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Young Academies’ Statement on Achieving SDGs

5 December 2017, 14:55

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Young Academies of Sciences around the globe have a role to play in solving the dilemmas the world is facing today and in improving the world through scientific discovery. This claim is made in a joint statement on The Role of Young Academies in Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which was published on 26 October 2017 by the Global Young Academy (GYA) and 36 national young academies and young academy initiatives. The statement focuses on the question of how young academies in general, and young scientists in particular, can contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs and how science and technology can best be harnessed towards achieving the SDGs...

SAYAS Inaugurates New Members

5 December 2017, 14:53

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Nine new members of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) were inaugurated on 11 October 2017. Dr Adeyemi Aremu – Dr Aremu is Senior Lecturer at the DST Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, North-West University (Mafikeng Campus). Prof Benita Olivier – Prof Olivier is Associate Professor in the field of musculoskeletal physiotherapy at the Physiotherapy Department of the University of the Witwatersrand. Prof Chris De Wet – Prof De Wet is Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies in the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, at the University of South Africa. Prof Roula Inglesi-Lotz – Prof Inglesi-Lotz is Asso...

Staff Matters at ASSAf

5 December 2017, 14:51

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Dr Leti Klein has been appointed as Senior Programme Officer: Humanities and STEM Education with effect from 1 December 2017. Leti is a NRF Y2-rated Researcher (2016 – 2021) and has a PhD (Publishing Studies) from the University of Pretoria. She was previously Manager: Open Scholarship and Digitisation Programme at the University of Pretoria. Mr Stanley Maphosa has been appointed as Manager: National and International Liaison at ASSAf with effect from 1 October 2017. He was previously International Liaison Manager at ASSAf. Mr Maphosa holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies, Post Graduate Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance, Bachelor of Arts in English and Commun...

Series of African Open Science Platform Webinars on Incentives for Sharing Data

5 December 2017, 14:49

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The Open Science movement – focused on making research data, software code and experimental methods that are publicly available and transparent – is steadily gaining momentum. According to Gewin (2016), “[A]a spirit of openness is gaining traction in the science community, and is the only way, say advocates, to address a 'crisis' in science whereby too few findings are successfully reproduced. Furthermore, they say, it is the best way for researchers to gather the range of observations that are necessary to speed up discoveries or to identify large-scale trends.” Although many researchers are already sharing their raw data and data sets, there are researchers who...

OpenCon Addresses Open Access

5 December 2017, 14:46

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The OpenCon 2017 was held in Berlin, Germany, from 11 to 13 November 2017 with the theme Empowering the Next Generation to Advance Open Access, Open Education and Open Data. More than 200 participants from 175 countries attended the conference. Next Generation Initiatives Advancing Open Science were outlined and different regional models used to advance open education and research, such as the African Open Science Platform (AOSP) were discussed. Other topics highlighted at the conference included a culture change to elevate the status of open science, particularly open data, among leaders alongside more urgent issues. ASSAf was represented by Zukie Hlwatika, P...

Botswana Open Science Open Data Forum

5 December 2017, 14:46

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The Botswana Open Science Open Data Forum took place in Botswana on 30 and 31 October 2017. Botswana shares the same challenges as other African countries regarding open science policy, utilising and adapting the current information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure/fibre connections and building capacity. This applies to management of research data on individual researcher/project level, and to soft skills to properly manage and re-use data. Botswana Statistics (focusing on government data) is one of the success stories shared at the forum. The presence of high-level key stakeholders demonstrated commitment from government level. The Botswana delega...

SAJS to be more open

5 December 2017, 14:44

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Strategic plans for the South African Journal of Science are currently underway to better align it within an open science philosophy. One of the major plans for this alignment will be to move the journal to the new version of Open Journal Systems (OJS). This migration will also form part of an upgrade of the other journals currently hosted by ASSAf on OJS. The new, federated system will be launched in January 2018.

ASSAf Members in the News

5 December 2017, 14:43

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Prof Heather Zar Prof Heather Zar has been honoured with the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Award for Africa and the Middle East region. The award recognises Prof Zar’s contribution to child health in Africa and the developing world. She is Professor and Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Director of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT), Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town. Prof Thumbi Ndung’u The MRC has awarded Prof Thumbi Ndung’u a Gold Medal for his groundbreaking scientific contributions to the fields of HIV and tuberculosis resear...

Panel on Climate Change S&T Meets

5 December 2017, 14:41

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The panel tasked with producing the Second Biennial Report on the State of Climate Change Science and Technology in South Africa has been enlarged and now includes Prof Harald Winkler of UCT, Prof Rashid Hassan of UP and Prof Danny Simatele of Wits. They are joining Prof Bob Scholes (chair) and Prof Roseanne Diab who served on the panel that produced the first biennial report. The new panel held their first meeting on 22 September 2017 at ASSAf and identified gaps in the first report, which they are committed to address. There will be a focus on technology development and innovation as well as activities and priorities within the private sector. The purpose of the...

Storytelling in Science Education

5 December 2017, 14:40

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ASSAf, in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States of America in South Africa (US Embassy), co-hosted a panel discussion titled Storytelling and Narrative in Science Education and Communication. The guest speaker was Dr Tyler DeWitt, Research Scientist, High-school Teacher and Digital Content Author. The objective of the panel discussion was to provide a platform for scientists to share various ways in which they make science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) more accessible and understandable to policymakers, young emerging scientists and the public; taking into consideration that the fundamental role of science is for the service of society....