New partnership to promote open data awareness and participation in Africa

Figshare – a world leader in digital infrastructure that supports open research, and part of Digital Science – has formed a new partnership with the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA), which is committed to open data and information sharing across Africa.

The partnership is aimed at promoting open data awareness and participation in Africa, to improve access to and use of open data across the continent.

Helena Asamoah-Hassan, Executive Director of AfLIA, said: “We are excited to enter into this partnership with Figshare, to work on collaborative activities that support awareness of open science and data repositories, and to support the research and education communities in Africa.

“Open data has the potential to drive innovation, economic growth, and social development by enabling individuals and organizations to make more informed decisions. However, in many African countries, access to open data is limited, and there is a lack of awareness and understanding of its potential benefits.

“Through our open data initiatives, we aim to support African higher education and research institutions, ultimately contributing to a stronger open science ecosystem in Africa for the benefit of our communities, and the world.”

Daniel Hook, CEO of Digital Science, said: “At Digital Science, we believe that research needs to be open, collaborative and inclusive so that the benefits are accrued rapidly, maximally and fairly. It is humbling to see the leadership shown by the willingness of so many researchers and institutions in Africa to embrace open and FAIR data principles, and I am proud that Figshare is able to support AfLIA through this new partnership.

“By providing key infrastructures such as those in this project we hope to increase Africa’s voice in the global research ecosystem and foster not only openness and collaboration but also diversity.”

As a key part of the partnership, Figshare and AfLIA are building an open access repository portal to host and disseminate AfLIA’s conference proceedings – including papers, presentations, posters, and videos – from 2023 onwards.

The AfLIA Conference Repository will provide authors, researchers and presenters at AfLIA conferences with improved archiving, and increased access to all resources and outputs. The repository will also include other features, such as altmetrics and citation data. Authors will get credit for all their outputs.

Figshare and AfLIA will work together to raise awareness of Open Science and Open Data principles and practices contextualized to Africa, including effective data management in data repositories, intellectual property rights, the FAIR data principles, data sovereignty, and will contribute to developing stakeholders’ professional skills.