The African Open Science Platform: The Future of Open Science

This document presents a draft strategy and makes the scientific case for the African Open Science Platform (AOSP)

The African Open Science Platform's mission is to...

... put African scientists at the cutting edge of contemporary, data-intensive science as a fundamental resource for a modern society. Its building blocks are:

  • a federated hardware, communications and software infrastructure, including policies and enabling practices, to support Open Science in the digital era;
  • a network of excellence in Open Science that supports scientists & other societal actors in accumulating and
  • using modern data resources to maximise scientific, social and economic benefit.

These objectives will be realised through seven related strands of activity:

Strand 0: Register & portal for African & related international data collections & services

Strand 1: A federated network of computational facilities and services

Strand 2: Software tools & advice on policies & practices of research data management

Strand 3: A Data Science Institute at the cutting edge of data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Strand 4: Priority application programmes: e.g. cities, disease, biosphere, agriculture

Strand 5: A Network for Education & Skills in data & information

Strand 6: A Network for Open Science Access and Dialogue

The document also outlines the proposed governance, membership and management structure of the Platform, the approach to initial funding and the milestones in building up to the launch.

Open Science is a vital enabler in...

... maintaining the rigour and reliability of science; in creatively integrating diverse data resources to address complex modern challenges; in open innovation and in engaging with other societal actors as knowledge partners in tackling shared problems.

The case for Open Science is based on the profound implications for society and for science, of the digital revolution and of the storm of data that it has unleashed and of the pervasive and novel means of communication that it has enabled. No state should fail to recognise this potential or to adapt their national intellectual infrastructure in exploiting benefits and minimising risks. 

Moreover, Open Science is fundamental to realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. National science systems worldwide are struggling to adapt to this new paradigm. The alternatives are to do so or risk stagnating in a scientific backwater, isolated from creative streams of social, cultural and economic opportunity.

Africa should adapt and capitalise on the opportunities, but in its own way, and as a leader not a follower, with broader, more societally-engaged priorities. It should seize the challenge with boldness and resolution.

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