Building Infrastructure for African Human Genomic Data Management

Authors: Ziyaad Parker, Suresh Maslamoney, Ayton Meintjes, Gerrit Botha, Sumir Panji, Scott Hazelhurst, Nicola Mulder

Human genomic data are large and complex, and require adequate infrastructure for secure storage and transfer. The NIH and The Wellcome Trust have funded multiple projects on genomic research, including the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, and data are required to be deposited into the public domain.

The European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) is a repository for sequence and genotype data where the data access is controlled by access committees. Access is determined by a formal application procedure for the purpose of secure storage and distribution, and must be in line with the informed consent of the study participants.

H3Africa researchers based in Africa and generating their own data can benefit tremendously from the data sharing capabilities of the internet by using the appropriate technologies.

The H3Africa Data Archive is an effort between the H3Africa data generating projects, H3ABioNet and the EGA to store and submit genomic data to public repositories. H3ABioNet maintains the security of the H3Africa Data Archive, ensures ethical security compliance, supports users with data submission and facilitates the data transfer.

The goal is to ensure efficient data flow between researchers, the archive and the EGA or other public repositories.

To comply with the H3Africa data sharing and release policy, nine months after the data is in secure storage, H3ABioNet converts the data into an XML format ready for submission to EGA. This article describes the infrastructure that has been developed for African human genomic data management.

URL : Building Infrastructure for African Human Genomic Data Management

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2019-047

Challenges of Adopting Open Educational Resources (OER) in Kenyan Secondary Schools: The Case of Open Resources for English Language Teaching (ORELT)

Authors : Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo, Fridah Kanana Erastus

Kenya, like many African countries, has faced enormous challenges in the production of and access to quality relevant teaching and learning materials and resources in her primary and secondary school classrooms.

This has been occasioned by a plethora of factors which include, but are not limited to a lack of finances, tradition, competence, and experience to develop such resources. Such a situation has persisted despite the existence and availability of many Open Educational Resources (OERs) that have been developed by many education stakeholders at enormous costs.

Such freely available resources could potentially improve the quality of existing resources or help to develop new courses. Yet, their uptake and reuse in secondary and primary schools in Kenya continues to be very low. This paper reports the findings of a study in which Open Resources for English Language Teaching (ORELT) developed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada, were piloted in sampled fifty (50) Kenyan secondary schools.

The study applied the Model 1 – Distance and Dependence (Zhao et al 2002) model to investigate the challenges that hinder instructors to adopt and use ORELT materials. The study reported that poor infrastructure, negative attitudes, lack of ICT competencies, and other skill gaps among teachers and lack of administrative support are some of the implementation challenges that have continued to dog the implementation, adoption and use of OERs in Kenyan schools.

The findings of the present study will go a long way in providing useful insights to the developers of OERs and Kenyan education stakeholders in devising strategies of maximum utilisation of OERs in the Kenyan school system.

URL : Challenges of Adopting Open Educational Resources (OER) in Kenyan Secondary Schools: The Case of Open Resources for English Language Teaching (ORELT)

Alternative location : http://www.jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/282

Data Driving Sustainability—the African Open Science Platform Project

Authors : Ina Smith, Susan Veldsman

Exploitation of the digital revolution offers great potential for less affluent and least economically developed countries (LEDCs) and for the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

However, LEDCs typically have poorly resourced national research systems. If they cannot participate in research based on big and open data, the gap could grow exponentially in coming years.

They will be unable to collect, store and share data, unable to participate in the global research enterprise, unable to contribute as full partners to global efforts on climate change, health care, and resource protection, and unable to fully benefit from such efforts, where global solutions will only be achieved if there is global participation.

Thus, both emerging and developed countries have a clear and direct interest in helping to fully mobilize LEDC science potential and thereby to contribute to achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The initiative described here (African Open Science Platform or AOSP) is directed towards minimising a divide between emerging and developed countries in what is arguably the most important current opportunity to enhance the power and efficiency of the scientific enterprise and its contribution to societal benefit.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01816711

Utilisation of open access institutional repositories in Zimbabwe’s public universities

Author : Mass Masona Tapfuma

Despite the establishment of institutional repositories (IRS) in Zimbabwe’s public universities, content for these repositories remains untangible. The purpose of this study was to explore the utilisation of IRs in the universities.

The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Usage of Technology (UTAUT) model was used to understand individuals behaviours’ towards acceptance of technologies. The pragmatist paradigm guided the study employing the mixed methods research (MMR) approach combining quantitative and qualitative approaches.

Triangulation was used to obtain a deeper understanding of the research problem. Eight public universities were surveyed including all levels of academics, research directors, library directors and IR/faculty librarians. A census, stratified and systematic sampling techniques were adopted to constitute the sample of the study.

A survey was carried out aided by questionnaires and interviews. Document analysis (policies and so forth) and bibliometric analysis were also employed including attending a Zimbabwe University Libraries Consortium (ZULC) workshop.

The findings of the study revealed a high awareness of OA/IRs by the academic community but content deposits were very low despite the existence of research and OA/IR policies (in some of the universities) which mandated deposit of research funded by the universities. A national repository was also established by the Research Council of Zimbabwe to link all repositories in the country while ZULC was lobbying for the development of a national OA policy. T

he study concluded that Zimbabwe’s university libraries faced numerous challenges in marketing and promoting of repositories, therefore, the concept of IRs remains in the infancy stage. It was recommended that: the libraries should intensify OA/IR education efforts; incentivise scholars/academics and library staff; resolve IPR issues and strengthen deposit mandates.

The study would contribute to practice in the establishment, running, management and promotion of repositories and policy makers will be informed and guided in the development and implementation of OA policies and regulatory frameworks leading to the establishment of the requisite infrastructure for OA/IR establishment in all academic institutions in the country, the national repository and the national content harvesting systems. Further research to probe the causes of low deposit rates and why scholars prefer depositing elsewhere is recommended.

URL : http://hdl.handle.net/10413/14893

Le libre accès vu d’Afrique francophone subsaharienne

Auteurs/Authors : Florence Piron, Antonin Benoît Diouf, Marie Sophie Dibounje Madiba, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, Zoé Aubierge Ouangré, Djossè Roméo Tessy, Hamissou Rhissa Achaffert, Anderson Pierre, Zakari Lire

Vu d’Afrique francophone subsaharienne, le combat pour le libre accès prend un sens autre que celui qui a cours dans les pays du Nord. Le détour proposé dans cet article vise à mettre au jour des enjeux qui restent souvent invisibles dans les débats autour du libre accès, notamment les mécanismes d’exclusion mis en place par le système-monde de la publication scientifique, dominé par le modèle marchand anglo-saxon.

Nous montrerons qu’une conception du libre accès qui se limite aux questions juridiques et techniques de l’accessibilité de la science sans réfléchir aux rapports entre centre et périphérie peut devenir une source d’aliénation épistémique et de néocolonialisme dans les pays des Suds.

En revanche, si on intègre le souci de la mise en valeur des savoirs produits dans la périphérie et la conscience de tout ce qui freine la création de ces savoirs, le libre accès peut devenir un outil de justice cognitive au service de la construction d’un universalisme inclusif propre à une science ouverte juste.

URL : https://rfsic.revues.org/3292

Fostering Data Openness by Enabling Science: A Proposal for Micro-Funding

Author: Brian Rappert

In recent years, the promotion of data sharing has come with the recognition that not all scientists around the world are equally placed to partake in such activities. Notably, those within developing countries are sometimes regarded as experiencing hardware infrastructure challenges and data management skill shortages.

Proposed remedies often focus on the provision of information and communication technology as well as enhanced data management training. Building on prior empirical social research undertaken in sub-Sahara Africa, this article provides a complementary but alternative proposal; namely, fostering data openness by enabling research.

Towards this end, the underlying rationale is outlined for a ‘bottom-up’ system of research support that addresses the day-to-day demands in low-resourced environments. This approach draws on lessons from development financial assistance programs in recent decades.

In doing so, this article provides an initial framework for science funding that call for holding together concerns for ensuring research can be undertaken in low-resourced laboratory environments with concerns about the data generated in such settings can be shared.

URL : Fostering Data Openness by Enabling Science: A Proposal for Micro-Funding

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-044

Research Data Management in Research Institutions in Zimbabwe

Authors : Josiline Chigwada, Blessing Chiparausha, Justice Kasiroori

The research was aimed at evaluating how research data are being managed in research institutions in Zimbabwe. The study also sought to assess the challenges that are faced in research data management by research institutions in Zimbabwe.

Twenty five institutions of higher learning and other organisations that deal with research were selected using purposive sampling to participate in the study.

An online questionnaire on SurveyMonkey was sent to the selected participants and telephone interviews were done to follow up on participants who failed to respond on time. Data that were collected using interviews were entered manually into SurveyMonkey for easy analysis.

It was found out that proper research data management is not being done. Researchers were managing their own research data. Most of the research data were in textual and spreadsheet format. Graphical, audio, video, database, structured text formats and software applications research data were also available.

Lack of guidelines on good practice, inadequate human resources, technological obsolescence, insecure infrastructure, use of different vocabulary between librarians and researchers, inadequate financial resources, absence of research data management policies and lack of support by institutional authorities and researchers negatively impacted on research data management.

Authors recommend the establishment of research data repositories and use of existing research data repositories that are registered with the Registry of Research Data Repositories to ensure that research data standards are adhered to when doing research.

URL : Research Data Management in Research Institutions in Zimbabwe

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-031