2. Rationalize resource use and enhance economies of scale and scope 3. Mandate from the African Union – STISA 2024 Priority One
  4. 4. RUFORUM Evolution Universities responding to development challenges • Revitalised MSc training in ECSA • Over 250 MSc. graduates trained between 1992-2003 Forum as a Project -1992 •Multi-donor support •Collectively owned by African Universities •Linking universities to communities •1071 + and 212 PhD graduates trained between 2004 -2014 RUFORUM Network initiated -2004 • University private sector and government interconnectedness • Fortified governance, resource base • Vibrant academic mobility across Africa RUFORUM comes of Age - 2020 • Engaged Universities catalysing sustainable and inclusive development • Impact oriented agricultural Research • Enhanced innovation and creation of opportunities • Create knowledge continental hub RUFORUM Vision 2030
  5. 5. RUFORUM Vision 2030 at a Glance
  6. 6. Responding to the Agenda 2063 and SDGs Agenda 2063 STISA, S3A, AESIF, CESA, CAADP AHESTI- RUFORUM Vision 2030/ Strategy RUFORUM Operational Plan Nearly half of all deaths of children under 5 from malnutrition (
  7. 7. Four Flagship Programmes 1. TAGDEV - Transforming African Agricultural Universities for Africa’s Growth and Development: Strengthen Agricultural universities and TVET institutions to produce innovative, entrepreneurial and society responsive graduates 2. RANCH - Regional Anchor Universities for Higher Agricultural Education: Escalate the setting up of a network of linked universities as African anchor universities/centres of excellence and academic leadership in agricultural higher education and STI 3. CREATE - Cultivating Research and Teaching Excellence: Support the design and implementation of high impact capacity development innovations that provide an environment and opportunities for quality training, experiential learning and engagement by faculty, students and communities 4. K-HUB - Knowledge Hub for University Networking, Partnership and Advocacy: Promote a culture of learning and knowledge sharing aimed at improving policy and practice
  8. 8. Open Science and Higher Education in Africa
  9. 9. Open Science in Higher Education • Universities are both users and producers of data • Benefits of open data in higher education: – Helps to rationalize limited research resources (can use existing data) – Provides opportunities to validate research (minimizes cooking of research) – Open data helps to provide new insights on existing data (can be recombined in different ways) – Makes it possible to carry out research in less time – Means of research communication
  10. 10. Status of Open Science in African Universities • Varying status of open access in African universities: e.g. University of Nairobi has an open access policy, others have a closed repository, while others do not even have a repository • Universities are at different levels of implementation of open data e.g. While many universities do not have open data policies, JKUAT is implementing an open policy and has an open data platform
  11. 11. Status of Open Science at RUFORUM • RUFORUM at stage 1 where we encourage, mandate and support open publication of RUFORUM-funded research in two ways: 1. Green open access/self archiving: Have an open access institutional repository ( where we showcase our and archive RUFORUM funded research 2. Gold open access/publications available directly from publisher: – RUFORUM requires grantees to publish in open access journals – BMGF Chronos facility covers costs of open publication for grantees Next step: Move to open data publication. Some researchers already do it when they publish in open journals e.g. plant breeding
  12. 12. RUFORUM Institutional Repository
  13. 13. Challenges – No harmonized policies as different donors have different policies: Different legal regimes governing sharing and ownership of data. Who owns it? Donor? University? Implementing Agency? BMGF policy says, fully open; EU, as closed as possible, as open as necessary; MasterCard Foundation not clear but committed to wide dissemination of research; USAID requires submission of data within 30 days after use for intellectual work – Continental/regional/national bodies are playing “catch-up” – IP protection: Convincing researchers to share data for free when it is of commercial value and hence the tendency to horde. The irony is that a lot is never commercialized – Sustainability: The push first came from development partners rather than African countries so how sustainable are these donor-driven initiatives? What happens when donors “move on”? – Incentives: Can this be used in researcher rating, promotion and rewards? Focus is on publication in high impact journals (“publish or perish”) – Infrastructure: Where do we house open data? We can self archive publications, but what about the data?
  14. 14. Opportunities • Courses in Data Science in Africa e.g. at JKUAT, University of Rwanda (Africa Centre of Excellence in Data Science) and UTAMU, to build capacity on the continent • Increasing donor buy-in to the open data agenda • Publishers are requiring submission of open data along with the publications so there is wide availability • AOSPA to coordinate initiatives in Africa
  15. 15. Priorities for RUFORUM – Create awareness – Build human capacity – Define and support putting in place infrastructure for setting up a data repository – Facilitate adoption of joint standards for interoperability of data and platforms – Facilitate harmonization of policies governing open data in higher education institutions – Map actors especially in agriculture and related fields of STI – Pilot a project on open data to demonstrate its benefits
  16. 16. We Invite you to the Sixth African Higher Education Week Date: 22-26 October, 2018 Venue: Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi, Kenya Theme: Aligning African universities to accelerate the attainment of the Agenda 2063 Join the Conversation using #AfricanHEWeek2018
  17. 17. Email Us: Like Us on Facebook: ruforumnetwork Follow Us on Twitter: ruforumsec Visit Our Blog: Visit Our Website: