A Big Win for East Africa with the Inclusion of Open Science in the East African Community EAC Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STI)

Africa  is set to unlock its full potential on scientific research and driven sustainable development across East Africa ,with the inclusion of Open Science principles and guidelines in the new policy framework  launched earlier in March.

The achievement was as a result of the partnership between the Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa), Public Library of Science (PLOS), and the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO).

“We are enthusiastic about participating in this process and we take pride in the fact that East Africa, particularly the East African Community, is establishing a precedent in Africa by incorporating Open Science into its regional STI Policy. This will serve as a basis for understanding and applying this regional policy to meet the specific needs of the East African countries and we are eager to collaborate with them in order to help them achieve their national goals in Open Science,” stated Ms. Joy Owango, Executive Director of the Training Centre in Communication on April 29, 2024 in ARUSHA, Tanzania.

The Open Science principles promotes the free and open dissemination of research outputs, data, and scientific information, facilitating collaboration, reproducibility, and societal engagement in the research process. Its inclusion in the policy aims to unleash new opportunities for innovation, economic growth, and sustainable development by breaking down barriers to accessing and building upon scientific knowledge.

“Open Science has the potential to make the scientific process more transparent, inclusive and equitable. Our collaboration with TCC Africa and EASTECO has focused on facilitating and supporting both regional and national high-level Open Science policy dialogues with key higher-education stakeholders. These discussions have added to our understanding of the barriers to participation and will enable us to work towards solutions that address them. We look forward to evolving our learning with the remaining EAC countries,” remarked Roheena Anand, Executive Director of Global Publishing Development at PLOS.

The collaboration began in 2022,with a series of national dialogue ,the first being  the inaugural national Open Science dialogue that took place in Tanzania in February 2023, followed by another session in Kenya in September 2023.And with the policy groundwork in place, the partnership is now focused on expanding its reach to the remaining EAC nations. Plans are underway to hold similar national dialogues in in the Partner States, in an effort to identify each nation’s specific needs and barriers to adopting Open Science practices.

“It is a dream come true for the East African region, considering the efforts being made to increase the capacity of the region to disseminate research findings and to access scientific production from other parts of the world. Through this initiative, we look forward to enhanced visibility and to leverage on the numerous benefits of open science to support widening and deepening of the integration agenda,” said Dr. Sylvance Okoth, Executive Secretary of EASTECO.


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