[CODATA-international] NRF South Africa to host the AOSP Project Office

Asha CODATA asha at codata.org
Wed Apr 29 10:06:02 EDT 2020

The National Research Foundation <https://www.nrf.ac.za/> (NRF) of South
Africa will host the African Open Science Platform
<http://africanopenscience.org.za/> (AOSP) Project Office for the next 3 to
5 years. Supported by South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation
<https://www.dst.gov.za/> (DSI), key institutions in Africa, and the
Science Council <https://council.science/> (ISC), the AOSP (*Science for
the Future, the Future of Science*) makes the case for bold action to
mobilise the scientific community in Africa in responding to the challenges
of the digital revolution. The new paradigm of *Open Science* is a powerful
driver for scientific research and scholarship and its application to
social, economic and global environmental priorities.

The AOSP Advisory Council, following a competitive process, awarded the NRF
this significant opportunity to further establish and formalise a
Continental platform. With a strong emphasis on African unity as a nuanced
and dedicated focus, the NRF and the DSI recognise the significant
potential of the AOSP as a means to create an inclusive and integrated
culture of collaboration on the Continent in the service of democratising
information and knowledge across social boundaries for the achievement of
common goals and objectives.

The AOSP was initiated through a pilot phase supported by the DSI, and
managed by the NRF and the Academy of Science of South Africa
<https://www.assaf.org.za/> (ASSAf) during 2017-2019, with partners
including the International Science Council (ISC), and its Committee on Data
<https://codata.org/> (CODATA). Outputs included the collective development
of a draft roadmap for Open Science on the Continent, and four open science
frameworks that informed the first consultative stakeholder meeting, held
during 2-3 September 2019 in Alexandria, Egypt, to design the
implementation phase of the AOSP. Coordinated by the Chairperson of the
AOSP Advisory Council, Dr Khotso Mokhele, the Strategic Plan
<https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2222418> for the AOSP was launched during
South Africa’s Science Forum in December 2018. The AOSP aims to build a
critical mass of high-calibre open science research on the Continent, and
will ensure that its projects are aligned with existing programmes and
opportunities within regional and national research systems.

In collaboration with numerous key institutional and national initiatives,
including Governments, Science Granting Councils, research infrastructure
platforms, universities, and public and private research institutions,
workstreams of the formalised platform will include the development of a
legislatively compliant governance framework; the co-creation of a
sustainable long-term funding model; and formalisation of the AOSP
Operating Model.

The CEO of the NRF, Dr Molapo Qhobela, stated that: “*The NRF is delighted
to contribute to and support this strategic endeavour with a number of
national and international partners. To excel in the new data dispensation,
commitment and investment are required for Open Data policies, enabling
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure, and
commitment to the necessary human capacity development*”.

The AOSP Project Office, based at the NRF in Pretoria, South Africa, with
selected staff appointments, will be launched during 2020. The interim
contact person is Dr Sepo Hachigonta, Director Strategic Partnerships (
sepo.hachigonta at nrf.ac.za).

The Future of Science and Science of the Future: Vision and Strategy for
the African Open Science Platform: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2222418




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Asha Law | Program Assistant, CODATA | http://www.codata.org

E-Mail: asha at codata.org
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