Started as an initiative to foster Library-NREN collaboration to provide digital services for African libraries, outcomes from LIBSENSE surveys and workshops in the three African NREN regions identified the provision of open resources and librarian ability to support these as a critical challenge in their professions.  Thus, a key focus for collaboration became strengthening open access and open science as an ideal future for research and education in Africa.  

To strengthen and stimulate action under its three pillars of infrastructure support, capacity-building and policy development, LIBSENSE in AfricaConnect3 has instituted a number of working groups, namely: Infrastructure – open access journals, repositories for publications and data, and open discovery services; Policies – open science policies, governance and leadership; Capacity Building – communities of practice and training; and region-specific and language-specific initiatives – Arabic (North Africa) and French (West and Central Africa).

As part of policy development, LIBSENSE has engaged with the UNESCO Open Science Partnership and adopted Open Science Africa: Principles and Actions for Global Participation. The community is now developing National Open Science Roadmaps, including policies, infrastructure, and capacities in pilot countries and, at the institutional level, targeted workshops for the executive leadership of HE institutions and policy-makers across Africa. On the infrastructure side, there are ongoing pilots to develop shared platforms for publications at the national level and to enable agriculture research data sharing at the regional level. 

Members in Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania, have started national policy conversations, convening experts, funders, researchers and librarians in stakeholder sessions to drive local open science action plans that improve open research and scholarly output.

LIBSENSE envisages these activities to form part of a sustainable framework for engaging with open science at institutional, national, regional and eventually continental levels. Rather than a top-down imposition of policies and principles, this initiative focuses on contingent, bottom-up and grassroots programmes of action initiated by its community. More at