Poster Open Access

LIBSENSE: Pan-African Library/NREN Collaborations around Open Science at the Institutional, National and Regional Levels

Abbott, Pamela; Oaiya, Omo; Kuchma, Iryna

LIBSENSE is a Pan-African initiative instituted in 2017 to foster Library/NREN collaboration to provide digital services for African libraries, specifically, those in research and higher education and particularly around Open Science. After a successful pan-African survey and workshop series in AfricaConnect2, founding members WACREN, Ubuntunet Alliance and ASREN, in collaboration with three other core partners (COAR, EIFL and University of Sheffield Information School) are undertaking new activities in 2020-2021. In order to strengthen and stimulate action under its 3 pillars of infrastructure support, capacity-building and policy development, LIBSENSE in AfricaConnect3 has instituted a number of working groups, namely: Infrastructure - open access journals, repositories for publications and data, and open discovery services; Policies - open science policies, governance and leadership; Capacity Building - communities of practice and training; and region-specific and language-specific initiatives - Arabic (North Africa) and French (West and Central Africa).
LIBSENSE envisages these activities to form part of a sustainable framework for engaging with open science at institutional, national, regional and eventually continental levels. Rather than top-down imposition of policies and principles, this initiative focuses on contingent, bottom-up and grassroots programmes of action initiated by its community. Examples are 12 workshops under capacity-building endeavours, with two focusing on skills development and the others on open access publishing, research data repositories and repository interoperability, persistent Identifiers, engagement with faculty and support and training.
As part of policy development, LIBSENSE has also engaged with the UNESCO Open Science Partnership and adopted Open Science Africa: Principles and Actions for Global Participation. Furthermore, LIBSENSE are also developing National Open Science Roadmaps including policies, infrastructure, and capacities in pilot African countries and at the institutional level, targeted workshops for the executive leadership of HE institutions and policy-makers across Africa. On the infrastructure side, plans are also underway to develop shared platforms at the national level.

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