Open Access, Open Science, Open Data: Who will benefit? A user profile
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The scientific community aspires about unlimited and open access to knowledge and information. Just a click and researchers enter the Nirvana of databases, libraries and communication platforms around the globe. Thanks to governments’ efforts in developing as well as in developed countries National Research and Education Networks (NREN) have been established and provide the technological infrastructure. Government and research sponsors around the world have agreed that research data bases and their deriving results should be – in most cases - open and accessible for everyone. In a digitized research environment, research budgets turned back as side topics. A dream came through - in form of a Tsunami. Many researchers around the globe might be overwhelmed and surprised about the fact and the timing and are not prepared to plunge into the digital world of libraries, laboratories and research collaborations. This research will explore the pre-requisites a researcher has to have in order to participate in and benefit from Open Access, Open Science, Open Data (OASD). The focus is on the digital competences of researchers to tackle the challenges they face in the digital research world. This is exactly the position most researchers from developed and developing countries are taking on. This research poses the question: What kind of digital competences the users of OASD have to have, in order to take advantage of the possibilities offered? The EU puts high priority in bringing digital competences to citizens, consumers, educators, students etc in order to succeed with its efforts to create the Digital Single Market and bringing the European Open Science Cloud alive. Therefore, this research sees the European efforts as benchmark, to give orientation what developing countries could do to become active participants in the OASD. This paper is structured in a brief introduction to the OASD and will explore the definitions of digital literacy, information literacy and media literacy before presenting the European digital competence framework with its competence areas. In a next step, it will analyse the criteria of a potential OASD user to satisfy the curiosity as a “data archaeologist”. Data mining and digging are the key activities to find facts for further investigations. EU digital literacy understanding is built on a hierarchy of competences and sub-competences (digital competence framework), starting from the basic level (foundation) of digital literacy up to an intermediate, advanced or highly professional level. Subsequently, the discussion is led to the Computer Driving License (CDL) and how far it lays the foundation for digital literacy necessary for researchers. The final section will deliver recommendations, how specifically Ethiopian researchers – as representatives of researchers from a developing country could get prepared to take most out of the free access to world class data bases, literature and research communities.