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The African Reproducibility Network (AREN) – Building gateways to open science in Africa

This session is part of the AfricArXiv Webinar Series on Open Science for the Discoverability of African Research.

Published onMar 25, 2024
The African Reproducibility Network (AREN) – Building gateways to open science in Africa
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The African Reproducibility Network (AREN) – Building gateways to Open Science in Africa

Speaker profile

Emmanuel Boakye

ORCID: 0000-0003-2043-5952

Emmanuel Boakye holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

He is an African Open Science champion who has worked with organizations such as the Center for Open Science in the USA and the Association of African Universities (AAU). He was part of the panel of experts invited by the AAU to plan the 2022 Africa Universities’ Day Celebration dubbed, “Open Science: Bringing Equity to Research and Publishing” where he also presented on the “Global and Continental Perspectives of Open Science”.

He currently leads efforts to establish the African Reproducibility Network (AREN), a community-led initiative that seeks to bridge the gaps in open science advocacy and adoption through workshops and the establishment of local communities of practice at universities and research institutes across Africa.

Questions that were asked during the session and their corresponding answers

1. What key initiatives or projects is AREN planning to execute in order to promote open science in Africa?

Answer:

AREN has created a training program for Local Network Leads (LNLs) as part of our strategic efforts to bridge the gaps in open science advocacy and adoption in Africa. Using our three-level training model, the program aims at developing researchers who are well equipped to establish local communities of practice at their universities/research institutes. We believe the existence of LNLs can speed up the adoption of open science policies by universities and research institutes as LNLs will not only lead workshops within their communities but also provide support and actively engage in discussions with their institution in developing strategic action plans for implementing open science policies.  

 2. In the context of promoting open science in Africa, what challenges do you think AREN might face?

Answer:

We believe the general lack of open science experts in certain HEIs and research institutes across Africa could impede our ability to establish local networks and grow organically within such communities. Institutional buy in could also be a challenge as institutions that have shown no prior engagement or commitment to open science and related issues may not be immediately keen to provide the necessary support for local networks to thrive or encourage participation in AREN’s activities.

 

3. How does AREN plan to address or overcome these challenges?

Answer:

Our LNL training program solves the need for experts who will lead advocacy efforts in HEIs and research institutes across Africa while strategic partnerships with major stakeholders such as the Association of African Universities (AAU), African Academy of Sciences (AAS), various Research and Education Networks (RENs), etc. will encourage members of these groups to join our community or support our activities. Involving these groups in AREN’s plans and strategies will also ensure our solutions are not crafted in isolation and tailored to the needs of the broader research community, providing confidence and trust in what we offer and encouraging institutional buy in and support for our activities.

 

4. Considering the diversity of research disciplines and institutions across Africa, what plan does AREN have to ensure inclusivity and participation in promoting reproducibility and open science practices?

Answer:

AREN’s community is open to researchers from all disciplines and institutions across Africa to create a diverse community and over 90% of our current community members are interested in starting niche-specific open science communities which will help bridge the gaps between open science and specific research disciplines. The selection criteria for our training program ensures we have a rich diversity of disciplines and broad representation of institutions across Africa to provide an opportunity for different perspectives and views to be brough to light during discussions and ensure subsequent solutions are tailored to meet the needs of specific research disciplines or institutions.

 

Related resources

About the webinar series

This webinar was co-organized by UbuntuNet Alliance and Access 2 Perspectives as part of the ORCID Global Participation Program.

ORCID is the persistent identifier for researchers to share their accomplishments (research articles, data, etc with funding agencies, publishers, data repositories, and other research workflows.

AfricArXiv is a community-led digital archive for African research communication. By enhancing the visibility of African research, we enable discoverability and collaboration opportunities for African scientists on the continent as well as globally.

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