BOSC 2019 Keynote Talk:
Building infrastructure for responsible open science in Africa

Nicola Mulder

Due to a history of exploitation and inequitable scientific partnerships, many African researchers are reluctant to fully embrace open science practices. Recent investment in genomics research on the continent and associated capacity development initiatives have enabled the development of research infrastructures and data related skills. This is helping to narrow the gap in expertise and access to data analysis capacity and facilitate more equitable engagement in international collaboration or more importantly, more independent research. H3ABioNet is a Pan African bioinformatics network that has been instrumental in building capacity for genomics data analysis on the continent. The network has an ethos of openness and is promoting open science practices among its members. This is exercised through many different activities, including open source software and workflow development, open science training, and efforts to make our data, tools and training materials FAIR. Though the genomic data we work with is controlled access, H3ABioNet is working to ensure the data are findable, harmonized and interoperable to increase the value for both data providers and users who are granted access for responsible secondary use. In this talk I will describe some of our activities in data, tool and training material curation, standardization and dissemination. Our approach considers past inequities and tries to promote responsible openness that ensures protection of privacy and recognition of scientific contributions.

Prof. Nicola Mulder heads the Computational Biology Division at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa and leads H3ABioNet, a Pan-African Bioinformatics Network of 28 institutions in 16 African countries. H3ABioNet is developing bioinformatics capacity to enable genomic data analysis on the continent. Prior to her position at UCT, she worked at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, as a Team Leader for bioinformatics resources. At UCT her research focuses on genetic determinants of susceptibility to disease, African genome variation, microbiomes, genomics and infectious diseases from the host and pathogen perspectives. Prof Mulder is actively involved in training and education, including bioinformatics curriculum development. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB), where she co-chairs the Nominations and Education Committees.