Open science has the potential to revolutionise scientific research and scholarship in Africa by fostering collaboration and innovation and addressing social and economic challenges. However, the successful implementation of open science requires robust digital infrastructure – this is where many parts of Africa are trailing. The absence of appropriate software and adequate technological infrastructure presents a significant barrier that can hinder the progress of open science in Africa.

Meanwhile, a growing community of innovative technology and open access enthusiasts has emerged. When brought together in a coordinated setting, they can offer the necessary infrastructure support to complement the ongoing initiatives for policy development and capacity building throughout Africa.

LIBSENSE-Connect – a new programme under the LIBSENSE initiative seeks to build a robust, frontline technology community to support open science in Africa by developing cutting-edge, open infrastructure and software solutions. The new program aims to empower African software and infrastructure developers with the knowledge and skills to embrace open science principles and practices.

The need for data management systems, data analysis tools, and collaboration and communication tools in the open science environment in Africa make the LIBSENSE-Connect program a stitch in time.

A pilot workshop in Lagos, Nigeria, will be held in November 2023. Featuring a combination of expert-led sessions, hands-on exercises and networking opportunities, the event will convene open access practitioners with software and infrastructure developers to share their insights and experiences to foster a project-driven community of open science enthusiasts.

Participants will be able to learn from leading experts in the open science field and collaborate with peers from across Africa. As a proven method to foster community-building, the programme will engage participants in a “shared endeavour” – building a shared, online community resource.

By the end of the program, participants will have gained a broad awareness of critical technical aspects in the domain of open science. They will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop infrastructure to promote open science practices within their institutions and contribute to the global advancement of knowledge through transparent and accessible research dissemination.

To learn more about the LIBSENSE-Connect program and to apply, please visit the website.