Open Science and its Relevance in the African Context

Director of Future Africa at the University of Pretoria, Dr Heide Hackmann, recently highlighted the significance of open science in the African context and its potential to drive transformative innovation and collaboration. In an interview on Business Talk, Dr Hackmann underscored the importance of open science and its relevance in Africa.

During the interview, Dr Hackmann outlined three fundamental pillars of open science: opening the record of science, opening data, and embracing openness to society. She explained that throughout history, openness has played a crucial role in advancing scientific progress by enabling error detection and self-correction.

In today's digital age, with advancements in big data, machine learning, and social media, the concept of openness has evolved, presenting new opportunities to enhance the rigour, reliability, and societal impact of scientific endeavours.

Dr Hackmann drew attention to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by Africa, emphasising the urgent need for the continent to embrace open science.

She expressed concern that Africa might lag behind and excessively rely on external expertise and infrastructure. By taking charge and enhancing capabilities in data science and open science, Africa can overcome its distinct obstacles and actively participate in equitable global collaborations.

Highlighting the importance of collaboration, Dr Hackmann emphasised how academia, government bodies, and strategic partners can join forces to tackle complex challenges such as climate change and its impact on food systems.

Open science serves as a unifying framework, bridging diverse perspectives and disciplines, and fostering the development of context-specific solutions. Through fostering collaboration and embracing open science, stakeholders can collectively address pressing issues and drive meaningful progress.

The University of Pretoria, through initiatives like Future Africa, a pan-African collaborative research platform, is at the forefront of promoting African leadership in science. During Africa Week, hosted in May 2023, key stakeholders from various fields convened to discuss openness in society and the need to redefine scientific partnerships for greater equity.

The event also witnessed the launch of groundbreaking initiatives,including a global sustainability science PhD platform, and the global knowledge equity network platform, among others.

For further insights from the interview,watch the full discussion on YouTube: