Building awareness and capacity of bioinformatics and open science skills in Kenya: A sensitize, train, hack, collaborate model
A new study published in Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics (May 2023) discusses the application of the sensitize-train-hack-community model during Bioinformatics and Open Science Skills (BOSS) virtual events to build awareness of and capacity in bioinformatics in Kenya.
The study also highlights lessons learnt in planning and executing the events and their impact on the outcome of each phase.
Open science is the practice of science openly and collaboratively, with tools, techniques, and data freely shared to facilitate reuse and collaboration.
Open science is not a mandatory curriculum course in schools, whereas bioinformatics is relatively new in some African regions.
Open science tools can significantly enhance bioinformatics, leading to increased reproducibility.
However, open science and bioinformatics skills, especially blended, are still lacking among students and researchers in resource-constrained regions.
There is a need to be aware of the power of open science among the bioinformatics community and a clear strategy to learn bioinformatics and open science skills for use in research.
Using the OpenScienceKE framework—Sensitize, Train, Hack, Collaborate/Community—the Bioinformatics and Open Science Skills (BOSS) virtual events built awareness and empowered researchers with the skills and tools in open science and bioinformatics.
Sensitization was achieved through a symposium, training through a workshop and train-the-trainer program, hack through mini-projects, community through conferences, and continuous meet-ups.
The study evaluated the impact of the events through anonymous surveys. Sensitizing and empowering researchers with the skills was found to work best when the participants applied the skills to real-world problems (project-based learning).
Further, the study showed how to implement virtual events in resource-constrained settings by providing Internet access and equipment support to participants, thus improving accessibility and diversity.
Karega, P., Mwaura, D.K., Mwangi, K.W., Wanjiku, M., Landi, M. and Kibet, C.K. 2023. Building awareness and capacity of bioinformatics and open science skills in Kenya: A sensitize, train, hack, collaborate model. Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics 8: 1070390.