Pretoria, South Africa- Higher Education stakeholders in Southern Africa gathered for the Regional Open Science dialogue, which was held from 25-26 April 2023 at the University of Pretoria.
In June 2022 the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Library Services hosted the first step of a collaborative programme on Open Science Education and Awareness, with an inter-institutional Open Science workshop in collaboration with the Training Centre in Communications (TCC Africa) and PLOS (the Public Library of Science) and the University of Cape Town.
The 2022 workshop enabled a structured and impactful engagement of Open Science key stakeholders (Open Science leaders and key players) within higher education institutions in South Africa, a crucial step towards ensuring successful implementation of the South African Open Science policy, while leaving no one behind. This engagement is now being expanded regionally to Southern Africa Higher Education Institutions and their stakeholders.
The Association of Africa Universities (AAU), TCC Africa and PLOS have been hosting an ongoing series of high-level Open Science dialogue workshops targeting institutional leadership in AAU member regions and universities. The main objective of these dialogues is to raise knowledge and awareness on the importance and best practice of Open Science and Open Access, and increase the number of Open Science mandates within higher education institutions. This hybrid workshop follows two others in East (Tanzania) and North (Egypt) Africa
The Southern African Open Science dialogue aimed to achieve the following outcomes:
The event, with more than 700 registered participants, was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the host university, Professor Tawana Kupe from the University of Pretoria.
The University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Health Sciences shared their notable advances towards Open Access and Open Science. These include publishing theses and dissertations in repositories, publishing preprints, study protocols; and removing the financial barrier to publishing. Their researchers benefit from the University of Pretoria Library APC (article processing charge) support which can pay up to 60% of the APC. In addition, the Faculty’s Research Office has tested APC support for outputs published in DHET (Department of Higher Education and Training) accredited journals.
The participants listed thoughts and ideas on practical actions that governments, researchers and academic institutions, answering questions detailed in the documents linked below:
You can access the recording of the 2 day workshop through the link here: https://doi.org/10.21428/3b2160cd.ff9b2618 cite as Owango, J., Kupe, T., Oyewole, O. B., Mchunu, N., Wanyenze, R., Veldsman, S., … Nxomani, C. (2023). Regional Open Science Dialogue in Southern Africa. AfricArXiv.
About the Organizers
University of Pretoria
The University of Pretoria, is a multi-campus public research university in Pretoria, the administrative and de facto capital of South Africa. Since 1997, the university has produced more research outputs every year than any other institution of higher learning in South Africa, as measured by the Department of Education’s accreditation benchmark. Fifty-three UP researchers are in the top 1% according to the Web of Science Index of 2019.
For more information, visit: https://www.up.ac.za/
University of Capetown
The University of Capetown, is a public research university in Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 1829 as the South African College, it was granted full university status in 1918, making it the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest university in Sub-Saharan Africa in continuous operation. UCT is consistently the highest-ranked African university in the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
For more information, visit: https://uct.ac.za/
Africa Open Science Platform (AOSP)
The Africa Open Science Platform (AOSP) was established in 2017 with the aim to position African scientists at the cutting edge of data-intensive science by stimulating interactivity and creating opportunity through the development of efficiencies of scale, building critical mass through shared capacities, and amplifying impact through a commonality of purpose and voice.
For more information on AOSP, visit: https://aosp.org.za/
Association for African Universities
Founded in Rabat, Morocco on November 12, 1967, The Association of African Universities (AAU) is an NGO based in Accra, Ghana. The mission is “to enhance the quality and relevance of higher education in Africa and strengthen its contribution to Africa’s development”. While serving as the “voice of higher education” on the continent. With over 400 member institutions across Africa, AAU provides a forum for cooperation and exchange of information on higher education and research policies, creating spaces for research, reflection, consultation, debates, co-operation, and collaboration on issues pertaining to higher education.
Read more about AAU here: https://aau.org/about/
Public Library of Science (PLOS)
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 .
Training Centre in Communication (TCC 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.
For more information, visit https://www.tcc-africa.org/