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The Dakar Declaration on Open Science

The Dakar Declaration on Open Science in Africa was prepared for and signed by the participants to the Sci-GaIA Workshop on “Promoting Open Science in Africa”, to the 2nd TANDEM Workshop and to the WACREN Conference 2016, all held in Dakar in March 2016. After those events, the Sci-GaIA Consortium has decided to put the declaration on the website of the project to allow everybody sharing it to sign it online. A signatory of this petition agrees to promote and support Open Science across Africa. This international effort will help to raise the profile of African research across the world and assist African Universities and research organizations to adopt Open Science approaches and technologies..

“Opening Science in Africa to better open Africa to Science”

Taking note of some of the already existing declarations on Open Access, Open Education and Open Science, the signatories agree that

“Open science is a means and not an end in itself and it is much more than just open access to publications or data; it includes many aspects and stages of research processes thus enabling full reproducibility and re-usability of scientific results.”[5]

In the last years, the issue of science reproducibility, one of the cornerstones of the Scientific Method and a key driver through the Knowledge Path, has indeed attracted an increasing attention worldwide, both inside and outside the research community. Real science reproducibility should include full access to papers and to the whole set of data and computer tools, and Open Science is the only viable approach to turn this vision into a reality.

The signatories consider then of utmost importance:

  • That African students and researchers of all disciplines have open access to scientific results, training, education and other relevant resources worldwide;
  • The deployment in Africa of an Open Science Platform seamlessly interfaced to production-quality distributed (Grid, Cloud and High Performance) computing and data infrastructures;
  • The porting to the Open Science Platform of the applications belonging to Communities of Practice (CoPs) located in the continent;
  • To carry out a training and dissemination program to foster the adoption of the Open Science Platform by (especially early stage) researchers.

For the above reasons, the signatories commit to foster:

  • The promotion of the adoption of Open Access and Linked Open Data policies, infrastructures and initiatives (repositories, knowledge bases, etc.) by African universities and research organisations;
  • The development and establishment of advanced scientific recognition and research assessment systems, based on unique identifiers for researchers;
  • The promotion of the access, use and sharing of research publications and data, including software and analysis objects through the pervasive use of digital object identifiers;
  • The deployment of Science Gateways, and other kinds of portals and sophisticated user interfaces (also available on mobile appliances), to seamlessly execute complex applications and workflows for Big Data analytics on various types of e-Infrastructures;
  • To encourage, support and eventually monitor the establishment of widely shared standards for institutional open access policies concerning research publications and teaching materials;
  • The gathering and mapping of the African open access landscape;
  • The establishment and use of platforms, such as web forums, to improve the dialogue and share good practices on Open Access, Open Data and Open Science among all stakeholders – especially researchers, universities, research funding and performing organisations, libraries, politicians and publishers;
  • The adoption of Open Science concepts and practices inside university curricula to better fulfil the requirements of an Open Knowledge and Open Innovation society

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