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

Registration for WACREN 2019 open!

You can now register for the WACREN 2019 Conference and Annual General Meeting to be held in Accra, Ghana on 14-15 March 2019.

The Programme Committee has put together an exciting programme for the participants; please do also consult the General Schedule of the WACREN 2019 Week.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a number of fun and exciting social events. Each event offers a unique opportunity to experience some of the local culture and network with fellow attendees.  

Venue and Accommodation
The venue of the event is the Accra Marriott Hotel.  The negotiated rate for bed and breakfast is $180.   

Please follow this link to book your group rate for WACREN 

A special rate of $150 (single occupancy) for bed & breakfast has also been negotiated in the nearby ibis Styles hotel.   Please use this booking form to make reservations and forward to HA0K0-RE@accor.com

These recommended hotels are close to the airport and provide free transfers.   

Money
Forex bureaus, as well as ATMs, are available at the airport and in these hotels.  Banks are generally open only from Monday to Friday (8 am – 4 pm) and Saturday morning, but ATMs are accessible 24/7.

Visa
If you need a visa for Ghana and there is a Ghanaian embassy in your country of residence, we recommend that you apply for a visa there; this will save you some time when you arrive at Accra airport.   Visas can, however, be issued on arrival for a fee of $150 if the option is selected on the registration form before February 22, 2019.

If you hold a passport from an ECOWAS country, you don’t need a visa to enter Ghana.

Quick links:

·       Conference website: https://indico.wacren.net/event/71/

·       LIBSENSE II Workshop: https://indico.wacren.net/event/77/

Don’t miss WACREN 2019 and a historical event: the first to be hosted in a connected NREN.

We look forward to welcoming you to Accra!

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