ITOCA (Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa) has partnered with ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier) to support researchers and institutions in Africa as they continue to produce and disseminate research and innovations aimed at improving livelihoods on the continent and beyond. ORCID is a not-for-profit organization that enables transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions, and affiliations by providing a unique, persistent identifier for individuals to use with their name as they engage in research, scholarship, and innovation activities throughout their careers.
ORCID is part of a wider landscape of persistent identifiers (PIDs) that serve to improve accuracy in research workflows and communication, such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for works and International Standard Name Identifiers (ISNIs) for institution names. The focus is mainly on connecting researchers and authors across different disciplines, and make sure their publications are centralised and accurately attributed.
ITOCA has worked with many universities and research institutions across Sub Sahara Africa with most projects focusing on improving research and education and building capacity to be able to use the latest scientific tools and instruments. ITOCA has also collaborated with various international organisations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), CTA of Netherlands, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University’s Mann Library, the Rockefeller Foundation, Scottish Government and, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in an effort to enhance scholarship in Africa.
For instance, ITOCA has, for many years, partnered with the DAAD, one of the largest funding organisations in the world supporting the international exchange of students and scholars to provide training on the use and access of e-resources. From 2015 ITOCA ran the following workshops within Africa:
For the current year, ITOCA is running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and virtually workshops for approximately 350 DAAD scholarship holders in 15 African countries. The aim of the course is to teach scholarship holders how to effectively access available electronic library resources (e-resources) and use them to improve the quality of research and university education. The training focuses on the research process including how to write scientific papers as well as the publishing aspect of research. In some instances, ITOCA supports research and development programmes that are already implemented in most leading universities and research centres.
ORCID’s services and tools compliment these efforts by opening up and providing new possibilities for researchers to engage beyond publishing and independent of time and space. The persistent iDs are a great way of ensuring that they are never locked out of their history and research activities. ORCID identifiers can be integrated in universities, research institutions, publishers and funders workflows Through ORCID, researchers can control and update their records including linking their ORCID iD to other identifiers, their institutional affiliations and research publications. Researchers control the privacy settings of their records and determine what should be visible to 1) everyone, 2) trusted organizations or, 3) kept private. This is in line with ITOCA’ s mission to build capacity amongst the research and education communities in the latest information tools and advocate for the adoption of new technologies that drive development in Africa. Researchers in Africa can benefit greatly from ORCID’s services and this will ensure that their work is easily tracked and accessible.
This collaboration aims to raise awareness, foster strategic partnerships, and increase adoption across the Sub-Saharan region. Currently, the ORCID community has 1151 members (40+ countries) 23 consortia (including the South African consortium led by TENET ), more than 800 integrations in all research sectors, nearly 10 million iDs connected to 7M+ affiliations,52 M+ contributions (works) and 20 M+with DOIs).
For further information about ORCID in Africa visit: https://orcid.org/blog/2020/10/09/orcid-outreach-middle-east-and-africa