A Big Win for East Africa with the Inclusion of Open Science in the EAC STI Policy

19 April 2024 Categories: latest news, News, Press Releases

The 3rd East African Community (EAC) Regional Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Conference, held from March 6-8, 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya, marked a significant milestone for the region with the launch of the East African Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2023-2033 & the East African Regional Intellectual Property (IP) Policy 2023-2033. However, what truly sets this achievement apart was the inclusion of Open Science principles and guidelines in the new policy framework – a remarkable first for the region and Africa that will unlock the full potential of scientific research and drive sustainable development across East Africa. The detailed sectoral policy objectives for Open Science are outlined on page 29 of the document.

This historic achievement was the culmination of concerted efforts by a strategic partnership between the Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa), Public Library of Science ( PLOS) , and the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO). The collaboration began in 2022, with the shared vision of promoting Open Science principles and practices and empowering researchers across the EAC Partner States, which include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia,United Republic of Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. 

“We are enthusiastic about participating in this process and we take pride in the fact that East Africa, particularly the East Africa Community, is establishing a precedent in Africa by incorporating Open Science into its regional STI Policy,” states Ms. Joy Owango, Executive Director of the Training Centre in Communication. “This will serve as a basis for understanding and applying this regional policy to meet the specific needs of the East African countries and we are eager to collaborate with them in order to help them achieve their national goals in Open Science,” she says.

The journey started with a series of national dialogues, with the inaugural national Open Science dialogue taking place in Tanzania in February 2023, followed by another session in Kenya in September 2023. With the policy groundwork in place, the partnership is now focused on expanding its reach to the remaining EAC nations, including Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Plans are underway to hold similar national dialogues in Uganda and other East African countries, intending to identify each nation’s specific needs and barriers to adopting Open Science practices.  

“I’m truly thrilled to see the inclusion of Open Science in regional STI policy. Open Science has the potential to make the scientific process more transparent, inclusive and equitable,” remarked Roheena Anand, Executive Director of Global Publishing Development at PLOS. “Our collaboration with TCC Africa and EASTECO has focused on facilitating and supporting both regional and national high-level Open Science policy dialogues with key higher-education stakeholders. These discussions have added to our understanding of the barriers to participation and will enable us to work towards solutions that address them. We look forward to evolving our learning with the remaining EAC countries.” 


‘’It is a dream come true for the East African region, considering the efforts being made to increase the capacity of the region to disseminate research findings and to access scientific production from other parts of the world . Through this initiative, we look forward to enhanced visibility and to leverage on the numerous benefits of open science to support widening and deepening of the integration agenda’’, said Dr. Sylvance Okoth, Executive Secretary of EASTECO. 


Dr. Sylvance Okoth, Executive Secretary, East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO); Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, Executive Secretary, Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), and Prof. Walter O. Oyawa, Director General of the National Commission for Science, Technology & Innovation (NACOSTI) launching the EAC Regional STI & East African Regional Intellectual Property (IP) Policy

Open Science principles promote the free and open dissemination of research outputs, data, and scientific information, facilitating collaboration, reproducibility, and societal engagement in the research process. Its inclusion in the policy unleashes new opportunities for innovation, economic growth, and sustainable development by breaking down barriers to accessing and building upon scientific knowledge. As the EAC embarks on this journey, the partnership between TCC Africa, PLOS, and EASTECO stands ready to support and empower stakeholders in realizing the full benefits of open and equitable research practices.

About the East African Science and Technology Commission

EASTECO was established as a semi-autonomous institution of the EAC by the 5th Extra-ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held on 18th June 2007, in accordance with Chapter 16, Article 103 (a) of the Treaty on the Establishment of the East African Community, where the Partner States undertook to promote cooperation in the development of Science & Technology within the Community. https://easteco.org/historical-background/

” The overall objective of the Commission is to coordinate and promote the development, management and application of science and technology in Partner States to support regional integration and socio-economic development”


About the Public Library of Science

PLOS is a nonprofit, open access publisher empowering researchers to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. Since our founding in 2001, PLOS journals have helped break boundaries in research communication to provide more opportunities, choice, and context for researchers and readers. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org.


About the Training Centre in Communication Africa

The Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa) is the first African-based training center to teach effective communication skills to scientists. TCC Africa is an award winning  Trust, established as a non-profit entity in 2006 and is registered in Kenya.  TCC Africa provides  capacity support in improving researchers  output and visibility through training in  scholarly and science communication.

TCC Africa’s mission is to contribute to the increase in profile, locally, and internationally, of African science, and its impact on the life of Africans, by improving skills in technical communication in all forms, at academia and other relevant forums, in Africa.

Our objective is to train. support. empower. researchers  through capacity in improving their research output and visibility. For more information, https://www.tcc-africa.org/



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The Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa) is the first award-winning African-based training centre to teach effective communication skills to scientists.


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