[IRTalk] Reliable ICT Infrastructure a condition for research data sharing – African NRENs to play an important role

Jean Ganglo ganglocj at gmail.com
Thu May 17 00:41:10 SAST 2018

Dear Ina,

I thank you very much for the report and your intensive activities

My best regards,

Yours sincerely


2018-05-16 19:20 UTC+02:00, Ina Smith <Ina at assaf.org.za>:
> Whether it will be called a guideline, a roadmap or a framework – all
> participants during the AOSP ICT Infrastructure
> meeting<https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NSv2KLWysln0aVSbw49G2YZsFK0R2jOM/view?usp=sharing>
> held on 14 May 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa were in agreement that a
> document guiding African countries in preparing ICT infrastructures in
> support of research data sharing, will be of benefit to all. The one day
> meeting brought together key stakeholders. African regional NRENs (National
> Research Education Networks) attendees included Dr Pascal Hoba (Chief
> Executive Officer, UbuntuNet Alliance), Dr Ousmane Moussa Tessa (Chief
> Executive Officer, NigerREN  & member of the WACREN Board, on behalf of Dr
> Boubakar Barry (Executive Director, WACREN), Dr Yousef Torman (Managing
> Director, ASREN) and Dr Leon Staphorst (Executive Director, SANRen).
> The objective of this meeting was to help NRENs better understand the needs
> experienced by collaborative data intensive research projects, and for NRENs
> to consider future service delivery in support of research data. The three
> projects represented included H3ABioNet<https://h3abionet.org/> (Prof Nicky
> Mulder, Head: Computational Biology, UCT & Lead: H3ABioNet),
> GBIF<https://www.gbif.org/> (Dr Mélianie Raymond, Senior Programme Officer
> for Node Development, GBIF Secretariat) and Dr Jasper Horrell (representing
> the Square Kilometre Array Organisation<https://www.skatelescope.org/>,
> SA).
> The GBIF<https://www.gbif.org/> Integrated Publishing
> Toolkit<https://www.gbif.org/ipt> (IPT) is a free open source software tool
> used to publish and share biodiversity datasets through the GBIF network.
> The IPT can also be configured with either a DataCite or EZID account in
> order to assign DOIs to datasets transforming it into a data repository. Dr
> Raymond during her
> presentation<https://www.slideshare.net/AfricanOpenSciencePl/introduction-to-gbif-for-the-african-open-science-platformmelianie-raymond>
> indicated that more portals, laptops/workstations and IPT installations for
> selected nodes are required to enhance the sharing and visibility of
> biodiversity data. Capacity building needs include training of researchers,
> students, lecturers and more in digitization, data cleaning, data
> publishing, and data analysis, towards more relevant and sustainable data
> use in support of decision making concerning biodiversity conservation.
> H3ABioNet<https://h3abionet.org/> provides support for the H3Africa Human,
> Heredity & Health in Africa Consortium, which focuses on the study of
> genomics and environmental determinants of common diseases, with the goal of
> improving the health of African populations. Prof Mulder shared the
> limitations<https://www.slideshare.net/AfricanOpenSciencePl/research-infrastructures-h3abionet-case-studynicola-mulder>
> that apply when sharing human data, and the importance of protecting the
> rights and privacy of human subjects when participating in research studies.
> The project follows a well-established workflow using open source software
> tools, at the same time having policies built into the various stages of
> working with the data. As with biodiversity, skills need to be constantly
> developed, and infrastructure needs to be maintained and upgraded. A
> challenge faced by funded projects is that collected data needs to be
> curated when projects come to an end, and it is for governments to discuss
> as to whether data is regarded as a national asset, and who will fund the
> long-term curation of the data.
> According to Dr Jasper
> Horrell<https://www.slideshare.net/AfricanOpenSciencePl/data-infrastructure-development-for-skajasper-horrell>
> from the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDiA), key
> science on the SKA will be achieved by large-scale survey programs executed
> by globally distributed teams of researchers and through creating massive
> data. A cloud computing system that utilizes the OpenStack Infrastructure as
> a Service framework has been established by IDiA.
> OpenStack<https://www.openstack.org/software/> is a cloud operating system
> that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources
> throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives
> administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources
> through a web interface. This ideal for the large amounts of data that is
> expected to be collected through the telescopes.
> Regional NRENs represented indicated that they are in full support of
> working with AOSP on developing and populating a framework as part of
> service delivery to their research communities, and to also invite national
> NRENs in their respective regions to explore opportunities. Important
> elements to be included in such a document have been identified, and the
> group will continue as a working group, building on what is already in place
> through the SADC Cyberinfrastructure Framework, of which an overview was
> provided by Prof Colin
> Wright<https://www.slideshare.net/AfricanOpenSciencePl/reflections-on-sadc-cyberinfrastructure-frameworkcolin-wright>.
> This framework was approved by SADC ministers in June 2016, and the next
> step would be to revisit the existing framework and to adapt – where needed
> – for the whole of Africa, with input from key stakeholders across Africa.
> It was also clear that - through possible partnerships and lessons learned
> from KENET<https://www.kenet.or.ke/>,
> Ilifu<http://www.researchsupport.uct.ac.za/ilifu>,
> DIRISA<https://www.dirisa.ac.za/>, Sci-GaIA<http://www.sci-gaia.eu/> and
> more, the design, development and implementation of ICT infrastructures in
> support of data sharing and curation can become a reality – sooner than
> later.
> The AOSP ICT Infrastructure Framework will be tested during various stages
> and across different domains, before it will be finalized to be shared with
> African countries interested in advancing the sharing and responsible
> management of data.
> Also view the following presentations:
> The African Open Science
> Platform<https://www.slideshare.net/AfricanOpenSciencePl/the-african-open-science-platformsusan-veldsman-97057160>/Susan
> Veldsman
> Framework and Roadmap towards an Open Science
> Infrastructure<https://www.dropbox.com/s/crx06lnjm5lsthv/18-05-14-HODSON-AOSP%20FRAMEWORK%20AND%20ROADMAP%20FOR%20OPEN%20SCIENCE%20INFRASTRUCTURE-REDACTED.pptx?dl=0>/Simon
> Hodson
> Ina Smith
> Project Manager: African Open Science
> Platform<http://africanopenscience.org.za/>
> Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
> DOAJ Ambassador, Southern Africa
> Region<https://blog.doaj.org/2016/09/07/the-doaj-ambassadors-biographies/>
> LIASA Librarian of the Year 2016<https://loy2016blog.wordpress.com/>
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Professor of Forestry and Plant sociology.
Director of the Laboratory of Forest Sciences.
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin)
Node Manager of GBIF in Benin.
BP 1493 Calavi, Benin
E-mail: ganglocj at gmail.com
Tel: 00229 66 36 37 70 / 00229 94 57 89 15
Skype: ganglocossi

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