A decision, to establish a network of data and information curation centres (NeDICC), was taken in principle at the 1st African Digital Management & Curation Conference & Workshop held in Pretoria on 12 and 13 February 2008. This decision had been ratified at several events and the network was then formally established, with its administrative base at the NRF in Pretoria, South Africa during 2010.
The over-riding purpose of the network is to support and promote continuing improvement in the quality of digital curation within the South African and African scientific research community. The network promotes the following properties:
- A systems and technology development function, with ongoing consultation with lead users in SA and elsewhere;
- Support for standards development, promoting cross-fertilization between leading and following domains in Africa and compliance with global standards;
- A centre of Excellence in Data Management, to provide thought leadership and visionary direction in ongoing development;
- A user support and marketing function to promote easy and effective digital curation;
- Coordination for curation standards; and
- The development of curricula for curation training and education.
Leadership and advocacy for:
· Continuing professional development of individuals;
· Promoting sound digital curation and preservation practices;
· Building consensus for the adoption of common standards;
· Using open standards which would enable access, allowing re-use and re-purposing; and
· Avoiding dependencies of platform and application software.
The key challenge is to building the network in such a way that research, development, services and outreach interact positively, to:
- Establish a vibrant research programme to address wider issues of data curation
- Nurture strong community relationships forming and extending the Associates Network, engaging with scientific digital curators
- Develop services for testing and evaluating tools, methods, standards and policies in realistic settings offering a repository of tools and technical information, a focal point for digital curators
- Achieve the 'virtuous circle' feeding expertise, experience and need into its research programme on data curation transforming research-led innovation into services that enhance productivity of practice.
The founding members of NeDICC are the following institutions: