Report from the LIBSENSE Repository Workshop II

The second LIBSENSE workshop took place on March 11 & 12, 2019 in Accra, Ghana.  The workshop was organized by WACREN (West and Central African Research and Education Network), in conjunction with EIFL and COAR, with support from OpenAIRE and the NII in Japan.

LIBSENSE is an initiative aimed at developing collaborations between libraries and research and education networks (RENs) in Africa to support open science. Open science, an international trend aimed at sharing research outputs widely, is transforming science and greatly increasing the impact of research. Although global in nature, there are important local and regional aspects of how open science is implemented. Services, policies and infrastructure that may be appropriate in the “global north” do not necessarily resonate with other regions.

LIBSENSE is working to develop sustainable and relevant approaches for open access and open science in the African context.  This was the second of three LIBSENSE workshops. The first workshop was held in November 2018 in Zanzibar, Tanzania at which the overall framework for collaboration between African libraries and NRENs was defined.

At the second workshop, participants finalized and endorsed a template for a Terms of Reference (ToRs) for joint activities across these the two communities. The template defines four key areas of collaboration: social change, infrastructure, capacity building, and value-added services, and provides examples of specific activities. Participants in the Accra workshop, who mainly came from West and Central African countries, identified priority activities and next steps for implementing the Terms of Reference in their countries. These discussions were supplemented by information collected through a survey of open science activities in African libraries.

One concrete outcome has already resulted from the LIBSENSE initiative. WACREN is planning to develop a shared hosting service for repositories in their region. The service is modelled on the approach of the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Japan, which currently hosts a majority of the Japanese university repositories. NII and WACREN will work together to pilot and implement this repository over the coming year. Other priorities identified were capacity building, policy templates and adoption, repository harvesting and discovery, and amplifying success stories.

To support national repository initiatives in Africa, the LIBSENSE initiative drafted and discussed templates for data exchange model agreements that cover the data acquisition policy for national/regional repository/aggregator and data usage policy. And to ensure interoperability across African repositories, draft metadata guidelines have been released for public comments and we welcome your feedback.

Another aim is to have LIBSENSE evolve into an active African community of practice for librarians and RENs related to open science. By the end of the third meeting, there will have been participants from all regions of Africa. Through LIBSENSE, this pan-African community can share experiences and information, laying the foundation for their leadership in the implementation of open science in their country.

Registration is open for the LIBSENSE III workshop hosted by ASREN at the Hôtel El Mouradi Gammarth in Tunis, Tunisia from April 26-28, 2019.

For more information, please visit LIBSENSE webpages.  If you are working on open science in Africa and want to join the LIBSENSE discussion list, please send an email to  libsense@ren.africa.