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Botswana Open Data Open Science/Julius Atlhopheng

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Presentation during the 14th Association of African Universities (AAU) Conference and African Open Science Platform (AOSP)/Research Data Alliance (RDA) Workshop in Accra, Ghana, 7-8 June 2017.

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Botswana Open Data Open Science/Julius Atlhopheng

  1. 1. Botswana Open Data Open Science • The situation (THERE are DATA NEEDS) – need for data policy, to inform mechanisms across levels; there is need for data, quality data – so the yearning is ‘give me the data;. • National Development in Botswana – has benefited from access to DATA, up to 50years (celebrated in 2016). What have we learnt? • The roadmap – Now and into the Future (national efforts, institutional frames, national development plans Data consultative forums i.e. national data forum to open up national dialogue. Experiences/benchmarks and setting up international linkages.
  2. 2. DATA – Botswana Situational Analysis - brief
  3. 3. Need for DATA • Need = data access, and quality data. • Need = data provided faster, with efficiency e.g. user friendly systems that are of trusted quality. Inter-operability of systems would help. • Need = lack of access to data leads to poor performance i.e. inability to solve problems, citizenry is not empowered to deliver to their utmost; opportunities are lost. • Need = the nation (NDPs, DDPs, UDPs), institutions and individuals have made targets to achieve e.g. governance, safety, water access etc. There is need for measurement i.e. data metrics. There is always an expressed need in policies, but where is the transparency (data), that efforts have impact.
  4. 4. • Botswana needs a data policy – to direct all data related initiatives in terms of infrastructure, IP, coordination, user interfaces – access etc. • This will help the promotion of data release by various entities e.g. research institutions, government, private sector and ascertain safe use in line with policy to meet public data needs, this empowers the nation. With a data policy, institutions comply, thus provide data. Principles/obligations on data sharing are realized with policy/act. • Data links may then follow, which encompass national as well as trans-national e.g. sharing research, best practices and other opportunities.
  5. 5. DATA – its contribution to past National Development in Botswana
  6. 6. Past 50 years – and data contribution • The country commissioned national development plans – i.e. informed planning. • Policy development was consultative and inclusive of the whole nation (open up dialogue and input through kgotla system). • In addition, policies needed to hinge on sound scientific/technical advise, hence the use of consultancies, task forces, forums/Pitso so that policies deliver the best for the nation. • Some of the telling examples of data are in mining sector – geological explorations (their maps etc. helped to inform further investigations, hence more discoveries.
  7. 7. • Early warning systems e.g. daily/seasonal forecasts by Dept. of Meteorological Services; Health info, agricultural data for livestock, arable farming and investment/diversification initiatives over radio etc. Surveys and Mapping dept., archaeological records etc. are some of the examples. • However, with lack of data policy – it means EDUCATION, data analysis/packaging through computing to meet user needs, COORDINATION of data –are hampered. • The knowledge economy, which the nation currently pursues, needs more anchor – to be enabled/measured. This calls for data act/policy. • Knowledge economy – has to have local relevance e.g. ways of knowing include indigenous, modern scientific knowledge: R&D, ICTs, education & employment, innovation & technological initiatives. Data is needed to measure the progress.
  8. 8. NOW & INTO THE FUTURE – DATA?? • NATIONAL EFFORT: Currently there is a move initiated by passionate multi stakeholder institutions which has convened an Open Data Open Science national steering committee. The committee is passionately doing the spade work in starting a national dialogue. • MIND THE GAP: Need for coordination on national data. Botswana’s research data suffers fragmentation, is not easily accessed, hence under-utilised. This limits scientific partnerships/networks, adversely impacts on the social obligations such as open and transparent society. A rational society is founded on scientifically informed and evidence based policies - these require data. • STEERING COMMITTEE Objectives: Develop an advocacy plan to engage stakeholders; Develop a Situational Analysis for ODOS in Botswana; Conduct a Benchmarking Exercise for the ODOS. • The key priority is to develop a national policy on data, in Botswana.
  9. 9. • The National Forum is high on the agenda, as the initial national effort to open up dialogue on open data. • This forum would help build institutional ownership, so that the momentum is not lost; and that the initiative is adopted as part of institutional culture. • Nationally – the Vision 2036 (towards prosperity for all), NDP11 (current development plan), the SDGs implementation would benefit from data e.g. generated through research & better sharing efforts. • International linkages are sought by our ODOS steering committee e.g. best practices, funding and collaborations.
  10. 10. Immediate Activities of the steering Committee • Collate all national initiatives on open data • Identify and sensitize all relevant key stakeholders • Seek for utmost endorsement and ownership from Key ministries • Facilitate the next national forum as part of the annual National Research and Technology Celebration Week

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