From 11 to 13 September I had the pleasure to attend the Open Science for Development workshop, held at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. This invitation-only event was organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) and the OpenUCT initiative, as part of their “Towards a Southern-led Research Agenda on Open and Collaborative Science for Development” project. This project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC/CRDI), an international development agency funded by the Canadian government, and is meant to inform a future IDRC project call on the topic of open science for development.
My fellow participants were a diverse bunch of researchers (not necessarily academic), as well as people working for governmental agencies, publishers, NGOs or donor organisations, all of whom had some affinity with “open science”. While still a fairly loosely defined concept, open science can be seen as both an umbrella term for existing movements such as open access publishing, open data, open notebook science, and indeed citizen science; as well as an emergent effort to extend “open” approaches to all stages of scientific research (e.g. funding, agenda setting, experiment set-up, data gathering, analysis, dissemination, etc.).
The purpose of the workshop in Cape Town was to explore, albeit at a fairly abstract level, if and how open approaches to science could benefit the development agenda in the “Global South”. As part of the workshop I gave a talk entitled Towards ‘Extreme’ Citizen Science (slides will soon be made available).
Here is a short round-up of the outcomes of the workshop: http://science.okfn.org/2013/09/23/open-science-development-goals-round-up-the-way-forward
Further information about the workshop and future events and outcomes of the project will be posted here: http://openscidev.com