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‘$100 Is Not Much To You’: Open Science and neglected accessibilities for scientific research in Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Bezuidenhout Louise, Ann H. Kelly, Sabina Leonelli, Brian Rappert

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages10
JournalCritical Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date17 Nov 2016
Accepted/In press20 Oct 2016
E-pub ahead of print17 Nov 2016


King's Authors


The Open Science (OS) movement promises nothing less than a revolution
in the availability of scientific knowledge around the globe. By removing
barriers to online data and encouraging publication in Open Access formats
and Open Data archives, OS seeks to expand the role, reach and value of
research. The promises of OS imply a set of expectations about what different
publics hope to gain from research, how accountability and participation can
be enhanced, and what makes science public in the first place. This paper
presents empirical material from fieldwork undertaken in (bio)chemistry
laboratories in Kenya and South Africa to examine the extent to which these
ideals can be realized in a sub-Saharan context. To analyse the challenges
African researchers face in making use of freely available data, we draw
from Amartya Sen’s Capabilities Approach. His theorisations of ‘conversion
factors’ helps to understand how seemingly minor economic and social
contingencies can hamper the production and (re-)use of online data. In
contrast to initiatives that seek to make more data available, we suggest the
need to facilitate a more egalitarian engagement with online data resources.

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