Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Open Knowledge Ethiopia community conducted its first meetup

Open Knowledge Ethiopia community was founded by volunteer individuals from different Universities and Research Institutes  to advocate for Open Knowledge in Ethiopia. We have Librarians, Lecturers,  ICT experts and data professionals in the community. The community conducted its first meetup on 10, May 2015 and the agenda was to get to know each other and to decide focus areas for the community. After deliberating on different areas of Open Knowledge, the members have decided to focus on Open Science and Open Data areas as some of the community members have experience working with these domains. The community has also planned activities that the community will engage for the next six months. 

We have identified list of activities to engage for the Open Science. Since most of the communities are lecturers in the Universities, the members agreed to make a presentation on Open Science to their students and colleague scientist so as to create awareness on open Science including opening  research publications , research data, figures, models, algorithms, software, tools, notebooks, laboratory designs and so on. Member from the library have agreed to include open science awareness as parts of their information literacy program. The Librarians have also promised to strengthen their open access programme in the areas of Open Access journals and repositories. Moreover, Colleagues from the Addis Ababa University Libraries has informed the community that they will organize an international workshop on Open Research Data in collaboration with Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) on which international speakers will make a presentation on their practical implementation of open research data. It is expected that following the workshop, Addis Ababa University and other Universities as well as research institutes will start implementing Open research data. 

With regard to Open Data, the community appreciate that all the Co-founders of an organization called code4Ethiopia which advocates for Open Data are members of the group. So, the community decided to work in collaboration with Code4Ethiopia in relation with open data initiative. Colleagues from code4Ethiopia have briefed the members that they have already planned to visualize Ethiopian election data which will be conducted in May 25 so as to promote the values of data to the citizens as well as to the Government and non Governmental organizations. The organization have also planned to build a portal for Open contracting for increased disclosure and participation in public contracting including tendering, performance and completion so as to minimize the millions of dollars that the Ethiopian Government and other organizations incur in advertizing tenders and processing . All members have also been invited to contribute to Open Data activities of the organization. 

The community has also discussed on potential stakeholders to work with and the group has decided to partner with Consortium of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries, Addis Ababa University (AAU) Libraries, Code4Ethiopia, School of Information Science of AAU and International organizations like African Union, UN organs which are based in Addis Ababa.

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