Creating awareness about Open Data in Kyambogo University, Uganda

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2017. On Saturday 4 March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 44 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by SPARC, the Open Contracting Program of Hivos, Article 19, Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. This event was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Research theme.

Kyambogo University’s Open Data Day event was about creating awareness of open data within the University community.

Held in the Library’s Computer lab on 4th March 2017, the event included presentations on open data and open access resources; an exhibition of open access library resources and a bonus event – tour of the library service centres. It was attended by librarians, academic staff, and students drawn from different faculties of the University.

Participants registering for the open data day event

The event kicked off with a presentation about open data by Mr Wangwe Isimail, a computer technician in Kyambogo University Library. He covered the following topics: What is open data, Kinds of open data, who can open data? Why open data? Key features of openness. How to open data and Top 21 data sources.

He briefed the participants on an open access workshop that was organised by the Kyambogo University Library in June 2016 which was attended by librarians, deans of faculties, lecturers, researchers and graduate students. The open access workshop was facilitated by Mr David Ball, a SPARC Europe Project Officer for PASTEUR4OA and FOSTER [European Union projects]. Mr Wangwe, in his presentation, emphasised the importance of open data as another element of open science in addition to open access and open source. Hopefully, in the future, the library will organise a workshop on open source too.

Mr Wangwe Isimail delivering a presentation on open data

At the end of the presentation, participants were asked to work in groups of five to discuss what Kyambogo University can contribute towards open access. Participants demonstrated an understanding of initiatives to promote open data. They suggested:

  • Increasing the participation on world open data day celebrations so as to increase awareness to a wider audience
  • Set up a data repository (Kyambogo University Library is already in the process of setting up an institutional repository). It was exciting to hear the participants asking for sensitisation for the university management so they will deposit data into the institutional repository to increase transparency in the university.
  • Carry out sensitization workshops in Kyambogo University to encourage people to open up their research data

Participants in a group discussion

The second presentation was about open access resources by Mary Acanit, An assistant Librarian and Head of ICT Services in Kyambogo University Library. The presentation covered: the meaning of open access; open access resources available at Kyambogo University; comparison between open access resources and subscribed resources; how to access open access resources and; information searching techniques.

Ms. Mary Acanit delivering a presentation on open access resources

The presentation further looked at the benefits of open access and open access publishing models. In addition, participants went through a hands-on training on how to search for open access resources and each was asked to select any of the open access resource databases and download an article of choice on any topic. 

After the presentation, participants were given a tour of the library services. In the interest of time, participants were asked to visit a library service centre of their choice and were guided by librarians on duty.

There are four service centres and they are located in different parts of the university campus. Barclays Library is located in the East End of the Campus with subject strengths in humanities, social sciences and business and management. Barclays library mainly serves Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Management and Entrepreneurship and Faculty of Vocational Studies. West End library has subject strengths in Science, technology and Engineering and serves mainly faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering. Faculty of Education Library is a faculty library with subject strengths on Education. Faculty of Special needs and Rehabilitation Library (FSN&R) is also a faculty library in the North end of the campus with subject strengths of its collection in special needs studies. Each of the service centres has a wireless internet connection to facilitate access to online library resources including open access resources.

Some learnings from our Open Data Day event

I am glad to be part of a community that organised the open data day event at my institution and added a voice to promoting access to research data.

I was overwhelmed by the support I received from my library. I shared the idea about open data day event with my colleagues and they were willing to offer a hand: making presentations, guiding participants during the library tour, identifying logistics, distributing invitations, etc. I learnt that we can make greater strides if we work as a team. My advice to people planning to organise similar events is that identify with people who are passionate about the same cause as you and start your local open data community.

 

 

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