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The African Open Science Platform/Susan Veldsman


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

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The African Open Science Platform/Susan Veldsman

  1. 1. The African Open Science Platform Presented by Susan Veldsman Director: Scholarly Publishing Porgramme Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) Kampala Workshop, 25 April 2018
  2. 2. Data Driven World
  3. 3. Fake Data, Fake Research
  4. 4. Trusted Research & Data • Trust is at the centre of the process of science • Trust research & researchers who have your best interest at heart • Build new research on existing research/data • To be trusted, it needs to be managed
  5. 5. Square Kilometre Array (SKA) • Data collection on a massive scale • Telescope array to consist of 250,000 radio antennas between Australia & SA • Investment in machine learning and artificial intelligence software tools to enable data analysis • 400+ engineers and technicians in infrastructure, fibre optics, data collection • Supercomputers to process data (IBM) • To come: super computer 3x times power of world’s current fastest computer (Tianhe-2) to cope with SKA data
  6. 6. Africa participation • Botswana • Ghana • Kenya • Madagascar • Mauritius • Mozambique • Namibia • Zambia
  7. 7. “Construction of the SKA is due to begin in 2018 and finish sometime in the middle of the next decade. Data acquisition will begin in 2020, requiring a level of processing power and data management know-how that outstretches current capabilities. Astronomers estimate that the project will generate 35,000- DVDs-worth of data every second. This is equivalent to “the whole world wide web every day,” said Fanaroff.”
  8. 8. H3ABioNet (H3Africa) 30 institutions, 15 African countries, 2 partners outside Africa
  9. 9. • African human genomic research; Central node at University of Cape Town • Using NetMap to monitor connectivity • Data transfer: Africa Globus Online (668,622 files transferred between Rhodes University & UCT; 140TB data transferred from USA to SA • Challenges: slow & unstable Internet, unreliable power supply, continent-wide obsolete computer infrastructure that varies between medium-scale server infrastructure to a small number of workstations, with multiple operating systems, lack of centralized, secure data storage • Other: database of participants (H3APRDB, REDCap), data analysis incl. Galaxy, Job Management System, eBiokits, REDCap, WebProtege, Pipelines for data execution, data repository (European Genome-Phenome Archive)
  10. 10. Open Science Defined “Open Science is the practice of science in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute, where research data, lab notes and other research processes are freely available, under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods.” - FOSTER Project, funded by the European Commission
  11. 11. Benefits of open data • Provide evidence for research conducted • Collaboration advances science, discovery • Predict trends & informed decisions • Drive development, service delivery • More entrepreneurs – using data in innovative ways, create jobs • Have potentially far more outcomes when open, higher impact • Democratising research & data towards achieving 2030 Sustainable Development Goals
  12. 12. Open Data, Open Science & Research Lifecycle (Foster)
  13. 13. “Several open science activities are underway across Africa, but a great deal will be gained if, in the context of developing inter-regional links, these activities were to be coordinated and developed through such a coordinating initiative.” - CODATA
  14. 14. Open Data Repositories (re3data - 16)
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  17. 17. African Open Science Platform • Platform = opportunity to engage in dialogue, create awareness, connect all, provide continental view • Funded by SA Dept. of Science & Technology through National Research Foundation • 3 years (1 Nov. 2016 – 31 Oct. 2019) • Managed by Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) • Through ASSAf hosting ICSU Regional Office for Africa (ICSU ROA) • Direction from CODATA
  18. 18. Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World • Values of open data in emerging scientific culture of big data • Need for an international framework • Proposes comprehensive set of principles • FAIR Principles • Provides framework & plan for African data science capacity mobilization initiative • Proposes African Platform Call to Endorse
  19. 19. Key Stakeholders • Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) • International Council for Science (ICSU) • The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) • Research Data Alliance (RDA) • NRENs (Internet Service Providers for Education) • Association of African Universities (AAU) • Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) • African Research Councils (incl. DIRISA, funders) • African Universities • African Governments • Other
  20. 20. Database Experts & Initiatives 800+
  21. 21. Landscape Survey: Countries & Initiatives 567
  22. 22. Concentration of Activities
  23. 23. Click to view Initiatives/Country Please note: this is just a preview and data still to be cleaned and updated and corrected.
  24. 24. AOSP Focus Areas Policy Infrastructur Capacity Building Incentives
  25. 25. Policy Framework • Policy provide guidance & see to well-being of all citizens - political will • Policies to address (also see existing policies): • FAIR Principles • Raw vs Processed/other data • Licensing • Sensitive data • Intellectual Property Issues
  26. 26. Policy Framework • JKUT (Kenya) Institutional Open Data Policy • Uganda Draft Open Data Policy • Madagascar Lobbying for Open Data Policy • Towards a White Paper on Open Research Data Strategy in Botswana • White Paper on Science , Technology and Innovation in South Africa • Funder Policy: National Research Foundation (NRF)(SA) • OECD Principles & Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding
  27. 27. Intellectual Property Rights Policy “In many African countries, intellectual property protection is undeveloped, ineffective, expensive and unenforced and in some African countries there exists uncertainty on protection of IP and the threat of innovation being stolen away from inventors.” innovation-in-africa/
  28. 28. African NRENs Source: WorldBank_Map2.jpg • Cluster 1: Southern and Easter Africa- UbuntuNet Alliance • Cluster 2: Western and Central Africa-WACREN • Cluster 3: North Africa- --Asren
  29. 29. Capacity Building Framework • Data collector vs data user vs data manager Therefore the following are core aspects to capacity building: • Research Data Management Planning • Repositories • Command Line Interpretation • Software Development • Data Organisation • Data Cleaning • Data Management & Databases • Data Analysis & Visualisation (incl. programming)
  30. 30. Capacity Building Framework • Engineers, Statisticians, Data Scientists, Librarians, Data Curators, Researchers, System Administrators, Policymakers, Auditors, Data Centre Managers, Data Architects – Wim Hugo • Different skills for different categories of data workers • Existing workshops presented • Tertiary curricula need to adapt more rapidly • Never too early to learn to work with data, program
  31. 31. Incentives Framework • Funder requirements changing • Mechanisms that acknowledge publication of datasets and to promote data sharing • How do we deal with difficulties in sharing data—what are the solutions • Why is sharing essential • How do we make sharing successful • How do we lay the fears down and ensure buy- in
  32. 32. Closing Remarks • Collaborate & learn from one another – strength in diversity • Take ownership & collect/curate data in ethical way • Downloaders vs Uploaders • Trusted & valid data managed in trusted way • Exploit data for the benefit of society (Min Naledi Pandor) • Tell the African story, in an African way
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  34. 34. Thank you! Susan Veldsman