7. Why Wikipedia and Open Access? The Valorization of African Studies in the 21th Century

E-mail of the panel organiser: jdamen@ascleiden.nl

The societal relevance of scientific and scholarly research has become a crucial aspect in evaluation processes of grant proposals and institutions. How can African Studies make its knowledge suitable and available for economic or societal utilization? How to translate African Studies research into high-potential products, services and processes? What is the role of the library in this process? Can Open Access play a role in making research visible? And how can Wikipedia (or WikiSource) become a useful tool in the valorization of research?

This panel holds papers that discuss general questions on how to assess and describe the societal or economic value of African Studies research and concrete examples of the valorization of African Studies.

Concrete examples: open access publications, Wikipedia, workshops/lectures, policy advice, policy reports, country portals


1. Why Wikipedia and Open Access? The Valorization of African Studies in the 21th Century

Author: Jos Damen (Africa Studies Center, The Netherlands)


In this introductory paper I will give   an outlook of valorization of research in general and of the different ways that knowledge   can be   made   suitable for economic and societal utilization. The paper then brings up some peculiarities and special circumstances in African Studies with regard to valorization. Several examples of valorization of research in general and of African Studies in particular will be given, and the roles of the different actors involved will be discussed.

Special attention will be given to Open Access, to the position of African Studies with regard to Open Access and to the different models of Open Access (green/gold etc) that are currently adopted by several European governments, publishers and science foundations.

2. MARIBIA– project; Improving Maritime Education in Namibia on the level that can be approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Authors: Meri-Maija Marva and Heikki Koivisto (Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland)


Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) is one of the major higher education institutions in Finland having a reputation in maritime studies. SAMK has significant experience in national and international projects.

Maritime training in Rauma is reaching the 135-year milestone at 2015. More than 4500 students have completed their Master's or Officer's studies over these years. Today, in addition to the nautical studies, marine engineering students have their own program qualifying them as engineering officers on board. SAMK works with other national and international nautical centers as well as with associated awarding professional and licensing bodies.

Co-operation with Namibia started at 2012 during the shipbuilding process of R/V MIRABILIS, research vessel procured by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources of Namibia. After the training of the new officers and the crew of this new building ship, a new project idea titled ‘MARIBIA’ was discovered. Namibia, as an independent country, is not whitelisted and so far unauthorized to train personnel for growing international fleet of ships.

The Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute (NAMFI) and the Polytechnic of Namibia have a cooperation agreement with SAMK to collaborate on the joint promotion of education and development. Enhancement of Maritime education based curricula, programs, educational and administrative processes as well as in building capacity of educational and administrative staff through sustainable structures and training initiatives, will be presented at the Polytechnic and NAMFI with the view of promoting the creation and preservation of sustainable career opportunities in the maritime field.

Learning methods used in the project are; Professional visits, Benchmarking, Process writing, Roundtable discussions, Documentation, Skype, Online meetings with HILL Netconference and eLearning environment MOODLE.
MARIBIA project will be running until the end of 2015.

3. Wikipedia and Open Access: The Valorization of Research at the African Studies Centre in Leiden

Author: Ursula Oberst (African Studies Center, The Netherlands)


This paper sketches the many ways in which the ASC in Leiden is making its knowledge accessible and relevant for societal utilization. It presents the products and services developed for the valorization of ASC research, considers the way they are set up and maintained and critically reviews their successes and failures. Among the products and services discussed are two ASC series intended for the general public, occasional Storify live blogs, Wikipedia articles, regular columns in a Dutch development magazine and the ASC's open access publications.

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