African researchers are ready to share more work openly – now policy must make it possible

Librarians are the curators of creativity. They collect success stories and share it with the world. Traditionally, the success was from published authors, which libraries shared with the local community. More recently, the model has been flipped: libraries have started to collect from the local community to share with everyone.

In academic libraries, this is best seen in the work of repository librarians. They collect not only the published output of researchers but also all the digital ephemera that might be created through the research process: the data, the software, the code.

The movement that makes all the ingredients of a research project available on the internet, with as little restriction as possible, has been termed “Open Research” or “Open Science”. This umbrella term includes open access, open data and open methods, to name a few.

The work involved in open science pulls in researchers, librarians, funders, policymakers and the public. Its benefits flow back to the librarians too. Some of the benefits include trust, greater access to research and more collaboration among researchers.

Adoption is steadily underway, evidenced by the number of open access policies, the growth of open science standards and policies or the number of times it has been searched in Google over the past few years, but Africa has been slower to take up the change. A change on such a large scale requires that certain things are in place: policies, willingness to implement them, and the infrastructure to make implementation possible.

We undertook a two-part study to understand the root of Africa’s slow uptake of open science practices.


To read the full article co-written by Dr Lara Skelly visit the Conversation.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/23

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

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Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’.

In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

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