By Martin Ekpeke
Stakeholders in Nigeria’s higher institutions of learning have been urged to subscribe to Open Science, where they can easily collaborate and contribute to a repository of knowledge so that research data and processes are freely available under terms that can enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction.
This call was made yesterday at the on-going Eko-Konnect Users Conference at the University of Lagos.
Specifically, Librarians, Researchers and other Academians were told that Open Science has become a movement to promote the free sharing of knowledge, rather than restricted publications that are paid for.
Delivering the lecture titled ‘Open Science For Sustainability’, Prof. Charles Uwadia, Chair, Eko-Konnect Research and Education Initiative, argues that the Open Science movement is the best way for scientists and researchers in Nigeria to be aware of and contribute to scientific development to deliver and innovate to bring much needed solutions.
While acknowledging that most scientific research output resides behind pay walls, making it difficult for African researchers to access, Uwadia stated that Open Science encourages citizen science, so that non-specialist scientist in the public can also engage in scientific development and innovation.
“Despite heavy investment globally in science research, 90 percent of science research results reside behind paywalls. Many universities in Africa are unable to access this information as they cannot afford the subscription prices required to access these scientific research journals. Such knowledge needs to be unlocked and made available to all scientists as well as practitioners and governments,” he noted.
Uwadia emphasized that Open Science is the way to go, stressing that institutional repositories in different institutions if properly populated, managed, available and governed by the right policies, they will become more important in the open science and open access space.
“The process of publishing research on proprietary platforms slows the availability of research. But Open Science makes content free and focus on the impact of research output where it is published. It also saves money as the tools and platforms used in research are largely open source software,” he explained.
The theme of this year’s 2-day conference is “The Role of Library in Open Science and Open Access.”
Speaking on the essence and importance of the conference, the General Manager of Eko-Konnect, Mr. Owen Iyoha said, it makes a lot of sense for Eko-Konnect, a cluster of the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) to expose Librarians and wider stakeholders, including researchers and academics from higher education institutions across Nigeria to the promotion of Open Science.
He believes the Users Conference will make the case for open access repositories and how higher institutions of education can gain higher visibility in the global research and education space.
“Our role at Eko-Konnect is to build and sustain research and education network, support collaborations between education and research organisations. And as part of this, we are here to inform librarians and researchers of the emerging paradigms for information management and content discovery and the opportunities this brings for the institutions,” Owen told Journalists on the sideline of the event.