B. Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) Events

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This community contains non-peer reviewed slide sets (PDF format) and audio/video recordings (MP4 format) from events and presentations during those events, and in which ASSAf participated or where ASSAf was represented. The content of the collections listed have not been peer-reviewed, but it is believed that it can contribute to the academic discourse, and be used in the advancement of science and discussions/decisions around science.

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For enquiries about items in this collection, please contact: louise@assaf.org.za

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 99
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    Large Language Models (LLMs): Smart Work or Academic Doping?
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    LLMs are transforming academic research and publishing by significantly increasing scholars' productivity. A 2023 Nature survey revealed that nearly a third of scientists use generative AI for manuscript preparation, with LLMs aiding in tasks such as coding, brainstorming, and literature reviews. LLMs help overcome language barriers and allow researchers to create personalised models tailored to their fields, automate repetitive tasks, and boost productivity, leading to faster publication readiness and enhancing the research journey. However, LLMs raise significant issues, including biases and exploitation in their training processes and generating errors or inaccurate information. This outsourcing of thought (and, of course, the facilitating of outright cheating by students and scholars) raises concerns about overburdening journal editors, peer reviewers, and course administrators alike. The ease of generating papers with LLMs is increasing the volume of lower-value research, making it harder to identify impactful studies and threatening the integrity and sustainability of scientific publishing. This debate juxtaposes the optimistic view of LLMs as catalysts for scientific progress with critical perspectives on their potential todilute research quality and integrity.
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    Public session on the programme: Role of National Academies and Universities in Promoting Human Rights and Enhancing Equality Proceedings Report
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf); International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies(IHRN)
    The 14th Biennial Meeting of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (IHRN) on the Role of National Academies and Universities in Promoting Human Rights and Enhancing Equality Prof André Keet, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Engagement and Transformation at the Nelson Mandela University, delivered the keynote address. Prof Keet highlighted and acknowledged the role of universities and academies in upholding, improving and promoting human rights and equality agendas for all, the threat against academic freedom and the role that the scientific, health and engineering disciplines play in furthering the agendas on human rights and enhancing equality. This was followed with 5 panels exploring the themes of: (a) Equity in Global Collaborations; (b) Gender Equality and Gender-Based Violence; (c) Addressing Stigma and Discrimination; (d) Safeguarding Academic Freedom; and (e) Advancing Social Justice through Promotion of Access to Health Care.
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    Early career scholars panel on: The Role of National Academies and Universities in Promoting Human Rights and Enhancing Equality Proceedings Report
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf); International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies(IHRN)
    The 14th Biennial Meeting of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (IHRN) began with an Early Career Scholars Panel, during which up-and-coming scholars deliberated on present-day global human rights issues. The moderator of the panel was Prof Catherine Burns (Associate Professor of Medical History, University of Witwatersrand) and the panel members were Lt Col Dr Esewu Mxolisi Mathebula (South African Association of PhDs), Mr Michael Martin (New Voices in Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, U.S. National Academies), Prof Mzukisi Njotini (Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Fort Hare, South African Young Academy of Science) and Prof Martha Bradley (Associate Professor in the Department of Public Law, University of Johannesburg, Future Professors Programme). In this session, the Early Career Scholars gave their perspectives on topics related to the theme of the IHRN meeting, ‘The Role of National Academies and Universities in Promoting Human Rights and Enhancing Equality.’ The session had posed a greater number of questions than it had provided answers for. However, some questions stood out, namely how scholars communicate their scientific knowledge in ways that are respectful and dignified, but still critical and engaged across class, gender, hierarchy and region. ASSAf was acknowledged for bringing scholars and colleagues from learned societies together at this event and addressing current and controversial issues. Science can correct itself only through processes such as this.
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    ASSAf's First Webinar in the Series on polemics in Artificial Intelligence (AI) titled: AI has gone too far OR has it only just begun
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    ASSAf’s Scholarly Publishing Unit hosted the first webinar in the series on polemics in Artificial Intelligence (AI) titled: "AI has gone too far OR has it only just begun" on 22 May 2024. This discussion explored the different perspectives on AI's trajectory, looking at both the cautionary stance that fears its unchecked growth and potential harm and the optimistic view that celebrates its achievements and future promise.
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    Catalysing Change: A Global Health Approach in the Wake of Pandemics
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Académie Nationale des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal (ANSTS) and Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf); German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina; Académie Nationale des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal (ANSTS); Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS)
    Over the past four years, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted daily life, severely stressed health systems across the globe and exposed stark inequalities in managing global health crises. It has revealed significant shortcomings in disease surveillance and data sharing and highlighted the urgent need to strengthen global health research. The strategy of intensive containment of the COVID-19 pandemic often came at the expense of managing other infectious diseases, such as Tuberculosis and HIV, leading to uneven and nationally focused solutions. The need to develop a more equitable and unified strategy for global health, particularly in preparing for and responding to future pandemics has become apparent. The webinar on “Catalysing Change: A Global Health Approach in the Wake of Pandemics”, brought together experts from national and international health bodies, the political arena, and the pharmaceutical industry to address the pressing issues of global health politics and pandemic prevention. The webinar focused on ensuring equitable access to medications and vaccines, fostering global health research, and improving surveillance and data-sharing mechanisms. It takes on the conference brief “Global Health Approach for Infectious Diseases – A Proposal for the Next Decade”, a joint publication by the national academies of Ethiopia, Germany, Senegal, and South Africa, which resulted from the workshop “Infectious Diseases beyond COVID-19” in Berlin on 23 and 24 May 2023.
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    Global plans on climate change adaptation
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    In this conversation, hosted by Prof Himla Soodyall, ASSAf Executive Officer, you will be taken on a journey into the world of climate change. Both these scholars have had many firsts not only as women, but as South African scientists on the international stage of climate change.
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    Annual National Scholarly Editors’ Forum (NSEF) Meeting
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    The National Scholarly Editors’ Forum (NSEF) meeting, hosted annually by the ASSAf’s Scholarly Publishing Programme (SPP), convened on April 11, 2024, with a focus on the theme "Easing into Open Science: A guide for editors". The event provided a platform for scholarly journal editors to engage in discussions and share insights on various facets of scholarly journal publishing in South Africa.
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    Advancing Science in South Africa through High Performance Computing, Connectivity and Data Services
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    Webinar hosted by ASSAf on 4 April 2024. In today's rapidly evolving landscape of science and research, the demand for cutting-edge technological solutions has never been more crucial. High-Performance Computing (HPC), reliable Internet connectivity, and efficient data management services form the backbone of groundbreaking advancements in various scientific domains. Research and science are undergoing a transformative shift, transitioning into increasingly data-driven disciplines. Within this contemporary landscape, the generation, analysis, and interpretation of vast datasets have become fundamental components of scientific inquiry. Researchers across diverse fields harness the power of data to uncover patterns, correlations, and insights that were previously inaccessible. This data-driven paradigm not only accelerates the pace of discovery but also facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration, enabling scientists to draw connections and make discoveries that transcend traditional boundaries. As technology continues to advance, the ability to navigate and extract meaningful knowledge from large datasets is becoming a defining factor in the success and impact of scientific endeavours. The National Research Big Data Strategy focuses on leveraging big data to advance research and innovation in various sectors. Embracing and mastering the tools of data-driven research is paramount for staying at the forefront of innovation and addressing complex challenges in today's rapidly evolving scientific landscape. Join ASSAf for this webinar to learn how the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), SANReN (South African National Research Network) and DIRISA (Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa) support data-driven science and research, which is paramount for staying at the forefront of innovation and for addressing complex challenges in today's rapidly evolving scientific landscape.
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    ASSAf Humanities Book Award Lecture by Dr Dariusz Dziewanski
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2023) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    The series of lectures serve as a continuation of the award ceremony, providing the award winners with a platform to present their journeys and motivations behind their books, discuss the societal impact of their work, and share the personal influence it has had on their lives. This lecture is aimed at enhancing the recognition of the exceptional scholarly contributions made by Dr Dariusz Dziewanski who was awarded the 2023 Humanities Book Award prize in the Emerging Researcher Category. With his book Gang Entry and Exit in Cape Town: Getting beyond the streets in Africa’s deadliest city, Dr Dariusz Dziewanski provides a detailed qualitative account of what it is like to join and later disengage from gangs in Cape Town. Through the life histories of 24 former gang members, Dariusz seeks to understand the structural forces that push people into gangs and street culture, as well as the potential pathways that gang members have for escaping the streets.
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    Explore the Frontiers of Safeguarding Research Participants with the Application of Research Ethics Principles
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2024) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf); University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)
    Professor Hans van Delden, who is the former President of the Council of International Organisations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS), brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the event. His insights into the latest CIOMS Guidelines offered participants a unique opportunity to learn from a distinguished figure in the field of medical ethics. The public lecture explored the frontiers of safeguarding research participants, using the latest CIOMS Guidelines.
©The Author/Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)