[CODATA-international] Digital Feudalism

Denis Fidalis Mujibi denis at usomi.com
Mon Oct 14 01:36:15 EDT 2019

This issue of feudalism is a power balance problem rather than an awareness problem. I have faced it multiple times and have been stone walled every time. The people with the money often fashion those agreements to assign IP for funded developments to themselves.
On several occassions I have not been able to access data that i have personally collected once it enters some repository out of the country. This often makes people skeptical about this whole open data arrangements. It seems to me that data is often flowing in one direction, out of Africa!
I am in the process of renegotiating an agreement that assigns IP to a potential funder. This power imbalance, especially when you are seeking financing, requires recalibration.
Dr. Denis F. Mujibi, PhDCEO, USOMI LTDwww.usomi.comTwitter: @UsomiAgro; @DenisMujibiSkype: Denis.MujibiLinkedIn: https://ke.linkedin.com/in/denisMujibi 
-------- Original message --------From: Florida Maritim <Florida.Maritim at kalro.org> Date: 13/10/2019  11:54  (GMT+03:00) To: Kiringai Kamau <kiringai.kamau at godan.info>, "Mwitondi, Kassim" <K.Mwitondi at shu.ac.uk> Cc: CODATA International <codata-international at lists.codata.org> Subject: Re: [CODATA-international] Digital Feudalism 

Drs. Kassim and Kiringai,
I concur since this is not the 1st time experts have come up with good ideas but they reach the dead-end for not being inclusive and multi-displinary
 and thanks for sharing and sincerity and this happens a lot even in the agricultural research sector in sub Saharan Africa, we have a number of excellent technologies and miss out on the adoption.
From: CODATA-international [mailto:codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org]
On Behalf Of Kiringai Kamau

Sent: Saturday, October 12, 2019 3:44 PM

To: Mwitondi, Kassim <K.Mwitondi at shu.ac.uk>

Cc: CODATA International <codata-international at lists.codata.org>

Subject: Re: [CODATA-international] Digital Feudalism

Kassim, Niek


As you rightly say, most of the projects are undertaken from a top-down perspective, with limited sharing of knowledge among all the actors ... the beneficiaries rarely get to see the definition of the mission and the impatience to get
 started by those coming with the project funds creates no opportunity for any preparedness among the beneficiary partners. Where knowledgeable persons exist, they may only be hosted within institutions. In many cases, such institutions are not core/key actors
 in the problem/project definition. They are only invited, by a higher privileged office/officer, when everything has been defined and pathways of implementation determined at a political level they cannot question. Economic or political interests are the pathways
 that those with interests use to take advantage of a system they may know presents the opportunity to give them leeway to mine data for their use and leave with it. The projects therefore are not defined with any other intention other than the data sourcing
 for a song and empty promises by those portending to possess the knowledge that will develop a beneficiary country. 


Realizing this challenge, the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition convened with ministers of the South-South an Open Data Conference in Nairobi where a Declaration was formulated. We are currently supporting African countries
 to evolve policies and frameworks that can advise compliance to national, regional and global agendas and in the process build local capacity key of which is data governance. I am convinced that we can sport feudal inclinations on behalf of partner countries
 in projects and therefore request anyone formulating a project that they feel should be bottom-up and create local knowledge should link up with GODAN through Suchith or myself (in case your area of focus is Africa).


Thanks, Suchith for sharing the Feudalism concerns.


Kiringai Kamau



On Sat, Oct 12, 2019 at 10:16 AM Mwitondi, Kassim <K.Mwitondi at shu.ac.uk> wrote:

This is an instance of a biased data ownership. A few years ago I was working with a young African researcher on an agro-forestry research project. No sooner had we started than I realused that her centre had only some descriptive statistics
 but no direct access to the biomass data which she and her colleagues had spent months collecting from two islands! The vast chunk of the data had left with the development partners at the end of the project. It turned out, nobody at the centre had any knowledge
 or pressing interest to pursue the data and there was already new initiatives to run another project, which in my view was almost a duplicate of the first, but this time with a different development partner.

To cut the long story short, I have come across several cases of data ownership of this nature and my view is that it doesn't help much coining terminologies, as the best that can be achieved is a blame culture. Would I call that data capitalism? Colonialism?
 Feudalism? I never would! I have learnt, over the years, that proper problem identification is a major stride in working out the solution. Blaming it on one part marginalizing the other when it comes to data generation, access and ownership is stripping everyone
 on the project of a fundamental responsibility in managing the project.

Apparently, the problem starts with the project write-up. If the project recipient is fully engaged from project initiation to delivery, they surely should know how to access the data, as that is a key project deliverable. My personal experience is that there
 are a several factors that lead to this kind of situation. One, many project ideas are top-down, that is, they are not developed within the working conditions of the recipients. Two, there are often many gaps in engagement, mainly caused by near disparate
 motives on many projects, with the funders, experts and recipients not necessarily having the same perception, motives or knowledge. Put the two together and add the determined project timeline, you have a near disaster. But the tripartite interests to run
 projects continues and we are creating a vicious cycle. What is the solution? It must start from the recipients who must align each incoming project with their respective development strategies. They must present themselves as equal partners in defining the
 project problem and tracking and measuring its outcomes. They should be able to quantifiable identify what worked and what didn't and any there should be national institutions charged with such responsibility. I could be writing all night, I would rather stop
 here for now.



Dr Kassim S. Mwitondi

Sheffield Hallam University

Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts

Communication & Computing Research Centre

9410 Cantor Building, City Campus

153 Arundel Street

Sheffield, S1 2NU

United Kingdom

Tel. +44-114-2256914 (Direct)

Tel. +44-114-2255555 (General)


From: CODATA-international <codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org>
 on behalf of Trimpact - Niek <niek at trimpact.nl>

Sent: 11 October 2019 18:12:22

To: 'Ernie Boyko' <boykern at yahoo.com>; 'CODATA International' <codata-international at lists.codata.org>; 'Suchith Anand' <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>

Subject: Re: [CODATA-international] Digital Feudalism 


Dear all,
This is indeed a huge problem. I also recently learned that information data from NGOs are best perhaps shared with some ministries in Bamako, Mali, but not within a region where the work is being done. This implies that local decision
 makers remain dependant on the information/data stream back from the ministries which may take some months, if ever. This can never be the purpose of the work executed.
Since most of the projects are financed with public funding for the benefit of de people in the given (development) country and data/information belong in fact to the real funds provider of the work (i.e. tax payers), claims of intellectual
 property rights that data belong to the project executors seem not applicable. Consequently, data and other information (e.g. lessons learned) should be shared at large to the population and other relevant stakeholders to avoid duplication of efforts.
A discussion worthwhile to be continued.
Kind regards,
Dr. Niek van Duivenbooden
Bringing value to life
Mezenlaan 138  -  6951 HR Dieren  -  The Netherlands – T +31 61 13 81 061
64218422   -
niek at trimpact.nl
 - www.Trimpact.nl

Van: CODATA-international <codata-international-bounces at lists.codata.org>
Namens Ernie Boyko

Verzonden: vrijdag 11 oktober 2019 15:26

Aan: CODATA International <codata-international at lists.codata.org>; Suchith Anand <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>

Onderwerp: Re: [CODATA-international] Digital Feudalism


Thank you Suchith,

I have not heard that term before but I did run into   related term this week at the DDI-CODATA workshop here in Dagstuhl.  The term is Data Colonialism.  This often happens when a foreign entity (e.g., a development agency/project).e
 data are collected in a developing country and are taken out of the country.  They will leave behind some summary tables but will take the rich data and metadata away.  This makes it difficult to develop the data analysis and management skills within the country.  


Thanks for the message.


Cheers, Ernie
Larrimac:  More than a golf course!
CODATA: Making data work together to improve science to support decision makers.



On Friday, October 11, 2019, 08:51:29 AM EDT, Suchith Anand <Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk>




I came across a recent op-ed by Prof. Mariana Mazzucato on “Digital Feudalism”  at
Prof. Mazzucato is a leading researcher and thinker on Technology and Innovation, advisor to the European Commission on research and innovation strategy, and
 author of two important books on the subject “The Value of Everything” and “The Entrepreneurial State”. 
The report on “Mission-oriented Research and Innovation in the European Union” might be of interest
Since the use of cloud platforms for GIS data analysis is having a huge impact on the GIS community, the subject is of relevance.
I would like learn more on this 

Are there any examples of Digital Feudalism in GIS? 
How will Digital Feudalism in GIS affect our future generations?
What policies are governments, regulators doing to reduce Digital Feudalism in GIS?
What policies and curriculum are universities, educators adopting to reduce Digital Feudalism in GIS?
Best wishes,

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Kiringai Kamau


GODAN Africa Lead

Programme for Capacity Development in Africa (P4CDA Africa)

GODAN Head Office

845 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 0G4

Macdonald Campus, McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9

Programme for Capacity Development in Africa (P4CDA)
PO Box 1618, 00100 GPO Nairobi, 1st Floor, Nyaku House, Argwings Kodhek Road
Cell: +254 722 800 986/+254 733 375 505
kiringai.kamau at godan.info or
kiringai at perfect.africa

www.godan.info or
Tweeter: @kiringaik, Skype: kiringai.kamau

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