The authors are worried that the Open Access and Data movement in Africa isn’t taking into account the labor required to “open” the data. They note that mainstream (Western rhetoric) about Open Science is out of sync with the physical, social and regulatory research environments in which scientists operate in Kenya and South Africa. They question the assumption that access = use. This has also been debunked in ICTD (see Donner’s “After Access”) and also increasingly coming to the fore in Open Access discussions as well.
“Rendering science ‘open’ involves contextual- izing, cleaning and curating data so it can be searched and utilized – a process which is labour intensive, costly and dependent upon infrastructural capacities that tend to be obscured by policies seeking to maximize the availability of information online (Leonelli, 2010, 2013).”