WACREN - COAR Agree to Continue Collaborating on Advancing Open Science in Africa

June 3, 2019 - COAR and WACREN are pleased to announce a new collaboration agreement to advance open access and open science in Africa.

 

Greater access to the results of research will contribute to improving the visibility and value of research outcomes. However, Africa is a large and very diverse continent and for open science to be adopted widely, services must reflect the variety of national and local priorities and needs in the region.

Thank you for a successful WACREN 2019 Conference!

WACREN wishes to thank members of the community, speakers, partners and sponsors who have all contributed to the success of the WACREN 2019 Conference held in Accra, Ghana, on 15-16 March 2019, preceded by the 2nd LIBSENSE workshop on 11-12 March, and the AfricaConnect2 Admin meeting and the public WACREN Board meeting on 13 March. 

The WACREN week was closed by the public WACREN Annual General Meeting.

The event was attended by more than 150 participants from 28 countries, with 24 excellent speakers selected by the Programme Committee whose members we also thank for their invaluable contribution.

All presentations are available online at https://indico.wacren.net/event/71/page/70-programme, and photos and videos at https://bit.ly/2FC9UEa.

Thank you to all our sponsors for their support: Microsoft (Platinum), Glo and MainOne (Gold), XON (Silver), ICANN and International Networks/Indiana University (Bronze), and Vodafone (Connectivity).

A special thank you to GARNET that has been a great host, as well as to the AfricaConnect2 project.

Don’t miss WACREN 2020 where we will celebrate WACREN @10. We will have another great host: Agence pour le Développement du Numérique (ADN). So, we hope to see you all again in Cotonou, Benin, in March 2020!

Boubakar Barry - CEO, WACREN

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.

WACREN collaborates with NII on research and development of Open Science infrastructure

Accra, Ghana, 15 March 2019 - The National Institute of Informatics, Research Organization of Information and Systems (NII/Director General: Dr. Masaru Kitsuregawa/Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan), and The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN/CEO: Dr. Boubakar Barry/Accra, Ghana) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the research and development of open science infrastructure.   In the first project, NII and WACREN will start the joint development of a repository and research data management system.  The new system will encourage researchers to share their research output and consequently facilitate Open Science.

Prof. Kazu Yamaji and Dr Boubakar Barry at the signing in WACREN 2019 Conference

National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) aim to provide high-speed Internet service for research and education communities of their respective countries.  They also develop and provide scholarly communication infrastructure as “above the net” services by integrating tools to support researcher workflows across various disciplines in response to demands from member institutions, which rely on them for shared services and economies of scale.

Open Science is a new movement attracting global attention that seeks to make scientific processes and results more transparent and accessible. It involves making complete research materials, data, and lab procedures freely available online in addition to the research papers. Sharing these materials allows others to evaluate, use, and analyze them in new ways, which speed up scientific discoveries, reduce unnecessary duplication of experiments, and provide a mechanism for innovation, social justice and economic growth.

NII is developing a new e-research infrastructure for facilitating open science by using a repository system and a research data management (RDM) layer as the main components. The institutional repository is a system for collecting and disseminating the research output of institutions. NII has been developing a new repository system called WEKO3. More than 500 institutions in Japan use the current WEKO2 system through a cloud service named JAIRO Cloud. WACREN has a similar NREN-driven service model for African universities as NII, so cooperation will lead to the development of new functionality and sharing of experiences in the pilot operation.

In the research cycle, the RDM system is used before the research output is put into the repository. Appropriate management of data between collaborators can accelerate research and is important for research integrity. The RDM system is used in the researcher’s daily activities, so its integration with the repository system is expected to lower barriers and promote open science activity. Supporting RDM is new to both NII and WACREN; therefore, the collaboration will use contributions and experience from both partners to develop the institutional RDM system and deploy it in their respective communities.

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About the National Institute of Informatics (NII)
NII is Japan’s only academic research institute dedicated to the new discipline of informatics. Its mission is to "create future value" in informatics. NII conducts both long-term basic research and practical research aimed at solving social problems in a wide range of informatics research fields, from fundamental theories to the latest topics, such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, and information security.

As an inter-university research institute, NII builds and operates academic information infrastructure essential for the research and educational activities of the entire academic community (including the Science Information Network) as well as developing services such as those that enable the provision of academic content and service platforms. https://www.nii.ac.jp/en/

About the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN)
The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) supports interconnections and fosters collaboration between R&E institutions in the region and international peers by building and operating a world-class network infrastructure, developing state-of-the-art services, promoting collaboration among national, regional, and international R&E communities, and building the human capacity of the REN community. 

WACREN was constituted in 2010, and membership is open to all 22 countries in the region. It currently has 13 participating National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. WACREN deploys cloud-based infrastructure to ease technological challenges experienced by many of its members. https://www.wacren.net

Press Contact:

National Institute of Informatics, Research Organization of Information and Systems

Publicity Team
Tel: +81-3-4212-2164
E-mail: media@nii.ac.jp

The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN)

Media Team
Tel: +233 20 522 8693
E-mail: media@wacren.net

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