The LIBSENSE Working Group on Infrastructure has developed a roadmap for promoting open science and advancing the development of digital services in African higher education and research institutions. The roadmap emphasizes the importance of persistent identifiers (PIDs) in enhancing the dissemination and accessibility of African scholarly content.

PIDs are unique, persistent references to digital objects, such as research papers, datasets, and software. They provide a stable way to identify and cite these objects, even if they are moved or deleted. PIDs can also be used to track the provenance of data, ensuring that it is reliable and accurate.

The roadmap makes the following recommendations for implementing PIDs in Africa:

  • Governance and Finance: Develop sustainable funding models and leverage research and education networks (RENs) to establish national and regional PID consortia to oversee governance and financing.
  • Advocacy and Capacity Building: Collaborate with PID organizations to raise awareness and train stakeholders, including funders, universities, researchers, and libraries.
  • Interoperability, Implementation, and Integration: Increase the adoption of PIDs in research workflows and establish reliable data exchange mechanisms between institutions, funders, and ministries.
  • Choosing the Right PIDs: Prioritise open, non-commercial, community-led, and sustainable PID systems such as Archival Resource Keys (ARKs), Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), ORCID iDs, and Research Organization Registry (ROR).

By following these recommendations, African institutions and researchers can enhance the visibility, accessibility, and traceability of scholarly content. This will help to promote open science and advance the development of a robust research ecosystem in Africa.

Here are some additional benefits of implementing PIDs in Africa:

  • Increased research impact: PIDs can help to increase the visibility and impact of African research by making it easier to find, cite, and reuse.
  • Improved collaboration: PIDs can help to improve research collaboration by making it easier to track the progress of research projects and share data and results.
  • Enhanced data management: PIDs can help improve data management by providing a way to identify and track data sets uniquely. This can help ensure data is appropriately stored, managed, and shared.

Implementing PIDs is crucial to building a robust research ecosystem in Africa. By following the recommendations in the roadmap, African institutions and researchers can significantly contribute to the global research community.