Categories
WordPress

What’s new 🆕 in WordPress in 2019?

On Saturday, September 21, 2019, the WordPress Meetup group of Cotonou held its second meeting. The topic of the day was WordPress new features in 2019.

WordPress in 2019
WordPress in 2019

I had the pleasure of hosting this meeting, and I share here the notes I took when I was preparing myself.

Privacy (GDPR) 🔒 – May 17, 2018

WordPress 4.9.6 was released in May 2018 and one of its focus was privacy.

From wordpress.org/news

To comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, some privacy features were added to Core as:

  • Possibility to opt-in or out about the saving of personals info on posts comments
  • Sample of privacy police pages
  • Possibility for site owners to export and erase users data

WordPress 5.0 “Bebo” – December 6, 2018

One of the biggest changes in WordPress Core so far. This release introduced Gutenberg, the new block editor based on JavaScript with React.js.

Gutenberg changed the editing experience and received a warm welcome (as well as some controversies) from the community.

Related

  • Twenty Nineteen: a new default theme that is based on Gutenberg blocks
  • Classic editor: a plugin to disable the new editor, and continue using TinyMCE

PHP 5.6 as the minimum version supported by WordPress – December 8, 2018

And the goal is to bump this minimum version to PHP 7+ by the beginning of next year

From wordpress.org/news

One of the major critics against WordPress was that it has been using for a long time older and sometimes not supported anymore versions of PHP.

Now, PHP 5.6 is the minimum requirement, and, while sites using lower versions of PHP will still receiving security updates, they won’t be able to upgrade to newer versions of WordPress.

WordPress Governance Project – January 7, 2019

The WordPress Governance Project was introduced by Rachel Cherry and Morten Rand-Hendriksen.

The purpose of the project is to explore:

  • The governance of the WordPress open source project and its various community components, and
  • WordPress’ role in the governance of the open web including representation in forums where decisions about the web platform and the Internet are made.

WordPress 5.1 “Betty” 🎙️ – February 21, 2019

A Little Better Every Day

From wordpress.org/news

This release focuses on polishing and improving Gutenberg’s performance. It also introduced Site Health, to help to have an overview of a site, and other information about WordPress and the server of a site.

One-third of the web 🎉 – March 15, 2019

WordPress reaches the bar of 33% of websites powered around March 2019 (according to W3Techs).

This part is still growing, and today, we’re approaching 35%.

From W3Techs

Better, the market share of WordPress among other content management systems is now > 61%

From W3Techs

WordPress 5.2 “Jaco” – May 7, 2019

From wordpress.org/news

This release was one of the most awaited of the year, as it introduced a lot of interesting features.

One of them is the Fatal Error Recovery mode.

Before 5.2, when an error occurs on a WordPress site, either because of a broken plugin or theme or because of a manipulation error on the dashboard, it leads to a “white screen of death” and one of the method to restore the site was to put the hand in server stuff.

With the new recovery mode, errors on the site will throw a screen notifying that the site is experiencing difficulties. And better, an email is sent to the site admin with a link to enter a recovery mode and fix the error.

WordPress Translation Day 4 🌍 – May 11, 2019

From wordpress.org/stats

Millions of peoples use WordPress in 200+ languages to create content, run their business, advertise, etc… WordPress Translation Day is dedicated to localizing the WordPress platform and its ecosystem and giving the voice to thousand of contributors who work to make WordPress accessible in theses languages.

WordCamp Europe 2019 – June 20-22, 2019

WordCamps are the gathering for people of WordPress to exchange, contribute, discuss to the CMS, and also to party. WCEU 2019 was the biggest WordPress in history and was the place of great and major talks about WordPress.

First Asia WordCamp will take place in Bangkok, Thailand – February 21-23, 2020

From 2020.asia.wordcamp.org

WordPress 5.2.3 Security and Maintenance Release 🛡️ – September 5, 2019

WordPress 5.2.3 fixes 6 security issues, most were related to cross-scripting (XSS).

It also updated the jQuery version used in WordPress to 3.4.0.

Expanding Gutenberg, Content-Block Areas – September, 2019

One of the major projects from 2019 focuses is to expand the block editor beyond the content area and into other parts of the site. This included, so far, explorations to bring blocks into other screens within the dashboard as well as converting existing widgets into blocks.

The next step is the content area.

From make.wordpress.org/core

New default theme Twenty Twenty – September 6, 2019

The next major WordPress update is 5.3 and is targeted for November 12, 2019. It’ll introduce a new default theme, 2020.

The theme development will be lead by Ian Belanger, a sponsored WordPress Core Contributor by Bluehost. The design of the theme is inspired by Chaplin, a WordPress theme by Anders Norén, who will lead the design.

From joost.blog

That’s all for WordPress new features in 2019 🙂.


Want to have continuous updates about WordPress new features? Follow the project blog not to miss anything.

Categories
WordPress

How to retrieve the files type of WordPress media gallery files?

Last month, while I was working on a WordPress plugin, I needed to find and return in a readable format the extensions of the images uploaded to the media gallery (png, jpeg, etc…).

At the time, I thought about using the full paths of the images with their names and then extracting the extension with native PHP functions as substr() combined with explode(). I tried to implement the solution this way, but I realized that it was not the optimal method.

So I started searching the internet for a better solution, and it really wasn’t a pleasure. Among other things, I had trouble finding the right wording for my problem. Also, the solution approaches I found while browsing the forums, although some of them worked, were not all WordPress oriented. It must be said that when developing for WordPress, I always try to use the native features of the CMS, for more comfort.

Guys who overdo it on StackOverflow

A small search in the WordPress developer reference handbook then allowed me to discover a rather useful function that perfectly met my expectations.

It is called wp_check_filetype(), and was introduced in 2006 with version 2.0.4 of WordPress. Basically, the function takes as main parameter the name or path to the file (or the image in my case) and returns its type. Quite simple.

Here is a basic description of how I used it.

I first request a query to get the URL of the images uploaded with the function wp_get_attachment_url(). This step can be done in several other ways.

/**
 * Retrieve all the medias uploaded in the media library
 * with wp_get_attachment_url()
 *
 * @since 2.1.0
 *
 * @param (int) (Optional) Attachment post ID. Defaults to global $post.
 *
 * @link https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_get_attachment_url
*/
function co_retrieve_images() {
    $query_images_args = array(
        'post_type'      => 'attachment',
        'post_mime_type' => 'image',
        'post_status'    => 'inherit',
        'posts_per_page'  => '-1',   
    );
    
    $query_images = new WP_Query( $query_images_args );
    
    foreach ( $query_images->posts as $image_info ) {
        $co_medias_url_list[] = wp_get_attachment_url( $image_info->ID );
    }
    return $co_medias_url_list;
}

I then use the table of paths to the images that I pass one by one as a parameter to the wp_check_filetype() function.

/** 
 * Retrieve the extensions of medias uploaded in the media gallery
 * using wp_check_filetype()
 *
 * @since 2.0.4
 *
 * @param (string) (Required) File name or path.
 *
 * @link https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_check_filetype
*/
 function co_images_extensions() {
    $medias_url_list = co_retrieve_images();
    $single_image_extension = '';
    $images_extension_list = [];
    
    foreach ( $medias_url_list as $single_image_url ) {
        $single_image_extension = wp_check_filetype( $single_image_url );
        $images_extension_list[] = strtoupper( $single_image_extension['ext'] );
    }
    return $images_extension_list;
}

These examples are deliberately simplified and detailed to make the code more transparent. The complete source is available here.

Voila, now we have the extensions of our images that we can use as we please. For example, I encoded mine in JSON to generate graphs with FusionCharts.

Images extensions chart WPMA

Well, bye-bye 🤗. Have fun. And see you again soon.

Featured image by Shahadat Shemul on Unsplash.

Categories
Open science

Commercial publishers and epistemic coloniality

This article was originally published in French on Hekima. Philosopher à partir de l’Afriquehttps://hekimaphilosopher.com/2019/01/18/editeurs-commerciaux-et-colonialite-epistemique-partie-1-2. This is a translation authorized by the author.

There is a need to face the terrible reality of Africa-based researchers who are constantly faced by paywalls, ruthlessly expensive access, and publication fees. While Africanists in western universities benefit from their institutional subscriptions, the rising costs of scientific journals are unsustainable even for Canadian universities, let alone for under-funded African academic institutions.

https://africasacountry.com/2018/12/the-gentrification-of-african-studies

Some time ago, a note by Haythem Guesmi entitled « The gentrification of African studies » appeared on the analysis and criticism website Africa is a country, from which the quotation in the epigraph is extracted.

The text provides a diagnosis that deserves to be read in its entirety. If my attention has focused on the accuracy of several of the conclusions drawn, I mention it here mainly to introduce this post on free access that I have been wanting to write for a long time. I am always surprised by the lack of enthusiasm of most researchers scientifically committed to the decolonization of knowledge to actively promote and adopt open access as a key issue.

Multinational knowledge companies

On the fingers of one hand, we can count the number of university publishers who, alone, share half of the scholarly publishing market. Between 1986 and 2011, not only did they increase the price of the journals they publish by a factor of four, but they also succeeded in imposing indecent conditions on university libraries as a result of the digital transition. Publishers no longer authorize the purchase of « piece-rate » magazines or at such prohibitive costs that establishment budgets prohibit them from making such choices.

Instead, they are offered subscriptions by « bouquets », each containing a set of journals of unequal quality and prestige. So that instead of acquiring, for example, three highly coveted journals, librarians are forced to acquire several dozen additional journals of relative interest in order to ensure access to the three journals, at a cost corresponding to the increase in acquisitions. It should come as no surprise, the periodicals most in demand by researchers are scattered in a wide range of packages whose prices are also increasing by 10 to 20% annually.

In 2017, the authors of UdeM published 2544 free articles in the five major commercial publishers Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Taylor & Francis and Sage. Still in 2017, UdeM libraries nevertheless had to pay $3.8 million to access the periodicals of the same five publishers…

Their business model (as lucrative as that of pharmaceuticals) is however entirely based on the unpaid production of articles produced by researchers ($), most often financed by public funds ($$), which in passing leave their copyrights to the journal ($$$), see their submission evaluated by peers solicited to carry out a voluntary review ($$$) which, in the end, are only accessible via a subscription by libraries ($$$$) ! What is virginly called the « knowledge economy » is based on a rent-geared-to-income economy (if not a cartel?) made possible by the predation of distribution channels. With such leonine practices, it is safe to say that most institutions in the South are out of the running in transnational research circuits from the very beginning, and that the work produced by their researchers is not surprisingly under-represented at the global level.

Hopes and disappointments of free access

Within this ecosystem, open access seeks to break this privilege and for-profit publishers have quickly understood it: it is indeed increasingly common for them to make outright proposals to authors to pay additional fees (which can amount to several thousand dollars, depending on the discipline) if they wish to make their work freely accessible. The formal definition of « free access » does not fit so easily into this small development: « open access » implies complete free access, whether monetary or informational (when the site requires your registration, names, institutions, contact details, etc.). In principle, therefore,Academia.edu or ResearchGate.net sites, while they certainly give visibility to the work and make it possible to network a large number of researchers (and as such, are structurally unavoidable) are not strictly speaking open access resources, even in their free version. Their analytical systems have the nasty flaw of encouraging the impoverishment of the field of possible scientific discoveries by making what the members of your network have read the boundaries of the literature review that should have been covered.

From the North, where an increasing amount of work is being produced on the decolonization of knowledge or on themes of interest to diasporas and their native communities, we have a responsibility not to lock our publications if we give emancipatory value to education and knowledge. If what will be exposed below will certainly not resolve the imbalance in the relationship of scientific reciprocity that we should aim for, unless we advocate for the « dropout » of globalized research, of the research ecosystems of the South (a defensible strategy, even if I do not share it), at least in the North we can oppose the trade-oriented options with two alternatives, called « golden » and « green » paths.

The golden path is to publish directly in an open access journal that publishes articles under either Creative Commons license. The Directory of Open Access Journal indexes thousands of quality open access scientific journals that follow a rigorous peer-review editorial process.

The green path consists in self-archiving your own publications on your personal website, blog or institutional archive (of a university, national research centre, etc.). Even with a paid journal, publishing contracts generally allow the archiving of one or other version of the text (print, pre-pub, pre-print, etc.) subject sometimes to a certain delay between publication and archiving. In some cases, it is even possible to make his text available in advance of official publication in the journal. In case of doubt about the possibilities contained in the publishing contract, you can consult different directories such as Sherpa/Romeo (English), Heloise (French), Dulcinea(Spanish) or even check with the publisher himself.

Because institutional archiving is carried out by professionals in the field of knowledge preservation, enhancement and dissemination, it is to be preferred where possible: thanks to them, 93% of institutional archives are indexed on the Google Scholar search engine, for example, which self-archiving will never achieve.

With its Horizon 2020 programme, the European Union has embarked on a binding path by requiring holders of European research funds to make their work freely available, subject to financial penalties if non-compliant with the conditions. These principles also officially apply to recipients of funds from Canadian granting agencies, but I know countless researchers who ignore this advice without any consequences.

Predatory publishers

We cannot conclude this post without mentioning the existence of another perverse phenomenon born as a result of the globalization of the university: predatory editions. Have you ever received a message from a publishing house that you have never contacted and that, wearing the respectable epithet of « academic », announces that it is looking forward to publishing your thesis? While there are certainly new inexperienced publishers who seek to build their catalog and go fishing for candidates, so-called predatory publishers are most often malicious and abuse both the naivety (or pride) of young authors, and academic pressure to publish at all costs (publish or perish). Not interested in the quality of either the manuscript or the final publication, these publishers do not follow the usual procedures of scientific evaluation**, put very little effort into revision and layout, do not fulfil their promises to distribute, require money to publish you, etc.

In such a way that a publication in this type of publishing house, instead of playing in favour of the candidate in a CV, discredits him/her in the eyes of those who know the phenomenon. In case of doubt, the tool created by Brock University can be consulted to facilitate the identification of these counterfeiters.

Notes and references

The information contained in this post are a synthesis of the knowledge acquired by attending various conferences or training sessions on the subject at the Université de Montréal. To go further, see in particular the work of Vincent Larivière, (associate professor at EBSI (UdeM) and holder of the Canada Research Chair on Transformations and Scholarly Communication) and Jean-Claude Guédon.

*Press release dated October 26, 2018 from the Bibliothèques de l’Université de Montréal.

** which can certainly be contested, but not without first proposing alternative models that guarantee a certain scientificity to science.

Featured image: Pixabay

Categories
Open science

Open Science in Africa – Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives

Justin Ahinon and Jo Havemann, both founders of AfricArXiv, talk in this article about the development of Open Science Services in Africa, initiatives, the current situation and chances in the future.

This article was originally published at elephantinthelab.org (doi:10.5281/zenodo.1492745)

Open Science is becoming increasingly popular globally and provides unprecedented opportunities for scientists in Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America. African scientists face several difficulties when attempting to get their work published in peer-reviewed journals  – there is a small number of publication platforms, a lack of knowledge and access difficulties related to existing journals (whose visibility on the web is not very good) (Piron et al., 2017). There are also obstacles related to the functioning of the journals themselves ( notably the duration of the revision process and the cost of publications)  and the result is that science and scholarly publishing are often perceived as a prerogative of the Northern countries. The methods and techniques (including the peer-review process) that are being developed for its dissemination are not necessarily adapted to the contexts of other regions of the world, including Africa. Indeed, many African-based peer-reviewed scholarly journals are unable to host their content online due to resource limitations and the digital divide (Agaba et al., 2004).

In this article, we provide an overview of the most important initiatives and actors in the Open Science movement in Africa. We further identify three major challenges for Open Science on the African continent and offer perspectives for African researchers to actively contribute to the global scientific community and share knowledge to meet the challenges we all face.

OPEN SCIENCE IN AFRICA, WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The Open Science movement first appeared in the early 1990s in the United States, then very quickly spread to other regions of the world (North and South) in the 2000s (Decung & Mukuku, 2016). But this movement has not been received in the same way in the different regions of the continent. While the Maghreb countries have embarked on policies to open up public data since 2010, the momentum has been less spontaneous among French-speaking sub-Saharan African countries (Olivier, 2015). As for the English-speaking countries, they very quickly became involved in the movement; this is reflected in theprominent position they occupy on the continent in the ranking of countries in terms of data openness.

According to a study by the African Journal Online published in September 2014, of 319 journals listed on the African continent, 197 had open access publication policies. This study also reveals that the vast majority of the journals and archives surveyed (289) had English as their main language of publication. Only 13 used French as their main language of publication.
In the last decade, the need to promote and make the content produced in Africa or on topics related to Africa on the Internet more visible, has increased. Several initiatives have emerged from this growing need, all of which aim to reverse the trend in terms of Africa’s visibility on the scientific web:

OPEN ACCESS ADVOCACY

  • The SOHA project, launched in 2015, aims to make Open Science as a collective tool an essential development tool in French-speaking Africa and Haiti by developing empowerment and cognitive justice.
  • The African Open Science Platform (AOSP) is an initiative to better understand what is happening on the African continent, and to promote the value and exploit the potential of specifically Open Data.

OPEN ACCESS PUBLISHING IN AFRICA

PREPRINT REPOSITORIES

OPEN SCIENCE HARDWARE

  • Open Science Hardware focused initiatives such as AfricaOSH promote the use of Open Educational Resources (OER), scientifically contribute to the makers’ movement, and facilitate collaboration between the different Open actors on the continent.
  • Scientists from Oxford University work with African colleagues to conduct LabHacks as engaging and educational events where multidisciplinary teams of students compete around design challenges to build low-cost laboratory equipment.
  • The TReND in Africa team works with African universities to teach research methods in Natural Sciences.

3 KEY CHALLENGES REMAIN

According to Nkolo (2016), three key challenges remain to be solved for Open Access – and consequently for full adoption of Open Science on the African continent. These are 1) Internet penetration, 2) political governance, and 3) the standardization of services and platforms.

ACCESS TO HIGH SPEED INTERNET

Internet access is one of the most recurrent hindrances for scientific research in Africa and remains very low in some regions and  internet penetration remains low across the continent (Attanasio, Giorgi). According to Internet World Stats, in 2016 there were about 453 million active Internet users in Africa. This gives a penetration rate of about 35%. In the field of education, progress in terms of Internet access varies from one country to another. For example, according to a May 2017 Internet Society report on Internet use in education in Africa, in countries such as Botswana, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and South Africa, efforts to improve connectivity have enabled key actors in the education system to have better access to the Internet.

GOVERNANCE OF OPEN SCIENCE IN AFRICA

The Open Science movement in Africa could only benefit from a better or greater involvement of educational and political decision-making bodies. According to figures from the Registry of Open Access Repository (ROAR), in 2018, the number of open access policies on the continent is evaluated at 31, the majority of which are from East African countries (17) and South Africa (9) (roarmap.eprints.org). In regions of the world where the Open Access movement has strong impact, such as India, Argentina and China, laws and policies are in place to promote Open Access and have played an important role (Hameau, 2015).

STANDARDIZATION AND INTEROPERABILITY

The establishment of standardized open directories or archives through digital libraries to increase the visibility of content produced by Africans, or on subjects related to the continent on the scientific web are needed. In addition, these will require coordination in the functioning of these different content distribution platforms. African scientists will gain a lot if the various initiatives to bring Open Access to the forefront collaborate.

WAYS FORWARD FOR OPEN SCIENCE IN AFRICA

Improving the quality of service and the Internet penetration rate on the continent will help to disseminate and share knowledge more effectively at the global level. National and pan-African policies for Open Access and collaboration between the various actors in Research and Economic Development will play a key role in the process of making science more visible within and outside Africa. This can be achieved strategically by creating an environment conducive to the implementation of Open Science practices on the one hand, and by making the above mentioned initiatives and services complementary, interoperable and thus more effective on the other hand.

REFERENCES

AAS Open Research. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Africa Internet Users, 2018 Population and Facebook Statistics. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

African Digital Research Repositories. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

African Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

African Journals Online: Open Access Titles. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

African Open Science Platform. LINK.

(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

African Scientists Can Submit Research in Local African Languages — Quartz AfricaLINK.

(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

AfricaOSH. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

AfricArXiv Preprints LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Agaba, D, Imn Kigogo-Bukenya, and Jb Nyumba (2004): Utilization of Electronic Information Resources by Academic Staff at Makerere University. University of Dar Es Salaam Library Journal 6(1).LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Bioline International Official Site LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Browse by Country – ROARMAP LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Attanasio, Giorgi. Connecting Africa – Internet: Africa Starts to Open Its Window to the World LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

D’Eggis, Gilles (2013) Les archives ouvertes pour valoriser la recherche africaine : HAL — Francophonie, Afrique et Océan Indien. Le français à l’université. Bulletin des départements de français dans le monde(18–02)LINK. (accessed: 20th November, 2018)

DICAMES Science Afrique LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Hameau, Therese: Point Sur Les Politiques En Faveur Du Libre Accès – Libre Accès à l’information Scientifique et Technique. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Projet Soha. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu (2018): A Research Platform for African Scientists Will Take Papers in Local Languages. Quartz AfricaLINK.

(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Lab Hackathon LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Next Einstein Forum – Africa’s Global Forum for Science LINK. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Nkolo, N. P. (2016): Open Access et Valorisation Des Publications Scientifiques: Les Défis de l’Afrique Francophone. Justice Cognitive, Libre Accès et Savoirs Locaux Piron F.(Ed.), Regulus S.(Ed.), Dibounje Madiba MS (Ed.). Éditions Science et Bien Commun, Québec: 91–105. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Olivier, Mathieu (2015): L’Afrique a-t-elle entamé sa révolution « open data » ? JeuneAfrique.com. LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Piron, Florence, Antonin Benoît Diouf, Marie Sophie Dibounje Madiba, et al. (2017): Le Libre Accès vu d’Afrique Francophone Subsaharienne. Revue Française Des Sciences de l’information et de La Communication(11)LINK.(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Scientific African LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Saka, Sinatou (2017): Pourquoi Les Langues Africaines Peuvent Changer La Présence Du Continent Sur Internet ? Medium. LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

South Africa – Global Open Data Index LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

TReND in Africa. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

Venth, Anja (2015): Online Knowledge Portal for Development in Africa – Scoping Study. LINK.
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

West African Journal of Radiology (2013). LINK. 
(accessed: 20th November, 2018)

AUTHOR INFO

Justin Sègbédji Ahinon is a web developer with a background in economic and financial statistics. He is strongly interested in open access issues in Africa as well as in the dissemination of knowledge and the means by which it is carried out on the continent. He is a fellow and recently a mentor of the Mozilla Open Leaders program where he worked on the place and importance of “informal” sciences in Africa. Justin is also the co-founder of AfricArxiv, an open access pre-publication directory for African scientists.

Jo Havemann is a trainer and consultant in Science Communication and Science Management with a PhD in Evolution & Developmental Biology. Her working experience covers NGOs, a science startup and international institutions including the UN Environment Programme. Since 2014, Jo offers courses and trainings with a focus on digital tools for Science through her label Access 2 Perspectives and aims at strengthening Research on the African continent through Open Science.

Ahinon, J., & Havemann, J. (2018). Open Science in Africa – Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives. Elephant in the Labhttps://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1492745

Categories
Interview

Using Open Science tools to solve agriculture issues

From April 13 to 15, 2018, the city of Kumasi in Ghana hosted Africa Open Science & Hardware, a science and open hardware summit. The Open Science Blog was represented at this summit. It was on this occasion that we met Freda Yamorti Gbande, a young Ghanaian activist actively using the tools and principles of open science in agriculture in her country.

Open Science Blog: Hi, Freda. Can you tell us about yourself, about your school carrer ?

My name is Freda Yamorti Gbande. I had my senior high school education at St. Mary Senior High School in Accra. I studied General Science and went on to the University of Ghana where I read biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. I’m currently working with a dairy farm, located along the Adenta – Dodowa stretch also in Accra.

Open Science Blog: Good. Now, can you please tell us how you discover the Africa Open Science & Hardware Summit, and why you decided to attent this event ?

I found out about the Open Science and Hardware Summit through the internet. I was Googling opportunities that would help me in my career; and then I saw this and decided to apply. I thought it was a great opportunity for my career advancement as a recent graduate. I felt that being amidst individuals of different levels of expertise from diverse cultures was a good way to learn as well. So I felt that coming into a gathering where people from across the globe, people who are aware in these areas of science I’m working in, people who have started their own project, people who are helping mentor people, will be benefit for me. It will be a great opportunity to come here and learn and also to share what’s my ideas were.

Open Science Blog: During the AfricaOSH summit, you presented a project you’re working on in the agricultural field in Accra. What is this project, and how is it going on ?

So at the moment I’m kindly working with a dairy farm, located on Dodowa stretch and some of the challenges that we face are due to lack of funding and then lack of modern technologies. Challenges in the field of agriculture can be reduced if conventional methods would be improved. Modern technologies can be replicated and tailored to solve our problems; research conducted and documented can be use to improve processes that are employed. I believe the challenges confronting the agriculture sector, industries and the environment in our parts of the world can be managed through collaborations and bold thinking.

Open Science Blog: What are your words for young Ghanaian and African youth in general; about the challenges they should meet for the development of your country and of the continent ?

I encourage young Africans, I encourage young Ghanaians to look into agriculture. The kind of effort, the kind of time and resources that we put into drug discovery, we can also put them into other aspects of research in agricultural field. So that, we won’t waste the food products we get for our farm. Finally all this will come together to make agriculture a better one and also to give employment local farmers, give employment to other people. And also to develop the country, develop the economy; so that we can also be powerful as other continents across the globe.

Open Science Blog: Thanks very much Freda.

Categories
Open science

Les outils de travail collaboratif

Le travail collaboratif : les origines

Travailler ensemble est devenu une nécessité aujourd’hui pour les étudiants, les chercheurs, et les professionnels de différents domaines. Il existe plusieurs moyens pour faire cela, dont le travail collaboratif.
L’expression “Travail collaboratif” fait son apparition en 2002 avec Yochai Benkler, dans son essai intitulé “Coase’s Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm“, où il parle de l’émergence d’un nouveau mode de production et de travail. « In this paper I explain why we are beginning to see the emergence of a new, third mode of production, in the digitally networked environment, a mode I call commons-based peer production. » (Yochai Benkler, Coase’s Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm, 2002: 1).

Yochai Benkler

Le travail collaboratif ou “teamwork” est une autre forme de travail où des personnes collaborent grâce aux technologies de l’information et de la communication. Ce mode de travail n’est plus fondé sur l’organisation hiérarchisée traditionnelle; et fait le plus souvent appel à des technologies et outils informatiques.
Dans cet article, il sera présenté quelques outils de travail collaboratif. Il fait suite à l’article Ressources numériques libres portant sur les ressources de travail pour les étudiants et les chercheurs en libre accès ou gratuits.

Les outils de travail collaboratif

Le “teamwork” a pris une autre ampleur avec l’utilisation des outils modernes de travail collaboratif, dont les premiers font leur apparition dans les années 1970 avec le Bulletin board system (BBS), un serveur équipé d’un logiciel permettant les échanges de message et le stockage de fichiers. Ces outils sont très diversifiés (gratuits, payants, spécialisés, etc) et sont aujourd’hui très utilisés.
On peut regrouper ces outils en deux grandes catégories : les outils de gestion de documents et les plateformes collaboratives.
Les outils de gestions de documents permettent de créer divers types de contenu numérique, de les partager et de collaborer à leur amélioration. Quant aux plateformes collaboratives, ce sont des espaces de travail virtuels. Ils regroupent en un seul lieu (le plus souvent un site internet ou une application) les outils liés à la gestion des projets.

Les outils de gestion de documents

Google met à la disposition de ses utilisateurs une suite d’outils de travail collaboratifs accessibles gratuitement.
Google Drive est le service de stockage de fichiers de Google. Il stocke tout le contenu réalisé sur les autres outils de la suite Google. On peut également y stocker des dossiers et autres types de fichiers. Le service permet de partager des documents avec des personnes en ajoutant leur adresse mail. On peut également collaborer sur la gestion de contenu en créant un espace de partage.

En plus du stockage sur le cloud et de la gestion collaborative de documents, Google dispose d’une suite bureautique qui permet de créer, de modifier des documents en ligne et de travailler en équipe en temps réel.
Google Docs est un logiciel de traitement de texte, Google Sheets un tableur (semblable à MS Excel), Google Slides un logiciel de présentations et Google Forms un outil pour réaliser des formulaires/questionnaires.

Toutefois, d’autres structures ou entreprises autres que Google offrent des outils de gestion de document.
C’est le cas de Dropbox qui est également un outil de sauvegarde et de gestion de documents comme Drive. Il est fourni par l’entreprise Dropbox Inc. Il propose les options de sauvegarde et de modification de documents.

Les plateformes collaboratives

L’une des plateformes collaboratives les plus populaires est Wikipédia. Il s’agit d’une encyclopédie libre qui propose du contenu dans un très grand nombre de domaines ; des sciences aux arts en passant par l’informatique ou la musique. Cette plateforme dispose également d’une base de ressources médias, nommée, Wikimédia Commons  ainsi que d’autres projets-frères. Totalement libre, cette plateforme offre aux utilisateurs la possibilité de créer de nouveaux sujets, mais aussi de donner leur avis et de modifier des sujets existants.

Trello est également une plateforme collaborative qui permet la gestion de projet en ligne. Lancée en Septembre 2015, la plateforme est basée sur une organisation des projets en planches, contenant des cartes qui représentent les tâches à exécuter. Les différents contributeurs d’un projet se voient assigner des tâches, dont les exécutions peuvent être suivies en temps réel. Tout comme Wikipédia, la plateforme possède une application disponible sur mobile.

L’un des espaces de travail collaboratif le plus en vogue ces dernières années est Slack (Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge). Cette plateforme est qualifiée de Saas (acronyme de Software as a Service) et a été créée en Août 2013. Elle propose à ses utilisateurs des espaces de discussion organisés en canaux. Elle intègre à la fois les conversations mais aussi des services externes comme GitHub, Google Drive ou Dropbox. La plateforme dispose également d’une application mobile et d’un logiciel desktop.

Nous terminons cette liste de plateformes collaboratives par GitHub. Il s’agit d’un site web proposant l’hébergement de logiciels, de codes et de projets informatiques. Le site offre également la possibilité de contribuer à des projets existants, en suggérant des modifications (pull request) ou en copiant le répertoire du projet pour y effectuer directement les modifications (fork). Pour finir, GitHub permet aux utilisateurs de se suivre entre eux, de constituer des flux comme sur les réseaux sociaux, mais aussi de créer un wiki et une page web pour chacun des contenus hébergés.

Les outils de travail collaboratif sont devenus un moyen de plus en plus prisé pour faciliter le travail en équipe. Des solutions libres et gratuites comme Wikipédia à celle payantes ou mi payantes comme la suite Google, ces outils permettent d’optimiser le travail d’équipe.

Categories
Open science

Ressources et outils numériques en libre accès

La science ouverte, une science de libre accès

Le mouvement de « l’Open » ne cesse de prendre de l’ampleur de jour en jour. En témoigne le grand nombre de ressources et outils numériques qui font leur apparition et qui sont accessibles en libre accès et gratuitement par les internautes. Il devient donc nécessaire de pouvoir se repérer à travers ce nombre sans cesse grandissant d’outils et de services.

C’est pour permettre à la communauté de chercheurs et d’apprenants de disposer d’une documentation sur les outils et ressources numériques indispensables pour la recherche et l’éducation que le présent article a été publié. Il est le premier d’une série de plusieurs articles qui aborderont chacun un type de ressource ou outil numérique de travail.

Le problème

Mémoires de fin de formation, thèses, articles scientifiques, travaux de recherches ; voilà autant de tâches que les étudiants et chercheurs mènent le plus souvent dans un but professionnel ou académique. Certains utilisent différents types d’outils pour faciliter, ou du moins pour optimiser l’exécution de ces tâches. D’autres encore font recours à des travaux existants, des bases de données disponibles afin de réaliser leur travail.

Toutefois, il y a un grand nombre d’apprenants ou de chercheurs qui n’utilisent pas ou n’ont pas connaissance de ces outils et ressources numériques. Pour d’autres encore, les outils et ressources connus sont le plus souvent payants ou en accès limité.

Le mouvement de la science ouverte apporte une solution à ces difficultés. En effet, le nombre de sites de documentation scientifique, de logiciels libres, de répertoires ou de revues en accès libre, d’archives ouvertes, de plateforme de blogs ou de dépôts institutionnels universitaires ne cesse de s’accroître sur le web scientifique.

Différents types de ressources et outils numériques pour l’éducation et la recherche

Il existe une multitude d’outils, de logiciels et de ressources numériques utilisés dans le cadre de la recherche scientifique et de l’éducation On peut les regrouper en plusieurs grandes catégories :

  • Les bases de données scientifiques et les revues scientifiques en libre accès
  • Les outils de travail collaboratif
  • Les logiciels libres

Les bases de données scientifiques et les revues scientifiques en libre accès

Dans cette catégorie, on retrouve les bases de données en lignes regroupant des milliers, voire des millions d’articles, de documents, de publications scientifiques. Les bases de données en libre accès représentent un moyen efficace permettant l’accès libre à la connaissance scientifique. Elles visent en général la diffusion libre, gratuite et accessible à tous des données quelles que soient leurs origines. Ces bases de données étant pour la plupart ouvertes.

On en retrouve dans toutes (ou presque toutes) les disciplines scientifiques existantes à ce jour ; que ce soit en sciences sociales, en ingénierie, en statistique ou en santé. Quelques-unes de ces bases de données vous seront présentées dans cet article.

Quant aux revues scientifiques en libre accès, elles regroupent plus spécifiquement les travaux de recherche et publications des chercheurs mis en ligne dans le but de les vulgariser. Il existe actuellement plus de 10 000 revues scientifiques en libre accès ; disponibles sur différentes plateformes et proposant pour la plupart un moteur de recherche permettant de retrouver un contenu scientifique spécifique.

  • BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine)


BASE est un puissant moteur de recherche qui donne accès à une impressionnante documentation scientifique en libre accès. Il a été développé en Allemagne dans le cadre du projet Open Archives Initiative par l’Université de Bielefeld. Cette base de donnée en ligne se distingue par sa pluridisciplinarité qui fait qu’elle propose des documents dans plusieurs domaines scientifiques.
Elle permet à l’utilisateur de faire une recherche simple ou avancée. Les documents peuvent être recherchés à l’aide d’un titre, du nom de l’auteur, de l’année, de la période de publication ou encore d’une URL. On peut également rechercher des documents sous licence libre (Creative Commons ou Public Domain par exemple). Pour finir, un historique de recherche est disponible pour reprendre une ancienne recherche.

 
Site internet: Base-Search

  • Les données ouvertes de la Banque Mondiale

“Les données ouvertes de la Banque Mondiale” est une base de données gratuite et en libre accès de la Banque Mondiale. Elle regroupe un grand nombre de bases de données, de statistiques sur le développement dans le monde. Maintenues et régulièrement mises à jour par le Groupe de gestion des données sur le développement de la Banque Mondiale, ces données peuvent être redistribuées, partagées et modifiées à souhait.

Site internet:Les données ouvertes de la Banque Mondiale

  • Archipel

Nous terminons cette partie en présentant le dépôt institutionnel Archipel. Un dépôt institutionnel est un environnement de diffusion qui permet aux professeurs et chercheurs d’une université de rendre facilement et rapidement disponibles sur Internet leurs prépublications, publications, communications et autres types de documents.
Archipel a été mis en place en 2003 par Stevan Harnad, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en sciences cognitives et spécialiste du mouvement pour l’accès libre. Le dépôt utilise le logiciel en code source libre EPrints; et permet aux professeurs et chercheurs de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) de déposer leurs publications. Il regroupe maintenant des centaines de travaux de recherches, de thèses, de mémoires en libres accès.

 
Site internet: Archipel

Les revues scientifiques en libre accès

  • Afriques

Afriques est une revue internationale d’histoire des mondes africains en libre accès, qui privilégie les époques antérieures au XXe siècle, en dialogue avec d’autres disciplines comme l’archéologie, la philologie, l’anthropologie, l’histoire de l’art ou la linguistique.
Éditée par l’Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAF), cette revue électronique propose une publication du texte intégral en libre accès. La version PDF de la publication peut être téléchargée si l’on est membre d’une des universités partenaires de la revue. Elle regroupe des articles écrits par des jeunes chercheurs et des spécialistes confirmés.

Site internet: Afriques

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Le DOAJ est un répertoire de publications et d’articles scientifiques en libre accès. Les champs d’études couverts sont multiples et diversifiés : technologie, sciences sociales, économie, droit, géographie, santé, etc… Les recherches d’articles ou de publications peuvent être effectuées en ajoutant des filtres de discipline, de licence, de langue, etc…
Lancé en 2003 à l’Université de Lund en Suède, le DOAJ accueille aujourd’hui une riche documentation en libre accès.

Site internet: Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

  • Vertigo

Nous terminons cette présentation avec Vertigo. Vertigo est une revue en libre accès offrant une approche interdisciplinaire des sciences de l’environnement. Créée en 2003, la revue publie régulièrement des publications et des articles sur les grands problèmes environnementaux contemporains de nos sociétés. Le texte intégral des articles est disponible sur le site. La version PDF des articles peut être téléchargées par les membres des universités partenaires de la revue.
Site internet : Vertigo

Les bases de données et revues présentées dans cet article ne sont pas les seules existantes !! Retrouvez une liste de revue en libre accès à l’adresse suivante : Liste de revues en accès libre.

Autres dépôts institutionnels libres que vous pouvez consulter :