9. Intellectual Property Rights Policy
“In many African countries, intellectual property
protection is undeveloped, ineffective,
expensive and unenforced and in some African
countries there exists uncertainty on protection
of IP and the threat of innovation being stolen
away from inventors.”
10. Trusted Research & Data
• Trust and credibility are at the centre of the
process of science
• Trusted research & researchers who have your
best interest at heart
• Build new research on existing research/data
• To be trusted, it needs to be managed
11. Open Science Defined
“Open Science is the practice of science in such a
way that others can collaborate and contribute,
where research data, lab notes and other
research processes are freely available, under
terms that enable reuse, redistribution and
reproduction of the research and its
underlying data and methods.” - FOSTER Project,
funded by the European Commission
13. Original Research Data Lifecycle image from University of California, Santa Cruz
14. Benefits of open data
• Provide evidence for research conducted
• Collaboration advances science, discovery
• Predict trends & informed decisions
• Drive development, service delivery
• More entrepreneurs – using data in innovative
ways, create jobs
• Have potentially far more outcomes when open,
• Identify gaps in research – attrack funders
• Democratising research & data towards achieving
2030 Sustainable Development Goals
16. SDG UN Examples African Examples/Initiatives/Projects
No Poverty Spending patterns on mobile
phone services can provide
proxy indicators of income
DataFirst e.g. data quality of
household surveys, and the analysis
of inequality and labour markets in
South Africa (Prof Martin Wittenberg).
Zero Hunger Crowdsourcing or tracking of
food prices listed online can
help monitor food security in
Agricultural Science Technology
Indicators (ASTI) Kenya Data - Open-
access data and analysis on
agricultural research investment and
capacity in low- and middle-income
Mapping the movement of
mobile phone users can help
predict the spread of infectious
H3ABioNet - Develop a core
(hardware and human resources) to
aid research in genomic medicine,
high throughput biology, systems
biology, genetics, and medicine, for
the study of human heredity and
MURIA - access to data to address
challenges to current drug utilisation
research in Africa.
17. SDG UN Examples African Examples/Initiatives/Projects
Citizen reporting can reveal
reasons for student drop-out
Kenya Open Data Portal provides
data on location of key infrastructure
including health facilities, schools,
water and electricity. Data maps used
to increase access to education
Analysis of financial
transactions can reveal the
spending patterns and different
impacts of economic shocks on
men and women.
African Development Bank Equality
Index to help inform policymaking to
further mainstream gender, which will
lead to more inclusive growth. Most
comprehensive assessment of the
state of gender equality on the
continent, examining the role of
women as producers, economic
agents, in human development, and
as leaders in public life.
Sensors connected to water
pumps can track access to
South Africa Data Portal provides
public information on water.
Aquastat - % fresh water a country
could sustainably provide vs actually
18. SDG UN Examples African Examples/Initiatives/Projects
Smart metering allows utility
companies to increase or
restrict the flow of electricity,
gas or water to reduce waste
and ensure adequate supply at
Integrated Waste Management Plan
Toolkit consists of interactive data
forms with information about
demographic population and waste.
Provides situation analysis data for
municipality in table and graph
WIMEA-ICT a collaborative effort at
improving weather information
management in East Africa.
iGRID - a Smart Grid Capacity
Development and Enhancement to
improve delivery efficiency and to
optimize operational costs in the
electrical power system in Tanzania.
Patterns in global postal traffic
can provide indicators such as
economic growth, remittances,
trade and GDP.
DataFirst e.g. data quality of
household surveys, and the analysis
of inequality and labour markets in
South Africa (Prof Martin Wittenberg).
19. SDG UN Examples African Examples/Initiatives/Projects
Data from GPS devices can be
used for traffic control and to
improve public transport.
Kenya National Public Health
Gateway saving lives through science
and technology to mitigate the effects
of motorcycle-related accidents in
Kenya, which cause more deaths than
those involving bicycles and cars.
Speech-to-text analytics on
local radio content can reveal
discrimination concerns and
support policy response.
Reproducible Automatic Speech
Recognition combines compute
resources, ASR workflows, Open
Access data repositories, metadata
libraries, and persistence and
uniqueness frameworks to allow
researchers to discover, extend and
reproduce ASR work.
Satellite remote sensing can
track encroachment on public
land or spaces such as parks
Smart Cities e.g. Madagascar. Mobile
& static infrastructure technologies
are enabling intelligent low-emissions
transportation systems, safer
communities, new low-cost utility
services, more efficient city
operations, and much more.
20. SDG UN Examples African Examples/Initiatives/Projects
Online search patterns or e-
commerce transactions can
reveal the pace of transition to
energy efficient products.
openAfrica contains data sets on
many disciplines, and also on e-
Commerce. Data from across Africa
Combining satellite imagery,
accounts and open data can
help track deforestation.
WASCAL Data Discovery Portal –
West African Science Service Centre
on Climate Change and Adapted Land
Use. Provides climate data, food
security data and many more.
Maritime vessel tracking data
can reveal illegal, unregulated
and unreported fishing
Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas - SOCAT
enables quantification of the ocean
carbon sink and ocean acidification
and evaluation of ocean
Biogeochemical and climate research
information which informs policy.
21. SDG UN Examples African Examples/Initiatives/Projects
Life on Land Social media monitoring can
support disaster management
with real-time information on
victim location, effects and
strength of forest fires or haze.
Kenya National Public Health
Gateway saving lives through science
and technology to mitigate the effects
of motorcycle-related accidents in
Kenya, which cause more deaths than
those involving bicycles and cars.
Sentiment analysis of social
media can reveal public opinion
on effective governance, public
service delivery or human
Kenya Online Voting System - system
enables the electoral body to cut
costs incurred during elections.
Data Zetu – Helps communities to
make better, more evidence-based
decisions to improve their lives, build
skills and develop digital and
offline tools that make information
accessible to everyone (Tanzania).
for the Goals
Partnerships to enable the
combining of statistics, mobile
and internet data can provide a
better and realtime
understanding of today’s hyper-
H3ABioNet, SKA, GBIF – collaborative
projects on genomes, origin of the
universe, and biodiversity, impacting
22. “Several open science activities are underway
across Africa, but a great deal will be gained if, in
the context of developing inter-regional links,
these activities were to be coordinated and
developed through such a coordinating
initiative.” - CODATA
25. Testing Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity; imaging neutral
hydrogen—the building blocks for stars – in the distant universe; and
examining galaxies that were formed billions of years ago
“Construction of the SKA is due to begin in 2018 and finish sometime
in the middle of the next decade.
Data acquisition will begin in 2020, requiring a level of processing
power and data management know-how that outstretches current
Astronomers estimate that the project will generate 35,000-DVDs-
worth of data every second. This is equivalent to “the whole world
wide web every day,” said Fanaroff.”
32. Accord on Open Data in a
Big Data World
• Proposes comprehensive
set of FAIR principles to
• Values of open data in
culture of big data
• Need for an international
• Provides framework &
plan for African data
Call to Endorse
33. Key Stakeholders
• African Governments
• Global Network of Science Academies (IAP)
• International Council for Science (ICSU)
• The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
• Research Data Alliance (RDA)
• NRENs (Internet Service Providers for Education)
• Association of African Universities (AAU)
• African Science Academies (AAS and NASAC)
• African Research Councils (incl. DIRISA, funders – Science Granting
• African Universities
• Librarians (AfLIA, IFLA Africa)
• Other e.g. SPARC Africa, Open Knowledge Foundation
34. Governance & Funding
• Funded by SA Dept of Science & Technology
through the National Research Foundation
• Managed by ASSAf, directed by CODATA
• Advisory Council
• Technical Advisory Board
• Research Community
• Project Team at ASSAf (3)
35. Phase 1 (Nov 2016 – Nov 2019)
Explore the African Landscape & Engage in Dialogue
& Create Awareness & Establish existing
• Open science policy and strategy;
• Open science information technology (IT)
• Capacity building/training to support open
• Incentives for sharing science output and
specifically the underlying data sets, in an open
and transparent way.
36. Deliverables Phase 1
• Landscape Study – initiatives, experts on
African continent identified
• Engaged with high level national
stakeholders through meetings e.g. Uganda,
• Science diplomacy: Numerous workshops,
presentations to create awareness &
advocate for OS
• Frameworks & Roadmaps to guide Open
Science Policy, ICT Infrastructure, Skills &
Capacity Building, Incentives
• Frameworks and guidance to assist policy
development at national and institutional level
• Study and recommendations to reduce barriers and
provide constructive incentives for Open Science
• Framework for data science training (including RDM,
data stewardship and science of data); curriculum
framework, training materials, recommendations for
• Framework and roadmap for data infrastructure
development: emphasising partnerships and de-
duplication between national systems, economies of
scale, institutions and domain initiatives
38. Draft Landscape Study Initiatives/Country
Please note: this is just a preview and data still to be cleaned and
updated and corrected.
39. AOSP Phase 2 - Platform
Vision of a coordinating activity to help put in place
and link the enabling practices, capacities and
technologies for Open Science
Pan African in ambition
Phase 1 in preparation of the foundations for a
broader initiative in terms of outputs and network
Successful first strategy workshop (March 2018)
followed by a stakeholder workshop (Sept 2018) to
prepare the platform initiative
Aim for this to be launched at Science Forum
South Africa, Dec 2018
40. Phase 2 Suggested Activities
1. Registry of African data initiatives, collections and services
2. Coordination and provision of network, compute and storage (building on current work of
NRENs, targeting needs of Open Science, achieving economies of scale).
3. A virtual space for scientists to find, deposit, manage, share and reuse data, software
and metadata (i.e. support for / or provision of FAIR data components, data stewardship and
4. An African Data Science Institute (to develop African capacities at the international cutting
edge of research in data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data
5. Major data-intensive programmes in science areas where Africa is data-asset rich
(process for identifying these areas, obtaining funding, ensuring that RIs are in place).
6. Network for Education and Skills in Data and Information (training programmes in data
science, data stewardship, data literacy, targeted at all stages of education).
7. Network for Open Science Access and Dialogue (building full engagement and joint action
in transdisciplinary and citizen science initiatives as an essential component of Open Science).
41. INTERNATIONAL DATA WEEK
Gaborone, Botswana: 5-8 November 2018
Deadline for abstracts, 31 May:
Vision of a coordinating activity to help put in place and link the enabling practices, capacities and technologies for Open Science.
Pan African in ambition.
Current three-year pilot funded by Department of Science and Technology via National Research Foundation; delivered by ASSAf, directed by CODATA.
Ambitious programme of engagement with a number of African countries, key stakeholders (universities, academies, NRENs, emerging research infrastructures.
Preparing the foundations for a broader initiative in terms of outputs and network building.
Successful first strategy workshop (March 2018) followed by a stakeholder workshop (Sept 2018) to prepare the platform initiative.
Aim for this to be launched at Science Forum South Africa, Dec 2018.
We are living in an increasingly data driven world – facebook, twitter, air bnb, uber
Resulting in new challenges concerning ethics, trust, accessibility and more. Need data to solve injustices of the past. Lack of data threatening food security
Malaria outbreak 2014-2015
World Economic Forum 2018
How to get rid of fake data
The scale of "fake research" in the UK appears to have been underestimated, a BBC investigation suggests.
Official data points to about 30 allegations of research misconduct between 2012 and 2015.
However, figures obtained by the BBC under Freedom of Information rules identified hundreds of allegations over a similar time period at 23 universities alone.
There are growing concerns around the world over research integrity.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has begun an inquiry into the issue to reassure the public that robust systems are in place in the UK.
Stephen Metcalfe, the committee's chairman, said it was vitally important that people have confidence in research that is paid for by public funds.
"Where research has been found to be fraudulent at a later point it has a big impact on the public - it leads to mistrust," he told BBC News.
"What we want to do is to investigate how robust the mechanisms are for ensuring that research is ethical, it is accurate, it is, to a degree, reproducible."
Requests by the BBC under Freedom of Information rules show that at least 300 allegations were reported at 23 of the 24 research-intensive Russell Group universities between 2011 and 2016 among staff and research students.
About a third of allegations of plagiarism, fabrication, piracy and misconduct were upheld. More than 30 research papers had to be retracted.
Commenting, a spokesman for the Russell Group said: "Our universities take research integrity seriously and work continuously to help staff and students maintain high standards of research.
"The UK has a global reputation for the quality of our scientific research. This is not least because our members are rigorous in their approach to research integrity."
Mr Metcalfe said the figures obtained by the BBC demonstrated the importance of the MPs' inquiry, but they had to be put in the context of the overall number of papers published.
"We do need to have accurate figures that are available so we can all have confidence that the research is being conducted properly, and when it's not, there is a system that challenges that," he said.
Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors of universities, was asked to comment on the data obtained by the BBC, but declined.
There are growing pressures on researchers to publish their work and obtain grants. Retractions of scientific papers have increased about ten-fold during the past decade.
The blog, Retraction Watch, reports on retractions of scientific papers.
Co-founder of Retraction Watch, Dr Ivan Oransky, told BBC News: "We do not have a good handle on how much research misconduct takes place, but it's become quite clear that universities and funding agencies and oversight bodies are not reporting even a reasonable fraction of the number of cases that they see."
He said one of the most widely cited surveys suggests 2% of researchers admit to committing something that would be considered misconduct.
"If that's a ball-park figure of 2%, well, the number of cases that we hear about is a miniscule fraction of that," said Dr Oransky.
"Clearly there's a lot that's happening that we don't know about. I would say that any steps that universities can take to begin being more honest and forthright and disclosing these cases would be wonderful."
Deliberate research fraud is thought to be extremely rare. However, if it does happen it can have severe consequences, such as risking public health and undermining public trust in research.
There have been calls for a UK regulatory body to oversee publicly funded research, based on models in the US and Denmark.
Image copyrightSPLMr Metcalfe said the idea of some sort of regulator would be explored, although he said "there is no appetite for that in the wider community at the moment".
He said the committee would also be looking at why there is so little official data on research misconduct.
Figures from Research Councils UK are regarded as the most reliable, according to a source.
The body, which represents the UK's seven Research Councils, reported 33 allegations of research misconduct between 2012 and 2015. Of these, five were formally upheld, 20 were dismissed and eight are ongoing.
In addition, Universities UK looked at statements on research misconduct published by 19 universities for the year 2013-14. It found 29 allegations were reported, with seven cases upheld after investigation.
It is not clear whether the figures relate to the same or different cases.
In 2012, universities signed up to a concordat to support research integrity.
Under the agreement, universities are encouraged to use transparent, robust and fair processes to handle allegations of misconduct.
However, they are not obliged to publish figures on breaches of research integrity, making the scale of the problem difficult to determine.
An audit by Universities UK found that about 35 of 131 universities published annual statements on allegations of research misconduct that were made available to the public.
The BBC investigation asked 24 universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland within the Russell Group, which focus heavily on research, to reveal figures on allegations of research misconduct for academic years between 2011 and 2016. All but one university complied in full or in part.
A total of 319 cases were reported between 2011 and 2016 among staff and research students. The actual number is likely to be higher as some universities did not provide full figures.
Of these 103 were upheld, 173 were dismissed and 43 are ongoing.
Allegations that were upheld after investigation included:
Falsification of research
Passing off others' work as one's own
Data in a published paper taken from other sources without due acknowledgement
The investigations led to at least 32 research papers being retracted as well as at least three PhD theses. These figures are likely to be an underestimate as some universities could not supply data on retractions.
Government-led response to ebola outbreak included many international organisations, condcutcting research, collecting data
When the outbreak ended and organisations left the region, the data was scattered globally
Last April, five months into the largest Ebola outbreak in history, an international group of researchers sequenced three viral genomes, sampled from patients in Guinea1. The data were made public that same month. Two months later, our group at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sequenced 99 more Ebola genomes, from patients at the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone.
Uncertainties over whether the information belongs to local governments or data collectors present further barriers to sharing. So, too, does the absence of patient consent, common for data collected in emergencies — especially given the vulnerability of patients and their families to stigmatization and exploitation during outbreaks. Ebola survivors, for instance, risk being shunned because of fears that they will infect others.
Tensions linger over discovery of coronavirus
Dreams of flu data
Nature special: Ebola outbreak
More related stories
We immediately uploaded the data to the public database GenBank (see go.nature.com/aotpbk). Our priority was to help curb the outbreak. Colleagues who had worked with us for a decade were at the front lines and in immediate danger; some later died. We were amazed by the surge of collaboration that followed. Numerous experts from diverse disciplines, including drug and vaccine developers, contacted us. We also formed unexpected alliances — for instance, with a leading evolutionary virologist, who helped us to investigate when the strain of virus causing the current outbreak arose.
The genomic data confirmed that the virus had spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone, and indicated that the outbreak was being sustained by human-to-human transmission, not contact with bats or some other carrier. They also suggested new probable routes of infection and, importantly, revealed where and how fast mutations were occurring2. This information is crucial to designing effective diagnostics, vaccines and antibody-based therapies.
What followed was three months of stasis, during which no new virus sequence information was made public (see 'Gaps in the data'). Some genomes are known to have been generated during this time from patients treated in the United States3. The number is likely to have been much larger: thousands of samples were transferred to researchers' freezers across the world.
Sources: Sequences, NCBI/virological.org; Ebola cases, WHO
In an increasingly connected world, rapid sequencing, combined with new ways to collect clinical and epidemiological data, could transform our response to outbreaks. But the power of these potentially massive data sets to combat epidemics will be realized only if the data are shared as widely and as quickly as possible. Currently, no good guidelines exist to ensure that this happens.
Speed is everything
Researchers working on outbreaks — from Ebola to West Nile virus — must agree on standards and practices that promote and reward cooperation. If these protocols are endorsed internationally, the global research community will be able to share crucial information immediately wherever and whenever an outbreak occurs.
The rapid dissemination of results during outbreaks is sporadic at best. In the case of influenza, an international consortium of researchers called GISAID established a framework for good practice in 2006. Largely thanks to this, during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, the US National Center for Biotechnology Information created a public repository that became a go-to place for the community to deposit and locate H1N1 sequence information4. By contrast, the publishing of sequence information in the early stages of the 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in Saudi Arabia highlighted uncertainties about intellectual-property rights, and the resulting disputes hampered subsequent access to samples.
Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia try to protect themselves from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus.
Sharing data is especially important and especially difficult during an outbreak. Researchers are racing against the clock. Every outbreak can mobilize a different mixture of people — depending on the microbe and location involved — bringing together communities with different norms, in wildly different places. Uncertainties over whether the information belongs to local governments or data collectors present further barriers to sharing. So, too, does the absence of patient consent, common for data collected in emergencies — especially given the vulnerability of patients and their families to stigmatization and exploitation during outbreaks. Ebola survivors, for instance, risk being shunned because of fears that they will infect others.
Nature special: Ebola outbreak
Fortunately, useful models for responsible data sharing have been developed by the broader genomics community. In 1996, at a summit held in Bermuda, the heads of the major labs involved in the Human Genome Project agreed to submit DNA sequence assemblies of 1,000 bases or more to GenBank within 24 hours of producing them5, 6. In exchange, the sequencing centres retained the right to be the first to publish findings based on their own complete data sets, by laying out their plans for analyses in 'marker' papers.
This rapid release of genomic data served the field well. New information on 30 disease genes, for instance, was published before the release of the complete human genome sequence. Since 1996, the Bermuda principles have been extended to other types of sequence data and to other fields that generate large data sets, such as metabolite research.
Guidelines for sharing
More-recent policies on data release similarly seek to align the interests of different parties, including funding agencies, data producers, data users and analysts, and scientific publishers. Since January, for example, the US National Institutes of Health has required grantees to make large-scale genomics data public by the time of publication at the latest, with earlier deadlines for some kinds of data7.
We urge those at the forefront of outbreak research to forge similar agreements, taking into account the unique circumstances of an outbreak.
First, incentives and safeguards should be created to encourage people to release their data quickly into the public domain. One possibility is to request that data users (and publishers) honour the publication intentions of data producers — the questions and analyses that they want to pursue themselves — for, say, six months. These intentions could be broadcast through several channels, including citable marker papers, disclaimer notices on data repositories such as GenBank, and online forums, such as virological.org and the EpiFlu database. Alternatively, data producers could publish an announcement about their data and their intentions on online forums as a resource that can be used by others as long as they cite the original source.
“We urge researchers working on outbreaks to embrace a culture of openness.”
Second, ethical, rigorous and standardized protocols for the collection of samples and data from patients should be established to facilitate the generation and sharing of that information. A global consortium involving the leading health and research agencies and the ministries of health of engaged nations should work together towards establishing these. Ethicists should be involved to safeguard subjects' privacy and dignity. Biosecurity experts will also be needed to address potential dual-use research and other safety concerns. A helpful analogue is the approach used by the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Initiative, which aims to apply genomics to improving the health of African populations. Since August 2013, H3Africa has used standard consent-form guidelines8 for collecting DNA samples from subjects for genomic studies, regardless of their country of origin.
Quarantine officers rush to test passengers at Tokyo's Narita airport amid the 2009 swine-flu outbreak.
Lastly, any preparation for future outbreaks should include provisions for rapidly building new bridges and establishing community norms. Successful collaborations in genomics and historical data-sharing agreements have tended to involve a fairly stable group of individuals and organizations, making norms of behaviour relatively easy to establish and sustain. By contrast, outbreaks can involve a new cast of characters each time, and cases in which the pathogen is new to science call for whole new fields of research.
The Kenema way
As a first step, we call on health agencies such as the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as genome-sequencing centres and other research institutions, to convene a meeting this year — similar to that held in Bermuda in 1996. Attendees must include scientists, funders, ethicists, biosecurity experts, social scientists and journal editors.
We urge researchers working on outbreaks to embrace a culture of openness. For our part, we have released all our sequence data as soon as it has been generated, including that from several hundred more Ebola samples we recently received from Kenema. We have listed the research questions that we are pursuing at virological.org and through GenBank, and we plan to present our results at virological.org as we generate them, for others to weigh in on. We invite people either to join our publication, or to prepare their own while openly laying out their intentions online. We have also made clinical data for 100 patients publicly available and have incorporated these into a user-friendly data-visualization tool, Mirador, to allow others to explore the data and uncover new insights.
Kenema means 'translucent, clear like a river stream' or 'open to the public gaze'9. To honour the memory of our colleagues who died at the forefront of the Ebola outbreak, and to ensure that no future epidemic is as devastating, let's work openly in outbreaks.
Nature 518, 477–479 (26 February 2015) doi:10.1038/518477a
It is well known that the greatest concentrations of biodiversity are found in developing countries, but most of the data and information about it is located in developed countries. GBIF was brought into existence largely to help redress this asymmetry with regard to data about where species occur and about scientific names. The GBIF data portal can help countries of origin find sources of these types of data.
Trusted ICT Infrastructure required to do business
“Open Science moves beyond open access research articles, towards encompassing other research objects such as data, software codes, protocols and workflows. The intention is for people to use, re-use and distribute content without legal, technological or social restrictions. In some cases, Open Science also entails the opening up of the entire research process from agenda-setting to the dissemination of findings.” - Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network project, funded by IDRC
Information collected using specific methods for a specific purpose of studying or analyzing.
For social science, data is generally numeric files originating from social research methodologies or administrative records, from which statistics are produced. It also includes, however, more data formats such as audio, video, geospatial and other digital content that are germane to social science research.
"Data" implies accompanying metadata (e.g. precise definitions of quantities, equations of interrelationships, scientific units of measurement, error analysis, etc.)
In experimental sciences the data is all the information required to repeat the experiment and the resulting data reported from that experiment.
"Research data is defined as recorded factual material commonly retained by and accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings; although the majority of such data is created in digital format, all research data is included irrespective of the format in which it is created.“
Good scientific practice depends on communicating the evidence.
Open research data are essential for reproducibility, self-correction.
Academic publishing has not kept up with age of digital data.
Danger of an replication / evidence / credibility gap.
Boulton: to fail to communicate the data that supports scientific assertions is malpractice
Open data practices have transformed certain areas of research.
Genomics and related biomedical sciences; crystallography; astronomy; areas of earth systems science; various disciplines using remote sensing data…
FAIR data helps use of data at scale, by machines, harnessing technological potential.
Research data often have considerable potential for reuse, reinterpretation, use in different studies.
Open data foster innovation and accelerate scientific discovery through reuse of data within and outside the academic system.
Research data produced by publicly funded research are a public asset.
Data Seal of Approval
Data collection on a massive scale
Telescope array to consist of 250,000 radio antennas between Australia & SA
Investment in machine learning and artificial intelligence software tools to enable data analysis
400+ engineers and technicians in infrastructure, fibre optics, data collection
Supercomputers to process data (IBM)
To come: super computer 3x times power of world’s current fastest computer (Tianhe-2) to cope with SKA data
The first fully assembled SKA dish was unveiled today at a ceremonyin Shijiazhuang, China, by the Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, in thepresence of representatives from the countries involved and the SKA Organisation. The dish is one of two final prototypes that will be tested ahead of production of an early array.
Collaborative projects in Biomedical Sciences – genomics research – catching up with outbreaks, ebola, malaria and more
Bioinformatics legs of H3Africa (Human Heridity and Health in Africa)
Work among 30 institutions, 15 Afrucan countries, 2 partners outside Africa
It’s difficult to accurately measure the number of people who get malaria each year. This is because the malaria symptoms are shared with many other diseases that lead to death or illness, especially among young children.
However, there is a measure of malaria that is precise. Testing for the malaria parasite among large numbers of people provides a Parasite Rate, a useful measure of the quantity of malaria in any given area.
Surveys are done on a known number of people by malaria control programmes, non governmental organisations and researchers. Although they don’t tell us how many people are sick, the number of infected people in an area is indicated.
We spent the last 21 years tracking down malaria survey reports done across Africa. The greatest challenge was that they were mostly hidden in old government archives or curated by the World Health Organisation.
Most of the records were either poorly stored, burnt or were missing. In some countries like Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Burkina Faso the surveys dated back 1950s. Conversely, recent surveys have been easier to locate through more modern web based searches.
To obtain village or school level data published in most journals or reports, scientists and government officials provided the raw data. This is a testament to a new era of data sharing where over 800 people have contributed finer resolution data.
The final report covers over 50,000 surveys dating back 115 years. This is the largest repository containing information on over 7.8 million blood tests for malaria. We analysed malaria infection prevalence for each of 520 administrative units across countries south of the Sahara and Madagascar for 16 time periods.
The study suggests that the prevalence of malaria infection in sub-Saharan Africa today is at the lowest point since 1900.
Declining malaria cases
Overall, there was a decline in the number of children infected with malaria at 24% between 2010 and 2015 compared to 40% between 1900 and 1929.
The biggest historical reduction in malaria coincided with the introduction of new tools to fight malaria. After the Second World War, the discovery of DDT for indoor spraying and chloroquine drugs made a difference in treating malaria.
Changing patterns of malaria in sub Saharan Africa. Bob SnowInvestment in malaria control in Africa has been sporadic in the past. The world has seen a reduction in malaria over the last 15 years, based largely on the use of treated bed nets and antimalarial drugs. If we take our eye off the ball then rising drug resistance and falling control will lead to the sorts of increases we saw in the 90s.
Again, in 2005 the rolling out of insecticide treated bed nets and new anti antimalarial drugs, led to a further drop of malaria cases.
The lowest periods of malaria prevalence were evident when the international community abandoned specific malaria control investment in Africa, during the late 1960s, through the 1970s and early 1980s. As a result, every fever was treated with chloroquine, an amazingly effective drug. There was a prolonged drought across the Sahel. This was the perfect lull.
However, from the late 1980s chloroquine resistance expanded across Africa. It was made worse in the 1990s when unprecedented rainfall led to flooding causing major malaria epidemics. Governments in Africa were unprepared because they did not have significant mosquito prevention and management strategies in place. Malaria cases increased and the prevalence was similar to those described before the Second World War. The perfect storm.
It took over five years for the international community to appropriately respond by providing free, and effective malaria treatments to vulnerable persons in the affected countries. They ensured access to effective malaria prevention tools which a decade earlier had reduced the malaria risk by half.
The Global Fund’s financial boost and the revisions of the 2005 world malaria report led to one of the largest drops in malaria infection prevalence witnessed.
More effective strategies needed
The gains made after 2005 have stalled since 2010. Declining malaria funding, insecticideand drug resistance are the obvious threats to the elimination of malaria in Africa.
Despite an impressive overall decline in malaria prevalence since 1900, Africa has the highest infection risks globally. Large parts of West through to Central Africa and down to Mozambique continue to have intense malaria transmission.
Unfortunately DDT, new insecticides, chloroquine and new combination treatments and insecticide treated bed nets have not been effective enough to shrink this high malaria burden. We need new tools.
There is an urgent need to focus on the high burden countries in Africa, they should not be left behind in a new global agenda for malaria elimination.
It is complex and predicting a future malaria landscape based on climate or economic development alone would be foolhardy. It needs a more integrated approach.
What we can say however is that the malaria map in Africa might shrink a bit at the margins but that middle belt isn’t going anywhere in our lifetimes with what we have at our disposal now – bed nets and drugs.
When insecticide and drug resistance becomes established, unless we have new classes of both drugs and insecticides or a natural period of drought, malaria will revert in large parts of Africa to what it was in the 1990s, another perfect storm.
The prevalence of malaria infection in sub-Saharan Africa today is at the lowest point since 1900.
banana bacterial wilt in Uganda provided the government with real-time information on the spread of the disease. They were able to quickly identify the most affected areas and direct the limited treatments for the disease to prevent further advances. At the same time, they could disseminate information directly to the public via SMS on treatment options and how to protect their crops. Within five days of the first messages being sent out, 190,000 Ugandans had learned about the disease and knew how to save bananas on their farms.2
A particularly beneficial use of this data would be to build a global subnational map of the prevalence of underweight children that could be used by governments and aid groups to target nutrition interventions to where they are needed most.