African Open Science Platform: a vision of Agenda 2063 

Agenda 2063 envisions an African continent that is peaceful, prosperous and integrated. The emerging view is that the continent would have developed elaborate intra- and inter- information systems and processes to exploit the digital revolution for the attainment of Agenda 2063 and for translating its benefits for the African people.

The Africa of the future would be comprised of countries whose institutions are well resourced and well-coordinated with operational infrastructural capabilities to facilitate efficient flow and exchange of information for development and effective decision making.

Credit: Levers in Heels

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A key driver to achieving Agenda 2063 is an African Open Science Platform where the African science community freely shares their research activity, outputs and data in a well-coordinated Open Science framework, supported by a well-coordinated funder framework.

Several Open Science activities are underway across Africa. Through the African Open Science Platform (AOSP) initiative, it is expected that a great deal will be gained if, in the context of developing inter-regional links, mechanisms for collaboration, exchange of good practice and coordination can be established. A multi-state, inter-regional Open Science and Open Data initiative will help achieving the OECD policy principles, but also the objectives of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.

Credit: Levers in Heels

The three year pilot project (phase 1) is currently heading towards the end of year two. A high-level stakeholder meeting has been held on 3-4 September 2018, to explore a proposal towards the implementation of an actual African Open Science Platform, incl. an Africa Data Institute, supported by funding, infrastructure, policies, training and more.

Read more about the African Open Science Platform project at http://africanopenscience.org.za.

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Image of the month

A team of scientists led by Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Roehampton has discovered that basking sharks can jump as fast and as high out of the water as their cousin, the famously powerful and predatory great white shark. Photo credit Youen Jacob

Basking sharks can jump as high and as fast as a great white shark - Queen's University, Belfast - 20 September 2018

September’s Hits Parade - Top 5

Our most read news releases in September 2018

1. New findings on chronic pain syndrome in the mouth - University of Gothenburg - 21 September 2018

The picture is becoming clearer regarding the chronic oral pain condition known as Burning Mouth Syndrome, or BMS, which mainly affects women who are middle-aged and older. In a dissertation at Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, additional steps are being taken toward better diagnosis and treatment.

2. FDA Researchers Report First Evidence of Beta Lactamase Producing, Antimicrobial Resistant E. Coli in U.S. Retail Meat Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers - 21 September 2018

A new study using antimicrobial susceptibility testing and whole genome sequencing to test extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) producing E. coli isolated from cattle for food production and from various retail meat products has shown that all were resistant to at least three antimicrobial classes. They also carried various types of CTX-M type ESBL genes, which are increasingly common in clinical patients worldwide and whose presence in food-producing animals and retail meat supplies might contribute to a greater incidence of infections. These findings are reported in Microbial Drug Resistance, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers.


3. Researchers Challenge Our Assumptions on the Effects of Planetary Rotation
 - American Institute of Physics (AIP) -28 September 2018

The Coriolis effect impacts global wind patterns and ocean currents and its magnitude, relative to the magnitude of inertial forces, is expressed by the Rossby number. For over 100 years, scientists have believed that the higher this number, the less likely Coriolis effect influences oceanic or atmospheric events. Recently, researchers found that even smaller ocean disturbances with high Rossby numbers, like vortices within submarine wakes, are influenced by the Coriolis effect. Their discovery challenges assumptions at the very foundation of theoretical oceanography and geophysical fluid dynamics. The team reports their findings in Physics of Fluids.


4. Shaking the swarm
 - Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences- 26 September 2018

A team of Harvard University researchers spent months shaking and rattling swarms of thousands of honey bees to better understand how bees collectively collaborate to stabilize structures in the presence of external loads.


5. Wild African monkeys are infected with the bacterium causing yaws in humans
 - German Primate Center - 20 September 2018

An international research team, led by scientists from the German Primate Center, the Robert Koch Institute, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, McGill University, Masaryk University, the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, has successfully recovered genomes of the bacterium Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis and yaws in humans, from wild nonhuman primate populations across sub-Saharan Africa. Monkeys showed severe symptoms including lesions on their genitals, face, and extremities. The pathogen’s genomes revealed that nonhuman primates across a large geographic range are infected with the same bacterium causing yaws in humans.


News Managers' selections in French, German, English and Spanish

Découverte d’une nouvelle exoplanète par une équipe internationale dirigée par une jeune étudiante canadienne - 05 September 2018 - Université de Montréal

Une équipe internationale de chercheurs canadiens, américains et allemands a découvert une exoplanète deux fois plus grande que la Terre, appelée Wolf503b, en utilisant les données du télescope spatial Kepler de la NASA. La découverte est décrite dans une nouvelle étude dont l’auteure principale est Merrin Peterson, une étudiante à la maîtrise à l’Institut de recherche sur les exoplanètes (iREx) de l’Université de Montréal. Wolf503b se trouve à une distance d’environ 145années-lumière de la Terre, dans la constellation de la Vierge; elle orbite autour de son étoile tous les six jours et se trouve donc très proche d’elle, environ 10fois plus proche que Mercure l’est du Soleil.

Comparaison de la taille de la Terre, de l'exoplanète Wolf 503b et de Neptune. La couleur bleue de Wolf 503b est imaginaire, car on ne sait encore rien de l’atmosphère ou de la surface de la planète. Crédit : NASA Goddard/Robert Simmon (Terre), NASA/JPL (Neptune).

Warum es beim Blinzeln nicht dunkel wird - 19 September 2018 - German Primate Center

Alle fünf Sekunden schließen wir für kurze Zeit die Augen, wir blinzeln, um die Augen zu befeuchten. In dieser Zeit fällt kein Licht auf unsere Netzhaut, trotzdem wird es nicht ständig dunkel, wir sehen weiterhin ein stabiles Bild unserer Umwelt. Das Gehirn scheint eine Art Gedächtnis für das gerade Gesehene zu haben. Wo dieses Gedächtnis liegt und wie es funktioniert haben Caspar Schwiedrzik und Sandrin Sudmann, Neurowissenschaftler am Deutschen Primatenzentrum und der Universitätsmedizin Göttingen, zusammen mit Kollegen aus den USA an Epilepsie-Patienten untersucht. Dabei haben sie ein Gehirngebiet identifiziert, das für das Wahrnehmungsgedächtnis eine entscheidende Rolle spielt. Diese Erkenntnis trägt dazu bei, besser zu verstehen, wie Wahrnehmung und Gedächtnis interagieren (Current Biology).

Grafische Darstellung des menschlichen Gehirns. Der mittlere Präfrontalkortex ist grün hervorgehoben. Darauf eingezeichnet sind die Orte, wo die Hirnaktivität gemessen wurde. Grafik: Caspar M. Schwiedrzik

La publicidad medioambiental es más efectiva a nivel cerebral cuando el mensaje lo pronuncia un hombre joven y que hable del futuro - 12 September 2018 - University of Granada

Investigadores de la Universidad de Granada (UGR) han demostrado en un estudio realizado con resonancia magnética funcional (fMRI, por sus siglas en inglés) que los mensajes ecológicos que se utilizan en la publicidad medioambiental son más efectivos a nivel cerebral cuando la voz que los emite es la de un hombre joven que habla de las consecuencias futuras de actuar de forma responsable, en lugar de hablar en pasado.

Sujeto sometido al experimento - Universidad de Granada

Drugs that stop mosquitoes catching malaria could help eradicate the disease - 17 September 2018 - Imperial College London

Researchers have identified compounds that could prevent malaria parasites from being able to infect mosquitoes, halting the spread of disease.

Preventing transmission of malaria is a key part of efforts to eliminate the disease. A person can be cured of the disease using drugs that wipe out the replicating form of the parasite, but still carry dormant, sexual forms. These are responsible for transferring the parasite to the mosquito when it bites them.

A male malaria parasite sexual stage becoming active – a process called exflagellation that happens inside the mosquito stomach. Image courtesy of Sabrina Yahiya. 

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