Open AIR publications

A Cross-Regional Research Partnership for Sustainable Development: The Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Experience

PPPs were proposed as “tools for good governance” in the 1990s, and gained prominence in international relations (IR) literature in the early 2000s. However, PPPs have been understudied with gaps in the literature, stemming from the lack of a cohesive definition, differing schools of thought surrounding the structure and organization of PPPs and a lack of research to support the hypothesis that PPPs can effectively contribute to the broad issues these partnerships seek to address. Research is only now beginning to recognize this lacuna and explore these issues in more depth.

A Data Commons for Food Security

This paper uses the Institutional Analysis and Development (“IAD”) framework to develop and understand the ‘data commons’. As identified by Fischmann et al., (2014), this paper also embraces the analogy between the natural environment and the commons and uses this link as a lens to view the establishment of a data commons that seeks to address global challenges of food insecurity.

The Maker Movement in Gauteng Province, South Africa

There is little doubt that the “maker” movement has begun to achieve meaningful momentum in South Africa. There are now established maker-oriented initiatives in the Western Cape Province (Cape Town, Knysna), KwaZulu-Natal (Durban), and Gauteng (Vanderbijlpark, Johannesburg, Pretoria) and the Free State (Bloemfontein), as well as instances of significant maker outreach into the Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces.

Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation: Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA VIII)

To assist trade policymakers in the development of a framework, this paper explores IP issues, perspectives, and priorities related to both the CFTA and PAIPO. It suggests that process and substance issues are each important to create fair and balanced IP systems on the continent that stimulate innovation, growth, and competition. To this end, the paper’s suggested framework draws significantly on the Max Planck Principles for Intellectual Property Provisions in Bilateral and Regional Agreements, (the Principles for IP Provisions, or just Principles) adapted for a distinctly African context.

The Intellectual Property Treaty Landscape in Africa, 1885 to 2015

This paper maps the 130-year history of the global international IP treaty landscape governing the protection of, and access to, knowledge in Africa. Our approach looks to the past and present in order to build a rich context for policymakers looking to the future. This approach offers a preliminary overview of the opportunities for IP policy innovation in each country, and the continent as a whole.

A Framework for Assessing Technology Hubs in Africa

This article fills a gap in the research on technology hubs in Africa. It explains the importance of hubs as drivers of technological innovation, social change, and economic opportunity within and beyond the African continent. The article is the first to thoroughly review and synthesize findings from multi-disciplinary grey literature, and integrate insights from qualitative data gathered via interviews and fieldwork. It identifies three archetypes of hubs—clusters, companies, and countries—and discusses examples of each archetype using Kenya as a case study. The article discusses potential collaboration, conflicts, and competition among these archetypes of hubs, and concludes with recommendations for future researchers.

Evidence-based Intellectual Property Policymaking

Governments have long been interested in making intellectual property (IP) policy based on sound evidence. There is a large body of literature addressing the economic impacts of IP, but little of it is accessible to policymakers. This article aims to improve understanding of how IP contributes to the economic performance of a country’s innovative sectors. A detailed literature review and meta-analysis identifies existing methodologies and analytical frameworks. None of these frameworks alone are fully capable of providing complete, reliable information about the economic importance of intellectual property in any one particular country, and explain why. An approach that positions and integrates various frameworks, methods and data sources is, therefore, appropriate. The key challenge for the future is to connect empirical data and micro-economic analyses about firms’ strategic responses to IP policy changes with statistics and macro-economic insights on overall economic performance or social welfare.

Open Innovation in Development: Integrating Theory and Practice Across Open Science, Open Education, and Open Data

This article integrates the concepts of open innovation and open development. It extends the theory of open development beyond the field of information communications technology to address aspects of innovation systems more generally


Innovation and Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa

This 2014 book, based on case studies and evidence collected through research across nine countries in Africa, sheds new light on the complex relationships between innovation and intellectual property.


Knowledge and Innovation in Africa: Scenarios for the Future

The authors trace the contours of knowledge and innovation in Africa from the founding civilizations to today’s current realities, and then set out the drivers of change that can be expected to shape innovation systems on the continent between now and the year 2035.

Briefing Note: Innovation Linkages between Formal & Informal Sectors

Briefing Note: Innovation Linkages between Formal and Informal Sectors

Highlights the findings from Open AIR researcher Dr. Dick Kawooya’s study of innovation dynamics in the automotive engineering sector of Uganda’s capital city Kampala.


Briefing Note: Managing Benefits from Traditional Knowledge (TK)

Research findings and recommendations from an investigation of the knowledge management practices of a collective of traditional healers in Bushbuckridge, South Africa.


Briefing Note: Place-Based Branding for Locally Specific Products

Outlines findings from Open AIR research into potential use of communal intellectual property (IP) protection by tie-and-dye textile artisans in the Nigerian city of Abeokuta.


Briefing Note: Optimising Benefits from Publicly Funded Research

Highlighting Open AIR research findings on apparent disconnects between African national policymaking on intellectual property (IP) from publicly funded research and the actual current realities of university research.

D2ASA book cover (2)-resized

L’accès au savoir en Afrique : le rôle du droit d’auteur

Ce livre, publié en 2011, est la traduction du livre de 2010 intitulé Access to Knowledge in Africa: The Role of Copyright. L’ouvrage s’inspire des travaux du projet Droits d’auteur et accès au savoir en Afrique (D2ASA, ou African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) en anglais), un réseau de recherche qui a exploré les liens entre les droits d’auteur et l’accès au savoir dans huit pays d’Afrique, à savoir l’Afrique du Sud, l’Égypte, le Ghana, le Kenya, le Maroc, le Mozambique, le Sénégal et Ouganda. Le D2ASA-ACA2K réseau, de 2007 à 2011, était le réseau précurseur d’Open AIR.