UB conducts National Open Data Open Science Workshop

This coming week, the Open Data Open Science (ODOS) Committee which comprises of National Data Stakeholders will be convening and inviting all Botswana stakeholders  in Government, Academia, Research institutes, NGOs and others, to participate at the National Stakeholder Consultative Workshop to be held at the University of Botswana Conference Centre from the 30th to 31st October 2017.

Nearly 10 years ago in 2007, 30 Open Government advocates from around the world through an OpenGovData initiative, convened to develop a set of Open Government Data Principles - this acknowledging that the internet represents a connectivity medium with potential of bringing Government closer to its citizenry - to facilitate citizen participation, improve service and information delivery and make efficient use of public resources

“The consensus was that Government data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way that complies with the principles that data be complete, primary, timely, accessible, machine processable, non-discriminatory, non-proprietary and license-free,’ said the organisers.

In 2015 The Government of Botswana commissioned the World Bank Group, in conjunction with Botswana Innovation Hub to conduct a National Open Data Readiness Assessment. The objective of the task was to consider conditions required for establishing an Open Data Initiative for Botswana. “The findings were that Botswana needs to develop systems and regulatory frameworks to enable the country to exploit available data in order to facilitate innovation.

It is now evident that globally, Open Data is a crucial factor for developing a knowledge society and contributes to its competitiveness. There is therefore a National imperative to continue to pursue establishment of structures necessary to facilitate National Open Data infrastructures and relevant regulatory frameworks.”

According to Prof. Julius Atlhopheng who is the Chairperson of the Open Data Open Science (ODOS the main aim of the workshop is to initiate a National dialogue around issues of Open Data and Open Science. The idea around Open Data is that some data should be freely available to everyone and stakeholders to use, reuse, and publish and that Open data should be the default position for all publicly funded research for example.

The workshop also aims to create an awareness and discussion on open data, highlight the current data situation in Botswana, discuss needs and perceptions on open data, discuss resolutions and map a way forward among others.

The open data conference organisers said this consultative workshop seeks to achieve this by engaging all Botswana stakeholders in Government, academia, research institutes, NGOs and others on the following themes and more;

Data Legislation Governance and Policy – What are the possible legislation, policy frameworks and governance structures required organizing and configuring our organizations, institutions and departments to provide an enabling environment for data sharing?

Coordinated Research Data Cyberinfrastructure – What type of infrastructure – including National Research and Education high speed networks, Data Centers, High Performance Computing platforms, Human Capital – (to make effective use of these), should be in place?

Data Management and Repositories – What are the best practices around data management and repositories of data can we adopt to facilitate Open Data?

Data Awareness and Capacity Building – How can we best create awareness and impart skills at all levels of Institutions – Decision makers to researchers – Policy makers to data stakeholders etc.? To make effective use of Open data.

Data Innovations and Data for Development – How can we accrue benefit from Open data and move towards information and knowledge based economy centered on exploitation of data through Data Innovations? How can we do better planning and drive the development agenda – including rural development and address societal challenges such as employment creation, improved service delivery through use of Open Data?

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