Future African Open Science Platform

Prof Khotso Mokhele
Dr Ismail Serageldin
Ms Eiman Karar
Mrs Susan Veldsman

Dr Ismail Serageldin

Dr Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) , the new Library of Alexandria, inaugurated in 2002, is currently, Emeritus Librarian, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Library of Alexandria. He is advisor to the Egyptian Prime Minister in matters concerning culture, science, and museums. He serves as Chair and Member of a number of advisory committees for academic, research, scientific and international institutions, including as co-Chair of the NizamiGanjavi International Center (NGIC), and serves on the Advisory Committee of the World Social Science Report for 2013 and 2016, as well as the UNESCO-supported World Water Scenarios (2013) and the executive council of the Encyclopedia of Life (2010) and Chairs the Executive Council of the World Digital Library (2010).  He has held many international positions including as Vice President of the World Bank (1993–2000). He also co-chaired the African Union’s high level panel for Biotechnology (2006) and again for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in 2012-2013, and was a member of the ICANN Panel for the review of the internet future (2013).

Mrs Susan Veldsman

Susan Veldsman was appointed to the position of Director: Scholarly Publication Unit at the Academy of Sciences in South Africa, in January 2009. She is responsible for raising the visibility, discoverability and accessibility of South African scholarly journals through Open Access and online journal content management; improve the quality of SA scholarly journal, books & conference proceedings through expert peer review panels in the field; find ways and solutions to further support the development of policy frameworks in order to facilitate optimal use and

access to publicly funded research. She received the Electronic Publishing Trust (EPT) award for her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Open Access in Developing Countries.  Early in her career she started off as an Information Librarian, at various Higher Education Libraries in South Africa where she eventually was promoted to Assistant Director: Client Services, Library

Services at the University of Johannesburg. During 2002 she moved to a national project, South African National Library and Information Consortium (SANLiC) where she was responsible for negotiating access to commercial databases and was actively involved in promoting Open Access and setting up Institutional Repositories. She continued this work, in 2006, in an international consortium, eIFL.net.

Ms Eiman Karar

EimanKarar is currently working as Senior Advisor at the United Nations Environmental Programme. Between 2005-2016, Eiman was the Executive Manager for Management of Water Resources Department at the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa. From 2001-2005 she was the Director in the Department of Water Affairs of South Africa responsible for developing policies pertaining to all decentralised Water Management Institutions and their related governance arrangements. She is a registered professional natural scientist with the South African Association of Natural Scientists and is a member of the Water Institute of South Africa.

Eiman has 20 years of experience in water resources management mostly in southern Africa but also very familiar with North Africa water management. Her expertise is in research and policy interface, decentralisation of management decisions from a governance perspective; legal, organisational, financial and technical aspects.

Prof Khotso Mokhele

Dr Khotso Mokhele is the Chair of the Advisory Council of the African Open Science Platform, ND Chancellor of the University of the Free State. He was awarded a BSc Agriculture from Fort Hare University, and continued his studies at the University of California Davis on the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Scholarship Programme, completing his MSc (Food Science) and PhD (Microbiology). He was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) and the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA).

Dr Mokhele is the recipient of honorary doctorates from eight South African universities, including the University of the Free State and Rutgers University in the United States.

As President and CEO of the Foundation for Research Development (FRD) (1996-1999) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) from 1999 to 2006, Dr Mokhele played a central role in providing visionary and strategic direction to the South African science system. He was the Founder President of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), Chairperson of the Economic Advisory Council to the Premier of the Free State (2001-2004), and a member of the Advisory Council on Innovation to the Minister of Science and Technology (2003-2007). His role in securing government and international support for the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) Project is evidence of his dedication to science in South Africa. The success of this project laid the basis for South Africa being selected to host more than 70% of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an international mega telescope for radio astronomy. In recognition of his contribution to the development of science, he was the recipient of the Technology Top 100 Lifetime Achievers Award in 2009 and the National Science and Technology Forum Award in 2005.

His role in science is recognised internationally. He was elected Vice-President: Scientific Planning and Review of the International Science Council (ISC) and Chairperson of its Committee for Scientific Planning and Review (2005-2008), as well as a member of the Committee on Developing and Transition Economy Countries of the International Social Science Council (2008-2010). He also represented South Africa on the executive board of UNESCO and was awarded the Member Legion of Honour of the Republic of France for his work in strengthening scientific ties between South Africa and France.

Dr Mokhele’s current corporate positions include: Non-Executive Chairman: Board of Directors, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (Implats) and Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd; Non-Executive Director: African Oxygen Ltd (Afrox), Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings Ltd (Zimplats), Hans Merensky Holdings Ltd, and Tiger Brands Ltd. He is the President of the Hans Merensky Foundation (South Africa) and a Trustee of SciDev.Net (a web-based scientific magazine based in London, UK) and Start International Inc (USA). He was Chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland (2007–2011) and had served on the South Africa at Large Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for more than 10 years.

The vision is for African scientists to be at the cutting edge of contemporary, data-intensive science as a fundamental resource for a modern society; to be innovative global exponents and advocates of Open Science; and as leaders in addressing African and Global Challenges. The African Open Science Platform is being designed to convene and coordinate the interests, ideas, people, institutions and resources needed to advocate and to advance open science in and for Africa through:

  1. a) a federated system that provides scientists and other societal actors with the means to find, deposit, manage, share and reuse data, software and metadata in pursuing their interests. This will comprise three strands:

Strand 0: Register & portal for African & related international data collections & services;

Strand 1: Cloud Computing;

Strand 2: Practices and tools of Open Research Data Management.

  1. b) a network of dispersed participants working though activity nodes in pursuit of shared and overlapping open science goals delivered through:

Strand 3: The African Data Science Institute;

Strand 4: Priority interdisciplinary Programmes (e.g. infectious diseases; biodiversity; agriculture; resilient cities; disaster risk reduction);

Strand 5: Network for Education and Skills;

Strand 6: Network for Open Science Access and Dialogue.

The session will bring together 3 different speakers as part of a panel discussion. Interactive activities include exercises on building blocks for the above, and mapping it to existing initiatives. Online activities will be prepared in the form of online games, groups working towards creating concept plans for the above using open source online software.