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The Library Support for embedding NREN services and e-Infrastructure (LIBSENSE) initiative is a collaboration between the three African Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs) and the AfricaConnect2 project. 

It aims to build a community of practice for repositories in Africa and define a collaborative agenda for libraries and RENs in Africa related repositories and value-added services. To support this aim, the starting objectives are to:

  1. Identify key institutional weaknesses in the current support for the evolving role of HE librarians in the African Higher Education sector
  2. Identify key areas in which HEI librarians could collaborate with National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and members of scientific communities of practice to enable stronger institutional roles in NREN advocacy and information management
  3. Draw up a framework of key policy actions to address these identified issues
  4. Propose practical capacity-building projects to support the proposed policy changes
  5. Develop a more cohesive strategy for strengthening and building repository networks in Africa

The illustration below shows our view of the multiple actors and perspectives required for sustainable development and maintenance of Open Access repositories in Africa. 

Configuration of actors involved in the sustainable creation and curation of Open Access repositoriesImage Removed

NRENs, coordinated by their respective regional REN organisations provide the technical expertise and e-infrastructure to host these services. 

LIBSENSE is building communities of practice and strengthening local and national services to support open science and research in Africa.

Open science is an international trend aimed at sharing the results of research widely. Open science is transforming the way research is done, and increasing its value and impact by accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and expanding the adoption of research outcomes for everyone. Although global in nature, there are important local and regional aspects of how open science and open access are implemented. It is important that the policies and infrastructures created to support open science are designed and delivered to meet the needs and requirements of the research communities in different regions.

The LIBSENSE initiative was launched in 2016 to bring together the research and education networks (RENs) and academic library communities in order to strengthen open access and open science in Africa. LIBSENSE provides a venue through which different stakeholder communities can work together to define priority activities, share knowledge, and develop relevant services together.

LIBSENSE is led by the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) in collaboration with sister regional African RENs (ASREN and UbuntuNet Alliance). Other participating partners include several national RENs, libraries, library associations, universities and research communities in Africa, in conjunction with COAR, EIFL, University of Sheffield, National Institute of Informatics (Japan), GEANT, and OpenAIRE.

From December 2018 - March 2019, LIBSENSE conducted workshops in each of the three major regions in Africa bringing the library and NREN communities together to define a shared agenda for progressing open science and open access in these regions. Each workshop, which contributed to priority setting in each region, also built upon the outcomes of preceding discussions.

To date, there have already been several concrete outcomes of the LIBSENSE initiative, including:

  • Terms of Reference for NREN-Library collaboration in African countries
  • Metadata guidelines for repositories
  • Plans for a regional repository hosting service

  • National and institutional policy templates

LIBSENSE will continue to assist countries and regions in Africa to undertake new activities and act as a forum for information exchange across the continent and amongst the different stakeholder communities.

  

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