AO: decolonization emerged several times - “decolonize our writing” (to make them accessible to broader publics); questioning the benefits of research and how to make research more meaningful to broader publics; copyright was a big topic - how to ensure rights holder can still have benefits but the knowledge can be availed for broader public; doing justice (making data human; ensuring that “data subjects” have “dignity”).
AO: The last panel seemed to be most worried about privacy and the capitalist profit made off of individual’s data; the system forces you to consent and there are not options for opting out (e.g. biometrics, leaving ID at entrance of building). However these worries seem at tension with the need to put in place legislation to protect common spaces and promote local ownership of knowledge infrastructures. Digital humanities (second panel) seemed particularly concerned with issue of data repatriation. What is the relationship of people to their data and how do they feel when it gets taken from them and kept elsewhere (esp. material culture). Academics and academic librarians (panel 1) have been also concerned with piracy and copyright issues. Worry of others stealing ideas; plagiarizing. But perhaps because we didn’t have the tech developers in the room (but there are few tech developers working on open access solutions for researchers?), we did not have people really talking about how we might build new platforms and spaces ourselves. I think everyone gathered was interested in qual data infra - archivists; librarians - government, private, academic; researchers. The publisher seemed least interested in research data when I spoke with him previously but I wonder his thoughts now after this event...
AO: institutional program administrators are grappling with how to get people to gain more critical thinking skills despite the heavy bureaucracies they have to navigate. But few to no programs facilitating data skills amongst non-tech researchers. Not enough attention paid to data management and archiving amongst non-archivists. There is data expertise available but it has not been developed into curriculum. Heavily disciplined silos within the academy. Outside of the institutions, researchers have trouble finding research resources, mentors, etc. more broadly, not to mention on the data side of things.
AO: Lots of debate on this issue - sentiments that “Kenyan society doesn’t value research” which was pushed back against: “Academics don’t write things that society wants to read!” Reminds me of both sides of the “Kenyans don’t like reading” discussion - I’ve heard opinions on both sides. More broadly, I see the heavily commercialised, individualisation of Kenyan capitalism heavily influencing legislation and how people are describing their personal data (esp. on panel 3). There were also a few unexplicit paternalistic Development sentiments about the “ignorant” who don’t fully “get it” - esp. when we are talking about those in informal settlements, etc. there are vulnerable populations that might be prone to manipulation.
AO: some topics heavily researched but some other areas under worked on; connections not made (such as the networks and people that connected today).
AO: Much of it is through private or semi-private channels - emails; whatsapps; facebook. Often companies don’t have the capacity to explicitly develop internal org policy for example unless they are really intentional about it. It is not something that is required by anyone.
AO: practices related to: projectization; consultancies; external western funding of research.
AO: We didn’t have enough representation from the technical experts. Perhaps this reflects in some way the focus of much of the tech community in Nairobi on money making ventures or “social good” that doesn’t necessarily touch on more academic/digital humanities things. It was great to have Chao, Flora, Sylvia representing the digital humanities side. Phares Kariuki: “the technical capacity is here.” Perhaps at the level of internet and expertise. But I am not sure at the level of software innovation we have enough diversity of products and innovation happening; the IDRC uses Microsoft Sharepoint; Eider Africa uses Google suite; government officials (and most everyone) uses gmail and google suite. UoN and someone else mentioned using Dspace for their repositories - this is the most common software used. We don't seem to have enough options for the storage of qualitative data - hence people's interest and use of PECE.
AO: Data Protection Law that just passed was a big one and ties closely to GDPR. Phares Kariuki mentioned “GDPR biases towards big companies that have the capacity to comply. Even companies like Jumia are not GDPR compliant.” Copyright law needs to also be more clear. I mentioned that data cannot be copyrighted, only outputs; but messy grey when we talk about qual data very broadly to include what you might call “outputs”; fair use clause. (This is what I know based on US law, how does it work in KE?) Issue of data retention and disposal of data at odds with archiving and creation of data commons. People could use GDPR as justification for destroying incriminating data?? (not unlike the fires of the British colonial government documents on the eve of Independence).
AO: consultant researchers; students; curious people; data centers; market research companies; academic departments and administrators; NACOSTI; KEBS; KNLS; KNBS; CUE; KNA; KNM; other libraries and archives; research clubs; funders; open source software community; open data/open science community