A vision for the African Open Science Platform

The anticipated vision and strategy of the African Open Science Platform (AOSP) was announced during South Africa’s fourth Science Forum (SFSA 2018), which took place between the 12th and 14th of December.

The African Open Science Platform is a pan-African endeavour which aims to position African scientists at the cutting edge of data-intensive science, by stimulating interactivity and creating opportunity through the development of efficiencies of scale, the creation of critical mass through shared capacities, and amplifying impact through a commonality of purpose and voice.

The Platform was presented at SFSA by Dr Khotso Mokhele, co-chairperson of the advisory council of the AOSP and former President of the National Research Foundation (NRF), and was acknowledged by the Minister of Science and Technology (DST), Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.

The AOSP was first conceptualised during the 2015 Science Forum, where the first Science International meeting took place (organized by the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) and International Social Science Council (ISSC). ICSU and ISSC merged in 2018 to form the International Science Council). The 2015 Science International meeting led to the publication of an international accord on open data in a big data world. This ignited a conversation that resulted in the announcement of the AOSP during the 2016 Science Forum.

Over the next two years, the founding members of the AOSP will operationalise the platform, which will be initiated during a meeting of the founding members and international funders in May 2019, hosted by Dr Ismail Serageldin, who also serves as the AOSP co-chair.

It is anticipated that the fully-fledged platform will be launched in 2020. The DST, NRF, the International Science Council, CODATA, and the SA Academy of Science actively participate in the initiative.

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