Côte d’Ivoire is now on the path to developing a consensual roadmap and action plan to actualise the UNESCO Recommendations for Open Science.

The journey began when the Virtual University of Côte d’Ivoire (UVCI), under the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MERS), hosted the National Open Science Symposium as part of the LIBSENSE national open science roadmaps being undertaken across Africa.

 The well-attended Symposium was held as a pre-event for the WACREN 2022 Conference in the Ivorian capital.

 The event themed – “Open Science, an Opportunity to Boost Research, Innovation and Development of Côte d’Ivoire”, brought together key stakeholders of the research, education and science institutions in the country to deliberate on the development and implementation of an open science program that will sync with the Ivorian government’s agenda for the nation’s education and research space.

Speaking to the media after the event, Director-General of the UVCI, Prof. Koné Tiémoman, said the “symposium was a good platform for us to put in place our roadmap, the whole timetable and the actions that we must take so that open science supports the various development actions that our country has been undertaking for a while.”

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MERSRCI), the Chief of Staff of the Ministry, Prof. Kobéa Toka Arsène, expressed hope that the research and education institutions in the country will work with the national government to position the country in top-ranked countries in the Open Science assessment scheduled for the 43rd General Conference of UNESCO in 2025. 

In her address, the Permanent Delegate of Côte d’Ivoire to UNESCO, Prof. Ramata Bakayoko-Ly, while referencing UNESCO’s definition of open science, said that the need for knowledge discovery and access to timely information  has heightened in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Covid-19 has demonstrated how open science can accelerate the search for solutions. Indeed, this pandemic has stimulated knowledge production systems and the sharing of the coronavirus genome through open access portals to improve common understanding of this health threat,” Prof. Bakayoko-Ly said.  

Côte d’Ivoire has created institutions that work together to achieve its open science agenda. They include Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DGRI), the National Fund for Science, Technology and Innovation (FONSTI), the Ivorian Telecommunications Network for Education and Research (RITEL) and the National Computing Center (CNC).

The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science was adopted unanimously by the 193 Member States – including Côte d’Ivoire, at the 41st General Conference of UNESCO, on November 23, 2021. The said Recommendation sets out values, standards and guiding principles intended to regulate the question of open science at the international level.