Omo Oaiya


Speaker: Omo Oaiya, Chief Strategy Officer, West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN), Ghana

Omo Oaiya is the Chief Strategy Officer of the West and Central Research and Education Network (WACREN). Omo facilitates WACREN strategy and business development planning and assists the CEO in implementation and monitoring oversight. He was the pioneer CTO of the RREN and continues to work on the technical development of high-capacity network infrastructure for research and education.  Before WACREN, he was CEO of Datasphir, a private sector consultancy offering software development and project management support to the education sector in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. He currently leads LIBSENSE, a pan-African initiative to build the information management capability of librarians and researchers and strengthen local services to support open science and research in Africa.

Abstract: “LIBSENSE - An African Framework for Sustainable Open Science”

LIBSENSE is a Pan-African initiative instituted in 2017 to foster Library/NREN collaboration around the provision of digital services for African libraries, specifically, those in research and higher education and particularly around Open Science. After a successful pan-African survey and workshop series in AfricaConnect2, founding members WACREN, Ubuntunet Alliance and ASREN, in collaboration with three other core partners (COAR, EIFL and University of Sheffield Information School), have undertaken new activities in 2020-2021.  To strengthen and stimulate action under its three pillars of infrastructure support, capacity building and policy development, LIBSENSE in AfricaConnect3 has instituted some working groups, namely: Infrastructure - open access journals, repositories for publications and data, and open discovery services; Policies - open science policies, governance and leadership; Capacity Building - communities of practice and training; and region-specific and language-specific initiatives - Arabic (North Africa) and French (West and Central Africa).  

LIBSENSE envisages these activities to form part of a sustainable framework for engaging with open science at institutional, national, regional and eventually continental levels.  Rather than the top-down imposition of policies and principles, this initiative focuses on contingent, bottom-up and grassroots programmes of action initiated by its community.  Examples are 12 workshops under capacity-building endeavours, with two focusing on skills development and the others on open access publishing, research data repositories and repository interoperability, persistent Identifiers, engagement with faculty and support and training. 

LIBSENSE has also engaged with the UNESCO Open Science Partnership and adopted Open Science Africa: Principles and Actions for Global Participation. Furthermore, LIBSENSE is developing National Open Science Roadmaps to roll out open science policies and infrastructure in African pilot countries. At the institutional level, targeted workshops are planned for the executive leadership of HE institutions and policy-makers across Africa. On the infrastructure side, plans are also underway to develop shared platforms at the national level.