The View from South Africa/Colin Wright, David Walwyn
The view from South Africa
SA-EU Open Science Workshop
Professor Colin Wright
Professor David Walwyn
With thanks to:
Susan Veldsman (ASSAf)
Lazarus Matizirofa (NRF)
…. for inputs
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• Percentage of population undernourished
• Hunger & climate vulnerability index
8 ways climate change is impacting Africa
1. Weather patterns
2. Water Supply and Quality
3. Agriculture and Food
4. Human Health
6. Vulnerable Population
7. National Security
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Rapid change and innovation
order of our day…bombarded
with foreign terms, e.g.:
• Digital economy;
• Internet of Things;
• Big Data & Cloud Computing
• Smart Cities;
• Social media;
• Artificial Intelligence (AI);
• Smart mobile devices;
• 4th Industrial Revolution.
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Industry 4.0 took centre
stage at the opening of the
9th AU Private Sector
Forum … forum held under
through Digitization and
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To be genuinely competitive in the knowledge economy, one must be competitive at:
• producing knowledge through research
• diffusing it through education
• applying it through innovation
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Open Science a
ASSAf: Draft Position Statement on Open Science in South Africa
“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.
“Open Science moves beyond open access research articles,
towards encompassing other research objects such as data,
software codes, protocols and workflows. The intention is for
people to use, re-use and distribute content without legal,
technological or social restrictions. In some cases, Open Science
also entails the opening up of the entire research process from
agenda-setting to the dissemination of findings.” – Open and
Collaborative Science in Development Network project, funded
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Open Research Lifecycle – ‘open’ science
Open Science in the
South African context
will include the natural
humanities and social
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Figure 1.1: Open Science “Wheel”,
describing key Open Science
characteristics and indicators. Created
by the Open Science Monitor.
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Figure 4.3: Engaging researchers at all levels: supporting structure.
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The Open Access (OA) movement in Africa is slowly gaining
pace. By 2015, over 500 OA journals published in North and sub-
Saharan Africa are indexed in the Directory of Open Access
Journals (DOAJ) and in African Journals Online (AJOL).
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Open Data: and Open Access
• Big Data, Extreme Data, Long Dark Tail
• Open, except when over-riding considerations
• Privacy & ethical issues
• FAIR Principles: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable,
• Trusted Research Data Repositories / Infrastructures
• Do existing policies hinder exploitation—new policies
and funding opportunities needed?
• Blockages? How to overcome them?
• Roles of libraries and librarians?
• Predator journals, Open Review
• Data needs to be curated for the long haul.
• Data Management Plans….?
Some SA actions:
• Berlin declaration (>=11 Univs, ASSAf, LIASA)
➢ Increase support for and
interoperability of OA repositories;
➢ Support new and innovative OA
publishing models that meet highest
possible scholarly standards; and
➢ Cooperate to ensure smooth transition
to stable and functioning, open
scholarly publishing system.
• CODATA (NRF)
• NRF: Statement on Open Access to Research
Publications from the National Research
Foundation (NRF)-Funded Research
• Data Plans: various Universities
• ASSAf: OPEN ACCESS: SciELO SA--open-access,
full-text searchable database of selected, high-quality
SA scholarly journals.
• Earth Observation Statement Nov 2015 at
• Signed the 2016 G20 and other Open Data
• SAEON and KP
SA Member of the G8+O5 Data Working Group of the GSO
on Global Research Infrastructures which drafted the G8/7
declaration on Open Data
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Open Science Governance and regulations:
• Researchers need confidence before they share information openly: reward for taking part
• International experience: stakeholders have a meaningful presence and role in governance
• Regular independent, objective reviews
• Overarching principles to guide national system
• Policies and actions should be realistic, but simultaneously not idealistic
• Except for personal and security data, other data should be made available subject to ethical standards--
but where are the boundaries as countries enforce data protection policies?
• What funds are needed to advance Open Science? Sustainability considerations?
➢ Full cost of repositories addressed in a recent OECD WG report.
➢ Secure long term preservation of data….?
➢ Set-up costs and annual operating costs?
• Who will cover cost: Public funds, private channels? Should the user contribute?
• What is the incentive for private sector?
• Are there non-African agencies and foundations that can be approached?
• Which ministries should be involved and what is the role of the NRF?
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Skills and Training: a) Data Scientists &
• Large body of knowledge exists: eg
EDISON, CODATA, WDS, RDA.
➢ Map EDISON learnings onto ZA
needs and structures
➢ Data Carpentry Workshops
• Data Scientists: host of categories
➢ Specialists look after data
➢ Data collector, data user, data
• Data Science skills development
programme at all levels--school curricula
• Librarians & Data Curators (DCC)
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Skills and Training: b) Researchers
• Embed OS in cradle to grave education
➢ e.g. junior citizen scientists in the
• Upskill workforce via interventions:
➢ New entrants
➢ Overawed mid-career researchers
• Other skills: legal, public science
• Not only Natural Scientists, but also:
➢ Humanities and Social Sciences
➢ Business leaders?
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• Train citizens who are not researchers into using OS
in an effective, constructive and democratic way…!
• Major impact of Open Science: data and publications
open to citizens around globe.
• Policies that could assist in bringing African cultures
nearer to each other?
• Harness Citizen Science to:
Inspire the next generation of researchers;
Gather information re exotic and threatened
species, languages etc.
• SKA and other projects role wrt Citizen Science?
• South Africa SANBI http://biodiversityadvisor.sanbi.org/participation/citizen-science/
• Cape Citizen Science http://citsci.co.za/
• Nature’s Valley http://www.naturesvalleytrust.co.za/programmes/ecological-research/citizen-science-projects/
• CSIR https://www.csir.co.za/csir-calls-public-participate-rapid-citizen-science-survey
• SA Climate change https://qz.com/996437/the-photos-from-a-citizen-science-project-capture-southern-africas-climate-change-
• SANBI Fish species http://www.duc.co.za/index.php/activities/duc-environmental-portfolio/seakeys/
• Birdlife South Africa https://www.birdlife.org.za/get-involved/bird-monitoring
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Open Infrastructure required by Open Science?
• Open, sustainable Research Infrastructures
• Open, sustainable Cyber / e-Infrastructures
• Role, contribution of National Laboratories &
• Public and private infrastructure, e.g. research data
infrastructures, computational resources,
broadband provision etc.
• Appropriately governed, attract long term
investment and not one-off initiative.
• SADC STE Ministers adopt regional CI Strategy
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• OI encourages new innovations to develop
quickly in a fast moving market place.
• Pre-competitive PPP and OI?
• Tax incentives, business practices etc. to
encourage further investment?
• Encourage link between OS and OI in both
public and private sectors?
• Rethink aspects of IP rules—in a world where
machines can invent things.
• Learn from organizations eg Philips Eindhoven
Open Campus, Hitachi, Samsung, Tesla, GM
and GSK Healthcare, …..? GM 1911!!
• NASA, Genome Project impact on
A perspective on open innovation in small- and
medium-sized enterprises in South Africa, and
design requirements for an open innovation
approach. W. Krause; C.S.L Schutte
M Gastrow: Open innovation in South Africa:
case studies in nanotechnology, biotechnology,
and open source software development, Journal
for New Generation Sciences, 2011
“$14.5 billion invested by the US Government in the
Human Genome Project has seen a 60-fold return in
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• Product service systems
South African IP Legislation
Most relevant to the overall framework is the South African Patent Act 57 of 1978
Comprehensive list at http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/profile.jsp?code=ZA
• Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2013 (Act No. 28 of 2013) (2013)
• Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act 2008 (Act No. 51 of 2008) (2008)
• Patents Amendment Act 2005 (Act No. 20 of 2005) (2005)
• Patents Act 1978 (Act No. 57 of 1978, as amended up to Patents Amendment Act 2002) (2003)
• Merchandise Marks Act 1941 (Act No. 17 of 1941, as amended up to Merchandise Marks Amendment Act 2002) (2003)
• Performers’ Protection Amendment Act 2002 (2002)
• Copyright Act, 1978 (Act No. 98 of 1978, as amended up to Copyright Amendment Act 2002) (2002)
• Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 1997 (Act No. 38 of 1997) (1997)
• Designs Act 1993 (Act No. 195 of 1993, as amended by Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 1997) (1997)
• Intellectual Property Laws Rationalisation Act 1996 (Act No. 107 of 1996) (1996)
• Plant Breeders' Rights Amendment Act 1996 (Act No. 673 of 1996) (1996)
• Plant Breeders’ Rights Act 1976 (Act No. 15 of 1976, as last amended by Plant Breeders’ Rights Amendment Act 1996) (1996)
• Trade Marks Act 1993 (Act No. 194 of 1993) (1993)
• 'Vlaglied' Copyright Act 1974 (Act No. 9 of 1974) (1974)
• Performers' Protection Act 1967 (Act No. 11 of 1967) (1967)
• 'Stem Van Suid-Afrika' Copyright Act 1959 (1959)
Potential for Open Science and Open
Innovation: SA Context
Professor David Walwyn, University
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• Patent Cooperation Treaty (March 16, 1999)
(South Africa is a PCT signatory!)
• Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of
Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure (July 14, 1997)
• Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (March 23,
• Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (December 1, 1947)
• Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (October 3,
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The Role of PRHEI (Public Research & HE Institutions) Strategy
• Act does not prescribe details of what should be patented (and then
published), what can be published without protection and how
protection should be obtained (national vs. international filing, etc)
• Interpretation and implementation of Act subject to institutional
strategy and also the nature of the disclosure.
IP and Public-Financed R&D
Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act, Act
51 of 2008 (IPR-PFRD)
• most significant recent development; very important wrt the OS initiative
• places obligations on agencies which receive public funding for R&D
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Interface between Protected and Open Science
• There is no reason that the two frameworks should not operate
alongside each other
• Both approaches relate to the distribution and utilization of
• Although public disclosure will ‘spoil’ IP (no longer ‘novel’), this is only
the case if public disclosure PRECEDES patent application
• PRHEIs already acknowledge both knowledge pathways
Goal is to maximize impact!!
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Other relevant SA Legal Environment issues
• Spatial Data Infrastructure Act (Act No 54 of 2003): Improves discoverability but does not guarantee access. Could limit data
availability because of the legal obligations of ‘custodianship’, which may make institutions unwilling to publish all available data sets.
• South African Weather Service Amendment Bill
• Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act No. 2 of 2000):
• Protection of Information Bill: policy or regulation required to declassify and exempt the data.
• National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Act, 1996 (Act No. 43 of 1996)
• Protection of Personal Information Act (Act 912, 2013)
• National Archives Act: Govt bodies transfer records of enduring value to archives after 30 yrs.
• Legal Deposit Act: ‘Document’ published in SA must be deposited in 5 legal deposit libraries, can be in virtually any format.
• National Library Act: enabling act amalgamating former SA & State Libraries; acquire material in terms of Legal Deposit , Library,
• Institution Specific Legislation: HSRC, NRF, CSIR etc
• Acts: Electronic Comms; Financial Intelligence; Promotion of Access to Info; Protection of Info Bill
• Operational regulatory framework: funders; institute policies & operational guidelines; inter-institute collaborative agreements;
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Metrics and incentives:
• Does the end product impact SA Society?
• Is education system better enabled to produce graduates who can contribute to the new order?
• Is collaboration nurtured?
• Assess contribution of an individual without it becoming a tick box exercise?
➢ How will promotions within universities be determined?
➢ Does NRF individual classification mitigate against this approach?
➢ New career paths
• Improved research outputs? Are research outputs yielding more innovation?
• Are requisite underpinning policies, funding, governance and management, infrastructure in place to achieve the
above—by State, Funding Bodies, Professional Bodies, HEIs, National Research Entities, …?
The Role of publishing in Open Collaborative Science (ASSAf)
• Open and collaborative science policy framework offers potential for creating efficiencies in
research publication through cross-country collaboration and knowledge sharing.
• Expand variety of participants in research process (scholars, citizens, government) and increase
range, impact and efficiency of research in addressing critical challenges.
• Rigorous open review system
➢ This provides publication challenges, in terms of participation and authorship, raising questions
of accessibility and ‘translation’ of content for different audience levels and purposes.
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Colin Wright: email@example.com
David Walwyn: firstname.lastname@example.org