News & Articles

Open Science in Africa and in South Africa

The Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World was launched at the Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) in December 2015.  It was fitting that the next edition of SFSA should see the launch of an African Open Science Platform intiatiative that seeks to put into practice the principles and enabling practices for Open Data and Open Science that are laid out in the Accord.

The Africa-wide initiative will promote the development and coordination of data policies, data training and data infrastructure.  An open science platform is conceived as an integrated set of arrangements that provides a policy, capacity-building and infrastructural framework for enhanced accessibility and impact. The initiative also focuses on the creation of national Open Science fora through which policies and coordination can be discussed and established.

The pilot phase is supported by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), directed by CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and implemented by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

ASSAf and CODATA organised a side-event workshop and a parallel session at Science Forum South Africa.  The programmes for these events are linked below.

Additionally, CODATA has assisted our colleagues at ASSAf on the preparatons of a workshop intended to prepare recommendatiosn towards the preparation of a White Paper on Open Research in South Africa.

These are major develoopments and indicative of the determination of African countries, research institutions and scientists to embrace the benefits of the digital revolution and open approaches to research.

 


African Open Science Platform to boost the impact of open data for science and society: Media Release

An initiative to establish an African Open Science Platform to promote the value and exploit the potential of Open Data for science was announced by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs. Naledi Pandor, at the Science Forum South Africa 2016 (SFSA).

The Africa-wide initiative will promote the development and coordination of data policies, data training and data infrastructure. The pilot phase, launched today, is supported by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), directed by CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and implemented by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).

The initiative originates from the Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World, which was launched at the SFSA in 2015. The Accord presents an inclusive vision of the need for and the benefits of science Open Data internationally, and in particular for lower and middle-income countries.  The International Council of Science and the other partners to the Science International Accord welcome the initiative and have helped build the partnerships for the pilot.

Minister Pandor commented “The creation of the African Open Science Platform is an excellent example of the tangible impact our Science Forum has already achieved in harnessing international partnerships to advance African science.  The Platform will play a critical role to assist African countries in developing the necessary capacities to manage and exploit scientific data for the benefit of society.  I am proud that our Department, and its entities the NRF and ASSAf, are contributing to this crucial mission.”

For more information please consult the full media release here


CODATA TG, China-GEOSS, Tonkin+Taylor and the Recent NZ Earthquake

The CODATA Task Group on Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research (LODGD) has assisted in providing data relating to the recent NZ earthquake.

Tonkin+Taylor is collating geo-spatial information for the NZ Earthquake Commission on the damage caused by the 7.8 Magnitude Kaikoura Earthquake which can be accessed through a web-based viewer for use by Whole of Government, and also by response and recovery agencies, engineers and researchers. This information includes imagery taken from helicopters, aircraft and satellites, in particular the TripleSat (Chinese satellite) sourced through colleagues in the CODATA Task Group.  The data includes 15 high res images observed in 14th and 16th after the earthquake, both with 3m and 0.8 resolution, provided by two Chinese commercial satellites.   The platform that was used to organise the Chinese satellite data is based on China-GEOSS.

The earthquake, which occurred at 0002 hrs (NZ time) on 14 November 2016, caused major damage and disruption to the main transport network (Road and Rail) in the Upper South Island, and this information is therefore also being used by the New Zealand Transport Agency for recovery planning purposes.

Bapon Fakhruddin, co-chair of CODATA LODGD and Tonkin+Taylor

Li Guoqing, co-chair of CODATA LODGD, RADI and China-GEOSS


CODATA Recommended Values of the Fundamental Physical Constants: 2014: Full Scholarly Paper Now Available

The full scholarly paper providing 'the 2014 self-consistent set of values of the constants and conversion factors of physics and chemistry recommended by the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA)' was published in September 2016 in Reviews of Modern Physics https://doi.org/10.1103/RevModPhys.88.035009 and is also openly available from the NIST website <http://ws680.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=920687>.  'These values are based on a least-squares adjustment that takes into account all data available up to 31 December 2014.'  The paper also provide ‘details of the data selection and methodology of the adjustment’.
 
 

 


JKUAT iCEOD and IBM: Sharing knowledge with the wider community to improve public health and solve social challenges

IBM Cloud is collaborating with the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data (iCEOD) of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the initial locus of CODATA Kenya.

IBM Cloud has recently published an article about this activity.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology: Sharing knowledge with the wider community to improve public health and solve social challenges
By building an open cloud data platform that academics and social entrepreneurs can use to access research datasets and build innovative mobile applications, JKUAT is able to preserve the value of its data and encourage the development of solutions for social and economic challenges across Kenya.

'“We wanted to maximize the value of our datasets—both to save money and, crucially, to encourage innovation and collaboration in the wider community,” says Professor Wafula. “For example, we knew that improving research and knowledge in areas such as nutrition would be important in enhancing the health of Kenyans—many of whom also need to maximize limited resources when it comes to buying the best food for their families.

“If we could take our data outside the confines of academia and allow developers and social entrepreneurs to harness it, we hoped that they would start building applications to use this information for the public good.”

Read the rest of the story at http://ecc.ibm.com/case-study/us-en/ECCF-KUC12432USEN


Read more CODATA news