African Open Science Platform, Infectious Diseases, and International Data Week 2018

4 June, 2018

The African Open Science Platform [] hopes to better understand what is happening on the African continent in terms of open data/open science policy, incentives for sharing research data, skills required for the sharing of data, and the ICT Infrastructure to make data sharing possible. The project was launched in December 2016, and great progress has been made this far in terms of creating awareness and advocating for research data to be open – also on national level. Frameworks are being developed to guide African countries to further promote and implement data sharing through policies, infrastructure, incentives and capacity building. This also applies to health, although we are aware that certain restrictions apply when sharing health data (patient consent, privacy and more very important).

Infectious diseases indigenous to Africa, and the sharing of data, can benefit the continent and also others working in this field globally. Those working in this field would be able to tell that when there is an outbreak, time is of the essence, and there is no time to determine whether the data can be trusted, how it was collected, who the copyright owner is, to find missing data, and more. Data needs to be accessible, and managed in a responsible way.

Some articles with reference to the need for research data to be accessible:

Data sharing: Make outbreak research open access

DNA sequencing and big data open a new frontier in the hunt for new viruses

Leveraging Open Data to fight Ebola

Big data, Ebola Data, + Responsible data

Ebola Open Data Jam

We would like to invite those working in health data to consider submitting an abstract to present during the upcoming International Data Week, Gaborone, Botswana, 5-8 November 2018. Sessions and submission info available at

Please get in touch, and become part of this community to promote more openness towards research data. Looking forward to hear from you!

Kind regards


Ina Smith

Project Manager: African Open Science Platform

Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)

DOAJ Ambassador, Southern Africa Region

LIASA Librarian of the Year 2016

Switchboard: +27 12 349 6600

Tel: +27 12 349 6641

Fax: +27 (0) 86 576 9512


1st Floor Block A, The Woods, 41 De Havilland Crescent, Persequor Park

Meiring Naudé Road, Lynnwood 0020, Pretoria, South Africa.

PO Box 72135, Lynnwood Ridge 0040, Pretoria, South Africa.


HIFA profile: Ina Smith is Project Manager, Academy of Science of South Africa. Professional interests: Open science, open data, open access, scholarly publishing. Email address: ina AT