ASKIA - Scientific knowledge from Africa, on Africa, to Africa and the World

ASKIA Initiative: The Access to Scientific and Socio-economic Information in Africa (ASKIA) Initiative is under the Public Information & Knowledge Managment Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It defines a framework for bringing together scientific and socio-economic information for the African community, including scientists, researchers, academics, students, economists and, policy-makers, over an interactive online portal acting as a one-stop shop to such knowledge and associated information.

The ASKIA initiative is an activity that responds to the United Nations sub-programme on “Harnessing Information for Development” the pillar on which the ICT science and Technology Division is anchored. The ASKIA portal will promote availability and access to local content from the African Continent thus contributes to bridging the digital divide.

Availability and accessibility of content from the African continent will increase the visibility of research and literally content from Africa thus contributing to diminishing the knowledge divide between Africa and the rest of the world. Empowering African research and public institutions to capture, document and disseminate knowledge will highlight scientific output of African organizations, enhance Africa’s scientific reputation, improve research collaboration opportunities with outside organizations, and support of fund-raising campaigns.

The importance of the initiative is to widen a one-stop shop to assemble scientific and socio-economic knowledge as well as associated information including geospatial data, news and events through a single search and in one view to enable ease of discovery and access, the initiative further seeks to reinforce institutional capacities to capture, supervise and circulate local content.

The federated search application is one of the new innovative ways of providing knowledge to users in a digital environment. The application will enable searching and collating of scientific and socio-economic content on Africa, from different knowledge bases including Open Access literature, scientific and socio-economic commercial databases, online journals and other resources. The federated search will provide a one stop access to knowledge of different types ranging from bibliographic data, statistical data, events and news, etc

Evidently, there is also a need to disseminate the wealth of knowledge that has been produced by the ECA since 1958. These information resources include conferences papers, research reports, strategy documents, speeches, technical papers, policy reports, geo-spatial data as well as parliamentary (conference of ministers) report.

Moreover, recognizing the plight of many African institutions, the ASKIA initiative will promote and engage in capacity building actions in the area of information development and dissemination for African public and higher learning institutions. Empowering these institutions’ Libraries’ to capture locally created knowledge in a digital environment will facilitate visibility to their knowledge as well as be part of the resources made available through the federated search application and thus realize the overall goal of The African Virtual Library and Information Network.

Goals and Objectives of ASKIA

  1. Developing an On-line portal
  2. Developing federated Search and discovery application;
  3. Disseminating ECA publications through the UN depository Libraries;
  4. Developing a repository on geospatial and cartographic information of Africa;
  5. Establishing a knowledge hub and information services on scientific and socio-economic knowledge;
  6. Capacity building activities

ASKIA’s external partners are Companies who provide customized, integrated solutions for the discovery, access and management of e-resources; Member states institutions including; universities, Research institutions, NGOs etc. and Donors, Development Partners, Open Access Publishers etc.

ASKIA’s Internal Partners consists of ICT, Science and Technology Divisions, Division of Administration, Partnership and Technical Cooperation Office (PATCO), Sub Regional Offices.