[SE13-CCT] Open science: an opportunity for the global south?

DAY 1 – Wednesday 27 June – 3:30pm-5:00pm

Swiss Tech | Room 2A | Level Garden

Session Leaders

Luc Henry

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland


Luc Henry is a scientific advisor to the President of EPFL. In this position, he is evaluating the possible practical implementation of open science initiatives on EPFL campus, as well as their implications for institutional organisation, culture and policy. Luc Henry holds a DPhil in chemical biology from the University of Oxford, UK. While spending the past ten years as a researcher, journalist and policy advisor, he has experimented with open science in various ways. He is particularly interested in the variety of initiatives aiming to promote an open and citizen approach to science and innovation. He is the co-founder of Hackuarium, a community biology laboratory in Renens, Switzerland.

Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou,

APSOHA (Association for the Promotion of Open Science in Haiti & Africa), Cameroon


Thomas Herve Mboa Nkoudou is a PhD student in public communication at Laval University. His thesis focuses on the conditions of existence and functioning of digital third places – such as hackerspaces, makerspaces and fablabs – in sub-Saharan Africa.  Thomas is an active members of communities promoting the open dissemination of knowledge – such as GOSH (Gathering for Open Science Hardware) and Open and Collaborative Science for Development Network (OCSDnet). He is a researcher on a number of projects in the Global South, including Projet SOHA (OpenScience in Haiti and Africa). He is working on a critical understanding of Open Science in Global South, from the perspective of cognitive justice and sustainable local development.


Open science could be considered a two way process. How can we put mechanisms in place to allow scientific discoveries to travel from high-income countries to low-income countries, but also vice-versa, in an open and fair way? What can be learned from technologies developed in the Global South, that could often be relevant to other places? What are promising initiatives enabling access to global knowledge through open science? What are the main obstacles? How do language barriers hinder the benefits of open science?

Panelists and Abstracts


The Global Open Science Hardware Roadmap: A Collaborative Effort towards Democratising Science Hardware

Julieta Arancio1, Jenny Molloy2

1 Centro de Investigaciones para la Transformación-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2 University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


Presenting author’s email address: jarancio@fund-cenit.org.ar


Biography of Presenting Authors: Julieta Arancio is a phD candidate at Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina. She studies the Open Hardware movement in Latin America and its contribution to democratisation of Science & Technology. Her work is supported by a scholarship from the Argentinean Science and Technology Research Council and is developed at CENIT, a research center on innovation studies. With a background in Environmental Sciences, she is also part of R’lyeh -a hacklab in Buenos Aires- where she works in citizen science projects.



The ability to use, study, replicate, and improve scientific instrumentation is a central part of experimental science, and plays a crucial role in education, research and action that are all critical to achieving scientific and development goals. However, these activities are currently restricted by proprietary instrumentation, which is difficult and expensive to obtain and maintain, since it cannot be fully inspected, evaluated, or customized. This situation is fundamentally detrimental to the production of knowledge in the global South and the potential for diverse actors to create equitable and sustainable solutions to local and international problems. Open Science Hardware (OScH) is one solution to promoting global access to hardware for science by freely sharing designs and protocols for instrumentation. The Global Open Science Hardware Roadmap is a collaborative community initiative involving 100 contributors from 30 countries that describes what is required for OScH to become ubiquitous by 2025.


Is Open Science an Opportunity for Pedagogical Innovation in the Global South? Some Observations from  K_Space, a Space Education Camp for South and Southeast Asia

Sakar Pudasaini1, Sabhyata Timsina2, Hasin Shakya3

1 Karkhana Analysis and Research Team (KART), Kathmandu, Nepal

2 Karkhana Analysis and Research Team (KART), Kathmandu, Nepal

3 Karkhana Innovators Club, Kathmandu, Nepal


Presenting author’s email address: sakar@karkhana.asia


Biography of Presenting Author: Sakar is an educator and technologist. He is the founder of Karkhana, a makerspace and education company, based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The technologist in him sees that the world he lives in is malleable, both in the material and cultural senses, and thus is responsive to those who can figure out the tools to mold it with. And as a teacher he tries to create the conditions which will lead his students to that same insight.



Access to education is showing dramatic improvements around the world, nonetheless the quality of learning is still a question mark. The solutions to the learning quality gap are often conceptualized by governments and international agencies as problems of policy. In this paper we propose these are equally if not more problems with pedagogy. In sharing two cases from K_Space, an open science space education camp hosted in Kathmandu by Karkhana, we offer the possibility that open science practices, communities and gathering as a possible means to pedagogical innovation for the Global South. 


Open Science in the Global South: Between Collective Empowerment and Neocolonialism

Florence Piron

Université Laval, Québec, Canada


Presenting author’s email address: Florence.Piron@com.ulaval.ca

Biography of Presenting Author: An anthropologist and ethicist, Florence Piron is a full professor in the Department of Information and Communication at Université Laval where she teaches courses on ethics and democracy. She is the founding President of the Association for Science and Common Good and its open access publishing house. She is interested in the links between science, society and culture, both as a researcher and advocate for a science that is more open, inclusive, socially responsible and focused on the common good. She’s doing research on open science and universities in Africa and Haiti.


There is a big difference between openness and accessibility. A door may be open, but if a person does not have the ability to walk or find the path that leads to it, if many obstacles prevent them from moving forward, they will not be able to cross it. In the Global South, particularly in Haiti and French-speaking SubSaharan Africa where I have been doing research, the move towards open science, whether free hardware and software, open access to scientific publications, or citizen and participatory science, faces the same paradox. I will show that if open science leaders neglect to understand the cognitive injustices, whether material or epistemological, that hinder access to open science in the Global South, they will enact a new sort of colonialism. Conversely, if they integrate a sociological and political analysis within their practice of open science, it may become a tool of collective empowerment and fairness.


Transforming Community Knowledge into Open Science: The Case of IT Skills Training in Post-Conflict Development

Jaiksana Amarūda José1, Stephen Kovats2

1 O-Space Innovation Hub, Yei, South Sudan

2 r0g_Agency for Open Culture, Berlin, Germany

Presenting author’s email address: jambujackson@gmail.com

Biography of Presenting Author: Jaiksana, the founder of the O-Space Innovation Hub in Yei, South Sudan, was forced to move to the Rhino Camp refugee settlement, Uganda due to armed conflicts in 2016. Participating in a series of Open Tech workshops he helped develop both the ‘Open Learning Guide’ and ‘Open Hardware Guide’ to accompany #ASKotec – a hands-on open hardware oriented resource and repair kit for community trainers, created for mobile field-use where there is limited access to power and internet connectivity.


How can proven open tech and open hardware solutions be applied to requirements of research settings in the Global South? We present the two resource documents ‘Open Learning Guide’ and ‘Open Hardware Guide’ that accompany the trainer’s kit #ASKotec developed for environments with limited resources and to build capacities of local communities through trainings in tech and ICT. The two guides together with the #ASKotec kit are currently being tested in numerous locations with different groups of users in South Sudan and Uganda respectively. Preliminary outcomes suggest easy adaptability by the local communities. Therefore we suggest and would like to discuss that a similar composition of guide and resource kit could also be developed for research environments in universities and research institutions with highly limited resources.


Is Open Science Enough?
Paz Bernaldo1, Alexis Johnson2, Gustavo Pereyra Irujo3
1 Exploratorio Sombrero, Chile
2 Pineapple Laboratories, Germany
3 INTA-CONICET, Argentina
Presenting author’s email address: contact.alexis.johnson@gmail.com
Biography of Presenting Author: Alexis C Johnson is the founder of Pineapple Laboratories. Artist and entrepreneur trained in Materials Engineering and Molecular Bioengineering (MSc, PhD). Practice involves open hardware and open software to address issues on transgender rights, futurism, education and ecosystems. Born in Venezuela, identify as transgender woman. Alumni from Heidelberg University. Based in Cologne, Germany. Preferred pronouns she.
Is open science an opportunity for the Global South? This paper argues that besides openness, the values of equity, diversity, respect for knowledge, and democratization should become equally visible in order for open science to become a global opportunity for both the South and the North to truly engage in an equal partnership. A global purposeful debate is needed to embed a wider set of values and principles into open scientific actions, programs, collaborations, and therefore its expected outcomes.