The Forum on Open Data and Open Science in Agriculture, that took place on the 15th of June 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, brought together 44 stakeholders in agriculture for an exchange of strategies on improving the visibility and accessibility of agricultural data and science in Kenya.
The participants came from various Kenyan institutions including universities, research institutes/organizations, ministries, innovation hubs, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), journal publishers, science academies, and United Nations agencies.
Easy availability and open access to agriculture data and science has great potential to contribute to developing innovative solutions to address food insecurity and combat hunger and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, the challenge is that much of the agriculture and related data generated in most SSA countries are not visible and available for access and re-use to meaningfully contribute to impact on food security in the region. This is due to several reasons both at institutional and national levels.
As a result of the forum, the stakeholders agreed that open science requires an enabling environment framework including appropriate policies and strategies on an governmental and institutional level. Furthermore a better rewarding system for researchers/scientists that supports open publishing and collaborative research work, especially in regard to young scientists, is needed. One of the problems is a lack understanding of open data/science and unclear intellectual property rights policies that lead to an "over protection" of data. However, there are also several Kenyan initiatives that support open science and that can foster opening processes. Key recommendations for action include especially advocacy on an institutional and governmental level. This could be particularly driven forward by the KAINet secretariat and member institutions.
The forum will be consolidated in order to continue the consultations and strenghten a permanent exchange between stakeholders.
The event was organized by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and with the support of International Council for Science: Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
Please have a look at the report (attached to this blog) for more information.