Stage 3
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English
Discussion
Everyone
The Importance of Local Languages and Informal Sciences for Africa

Short thesis

This session will address the importance of local languages and knowledge sharing in science and ultimately for sustainable economic development in Africa.

Description

How can Open Science contribute to an open society with initiatives and organisations like Wikimedia, preprint repositories, collaborative platforms promoting economic development and overcome poverty on the African continent?

Numerous services and platforms have emerged in the last two years alone that provide more visibility and higher engagement for African scientists globally, such as pan-African preprint repositories like DICAMES and AfricArxiv, Open Access journals specifically targeting African research such as AAS Open Research and Scientific African, Open Access initiatives and platforms, to name a few.

This panel is going to address these developments as well as the importance of knowledge produced and shared in African languages. There is a multitude of local languages that are spoken and with these, several types of knowledge are conveyed, both academically as well as traditionally as indigenous knowledge. The latter is often described as "non-scientific" in the normative framework of science, but can greatly contribute to knowledge sharing from the African continent. The preprint repository AfricArxiv allows scientists to submit research output in English, French and any indigenous African language before publishing in a peer reviewed journal. Complementary, the Open African Repository (OAR)  is an open source web platform that aims to gather in one place all the different sources of content - scientific or not - produced by Africans. As a free and open access platform OAR aims to assist students, researchers and anybody who wants to have access to different content related to and from Africa. As these initiatives still are relatively marginal movements on the continent we also need to understand what mechanisms and forces resist the development toward Open Research hence this panel will also discuss the experience from local academics’ point of view.