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Fair open science as a powerful resource in the fight against cognitive injustice in African and Haitian universities


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Presentation by Florence Piron and Thomas Mboa Nkoudou at the Decolonising conference, Novembre 2016, Toronto

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Fair open science as a powerful resource in the fight against cognitive injustice in African and Haitian universities

  2. 2. Title : Open science as a collective tool of empowerment and cognitive justice in Haiti and French-speaking Africa : building the roadmap 2 main investigators : Florence Piron, Université Laval et Diéyi Diouf, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, but many co-researchers in 10 countries : a very decentralized networked project, always open to new ideas, collaborators and sub-projects Grant given by OCSDnet, IDRC, DFID for 2 years : 70 000 $ A website : with a blog, interviews, training tools in open science Many Facebook Groups including a huge one with more than 3400 members, a newsletter, discussion lists. 2 Our reflexion today is anchored in a research-action project : SOHA
  3. 3. Objective 1. Document the main obstacles to the sustainable adoption of open science by graduate students from Haiti and Francophone Africa Objective 2. Build and test different tools and strategies of training in open science, in French or local languages. For instance, we intend to set up a collaborative web documentary about open science composed of short videos shot by graduate students about their relationship with science and open science. Objective 3. Document the potential reception in African and Haitian universities of two open science tools that are particularly effective against cognitive injustice or for bridging science and society: institutional repositories and science shops. Objective 4. With all the co-researchers and participants, build a French- speaking international, interdisciplinary, sustainable, open and democratic network advocating open science in Francophone Africa and Haiti. Objective 5. Create one roadmap per country to advance open science. 3
  4. 4. Theoretical and ethical starting points : • Radical critique of the positivist epistemological position which is dominant in « science » • Universal science is in fact science from and for the Global North and, under the influence of the knowledge economy paradigm, is neoliberal science • Neoliberal science gives birth to neoliberal universities obsessed by performance and competition and forgetful of the Common Good • Science is in fact one way among others to create knowledge, that is to say a way of understanding and representing our environment and ourselves. It is anchored in culture. • Western epistemology can be violent towards other epistemologies, particularly from (post)colonized countries.
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  6. 6. Our anger is strong : - Unequalities between the North and the Global South - General despise and rejection of local knowledge from the Global South, even by scientists from the Global South - Universities seen as training tools for the future elite and not as tool of local sustainable development - Invisibility of science from the South and of languages from the South in academic journals from the North - Too many dysfunctionalities within universities from the Global South A situation of global cognitive injustice : Cognitive injustice is a situation, a phenomenon, a policy or attitude that prevents students and researchers to deploy the full potential of their scientific research capacity in service to local sustainable development.
  7. 7. Another science is possible (title of one of our papers): • A science based on an inclusive universalism, open to all epistemologies and viewpoints : science as a dialogue between knowledges rather than as a knowledge existing only insofar as it crushes other knowledges (fascination with social and political epistemology in SOHA!) • A science based on values of cooperation, sharing, friendship, compassion, understanding, refusal to separate personal life and values from research work : a science anchored in contexts and relationships seen as tools and not obstacles. • A science calling for cognitive justice : a situation where everyone could contribute with their knowledge to the commons of knowledge, regardless of their country, social class, gender. • The roadmap towards cognitive justice asks for a finer analysis of cognitive injustice : the first resultats of SOHA analysis.
  8. 8. 9 COGNITIVE INJUSTICES IN UNIVERSITIES FROM FRANCOPHONE AFRICA AND HAITI AS COMPARED WITH THE GLOBAL NORTH, HARMING THE LOCAL RESEARCH CAPACITY 1. No research infratructure and no science policy (no political will) 2. Financial and legal barriers to access to scientific publications 3. Digital literacy and access to the web are rare 4. Local knowledge, though culturally and socially relevant, is excluded or disrespected. 5. The wall between science and society is a barrier 6. The Western research system is closed to those not fitting its mold 7. The language of science is colonial 8. The pedagogy of humiliation is still rife in universities 9. Epistemic alienation is profound : feeling obliged to think with an epistemology and a bibliography from the North 8
  9. 9. OPEN SCIENCE : A WAY TO TRANSFORM SCIENCE PRACTICED IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH TOWARDS MORE COGNITIVE JUSTICE ? 5 pillars of open science (in our definition, not a universal one): 1. Collaborative / cooperative way of working together 2. Citizen science, participatory research, research-action 3. Free and open software and licences 4. Alternative organizations aiming to bring closer research and society (Fablabs, makerspaces, science shops) 5. Open access to scientific resources 9
  10. 10. 1ST PILLAR: COLLABORATIVE WORK Open science encourages students and researchers to work closely together instead of being isolated from fear of being robbed - Share one’s bibliographies, notes, papers, findings, data - Mutually criticize texts and ideas - Multiply co-authors - Use web tools to write and think together - Use social media Zotero, Framapad (Free version of Google drive), Trello, Authorea 1
  11. 11. 2ND PILLAR : CITIZEN SCIENCE In citizen science, non-scientists are invited to participate in research projects (without being paid) for the sake of science. Very popular in environmental surveys and observational activities. Numerous projects on sci-starter website In Participatory research-action in social science, research sbjects are invited to participate in the design and the interpretation of the project. 1
  13. 13. 4TH PILLAR : ALTERNATIVE ORGANISATIONS BRIDGING SCIENCE AND SOCIETY • Fablabs, makerspaces, living lab, co-working spaces : where scientists, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, etc. can come in the same place and try ideas, concepts, machines. • Science shops : a mediation service within a university linking civil society organization and students/professors. 1
  14. 14. 5TH PILLAR : OPEN ACCESS ● Thanks to the web, more and more scientific publications are on the web ● Some of these documents are accessible only by subscription or by payment with a credit card: they are « closed ». ● Some documents are accessible without any barrier : they are in open access. 1
  16. 16. A SCIENTIFIC PAPER IN NEOLIBERAL REGIME OF KNOWLEDGE IS… - A geopolitical issue (competition, ratings, etc.) - An economic issue : For-profit publishers (Elsevier, Sage, Nature PG, etc.) make a lot of profit in publishing (online) and selling articles that scientists funded by public money give them voluntarily at no cost - A professional issue : quantity of publications is essential to academic careers (quality??) - An industrial issue : how to combine industrial secret and publication? For what purpose do some academics advocate open access for all to scientific publications? 16
  17. 17. FIRST PURPOSE OF OPEN ACCESS Improve the productivity of research and researchers - Eysenbach (2006) : Since open access maximises the number of quotations, it « is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings ». - The quicker the results are disseminated, the quicker research advances, the more scientists publish and the morer their career prosper - Journals are managers of this incessant flux of results and papers. 17
  18. 18. SECOND PURPOSE OF OPEN ACCESS • A mainly economic purpose : « Open Access to science and data = cash and economic bonanza », according to Neelie Kroes (2013), Vice-president of the european community en 2013 • OECD is for open access since it increases the potentialities for innovation : « avoiding duplication while facilitating replication, accelerating discovery, and driving innovation ». • Innovation that can be tranformed into merchandise, markets. 18
  19. 19. THIRD PURPOSE OF OPEN ACCESS • Democratization of access to scientific knowledge for people without an affiliation to a university: • K-12 teachers • Non-professional science lovers • Civil society organizations • Journalists • Public administrations • Graduates wishing to continue to learn and think • From a fiscal justice viewpoint, open access gives bacl to tax-payers what they funded through their tax. 19
  20. 20. IN FRANCOPHONE AFRICA AND HAITI • University librairies have so few resources that students and professors are in the same position as the « outcasts » in the North. • Immediate and integral open access is a wonderful opportunity for them to access up to date scientific information. But it is mainly information from the Global North! • Open access responds only to one of the cognitive injustices, not to all of them • Open access to publications from the North could even increase epistemic alienation (cognitive injustice 9) if students and professors don’t have access to any local science or science from the Global South. • Open access should be accompanied by empowerment strategies for students and professors from Africa and Haiti, guiding them towards more research and publication in open access. 20
  21. 21. HOW TO OBTAIN OPEN ACCESS Two possibilities for researchers: - Publish in an open access journal (Gold way) - Archive one’s papers in an institutional repository (website) (green way) Conditions : Researchers must commit themselves to open access They must not fear journals They must have electricity and web access They must have a basic digital literacy, not considering that what is on the web is of less quality than what is printed. 21
  22. 22. 24 octobre 2016, après un resserrement des critères d’admission DOAJ: lists of open access journals 22
  23. 23. African journals 23
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. Le répertoire des archives universitaires ouvertes 25
  26. 26. OPEN ACCESS IS MORE AND MORE PUSHED BY SCIENCE POLICIES IN THE NORTH Accrued productivity of science and possibility of innovations + Fiscal justice = Most countries from the North demand that the publicly- funded scientists put their papers in open access 12 months after the publication at the latest. Science policies in Africa could fight oyher cognitive injustices (web, grants, scholarships, national languages in universities …) 26
  28. 28. USUAL MODUS OPERANDUS OF A SCIENCE SHOP IN THE GLOBAL NORTH 1. A civil society organisation suggests a project which could be a solution to a difficulty or a need regarding its mission 2. The Science shop recruits students and professors to do the project 3. The project is done by the students, under the supervision of the professor/tutor 4. The students give their report to the CSO 5. The CSO does not pay anything 6. The students get course credits or a mark for their participation
  29. 29. INADEQUACY OF THIS MODEL IN HAITI AND AFRICA On the university’s part : • In Global South, a University’s mission is very often to train future elite and public officials, not to be a sustainable local development tool • A Global south university perceived itself as an elite organization; local academics may tend to despise local CSOs’ work and local knowledge (cognitive injustice) • In a global South university, the main language is the colonial language (English or French), sometimes not well spoken among CSOs • The pedagogy is not open to replacing lectures with team work on specific projects
  30. 30. INADEQUACY OF THIS MODEL IN HAITI AND AFRICA On the CSO’s part : • In the Global South, supporting local CSOs generally refers to financial assistance. What organizations expect foremost to receive is money, not academic help. • A university is generally perceived as an elite organization. Therefore, CSOs may have trouble understanding the concept of "free" services that could be offered to them by an elite institution. • The location of the science shop office in a university building may also hamper the engagement of civil society organizations with university. • Usually, CSOs do not see the relevance of a university for them or for sustainable development…
  31. 31. OUR VISION : SCIENCE SHOP FOR AFRICA AND HAITI  De-localize the science shop outside university buildings, in areas where CSOs are active  Allow and encourage the use of local languages by CSOs and students  Carefully prepare a communication strategy, in local languages, to explain the concept of a science shop to CSOs; organize workshops  Enlarge the science shop mission to include a general dialogue between academics and civil society about the role and uses of a university  Enlarge the science shop range of services to make it a global resource (training)
  32. 32. These services :  Add to the science shop a wifi-powered makerspace, where people (students, CSOs, lecturers) can do things together : express needs and ideas, build things, but also discuss their problems, exchange ideas, solutions, research the web etc.  Research and methodology training for students and lecturers, through tutorials and mutual mentoring : how to manage a concrete project, write a report, but also how to use web tools, to research the open access web, to publish in open access, etc.  Workshops and conferences about sustainable development, local knowledge, CSO’s work and missions, alternative pedagogy, etc. SOHA has generated 9 projects of science shop in Haiti, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Guinée, Mali, Niger, Sénégal and RD Congo
  35. 35. GRENIER DES SAVOIRS An African platform of open access journals
  36. 36. ÉDITIONS SCIENCE ET BIEN COMMUN An open access book publisher, plurilingual
  37. 37. MOOC FOR DOCTORAL STUDENTS How to design and write a thesis proposal within a cognitive justice perspective
  38. 38. THEATER PLAY ABOUT COGNITIVE JUSTICE Collaborative writing with students from Haiti, Cameroon and Burkina Faso A play explaining cognitive justice and showing the importance of local knowledge and of a better relationship between universities and civil society, universities and villages
  39. 39. RECHERCHE DOCUMENTAIRE DANS LE WEB SCIENTIFIQUE LIBRE A guide in 8 steps to help students from the Global South or citizens non affiliated to a university find open access articles, journals, on the subject that they are interested in.
  40. 40. ROBOTIQUE - FABREL Introduction to robotics for primary school teachers in a Cameroon village Collaborative writing of local biology and physics textbooks bu secondary school teachers
  41. 41. Collaborative papers and books We have organised 3 conferences (2 in Haiti, 1 in Cameroon) to present open science to local students. Hundreds came and gave their opinion.
  42. 42. THIS PRESENTATION is licenced with Creative Commons: You can use it pour your teaching or training activities. It is part of Knowledge commons and belongs to all. Your turn!