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 The content of the collections listed have not been peer-reviewed, but it is believed that it can contribute to the academic discourse, and be used in the advancement of science and discussions/decisions around science.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 33
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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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    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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    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.
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    Humanities Annual Lecture on “The Role of the Humanities in a Time of Displacement”
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2023) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    The Humanities Lecture is a prestigious event of the Academy and seeks to promote the humanities in South Africa and to draw attention to the importance of the humanities amongst learners, university students, scholars, and the broader South African society.
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    5th Annual ASSAf Science-Business Leadership Forum titled “Unmasking the Enigma called FinTech”
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2023) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    The concept of ‘money’ and the world of financial services and products have undergone a remarkable transformative evolution since the Global Financial Crisis, propelled by technological advancements and the global shift towards the digital economy. These financial technology (FinTech) developments range from rapid payment systems, mobile money, digital banking (including central bank digital currencies, CBDCs), cryptocurrencies, blockchains etc. FinTech promises to not only shape the future of transactions but also redefine the fundamental tenets of monetary value and exchange. Between 2010 and 2019, the global FinTech sector witnessed a significant surge in investments, totalling over US$165.5 billion. According to a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group, annual FinTech revenues are projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2030. While promising transformative solutions, FinTech industry is not without its challenges, ranging from regulatory and policy hurdles; security concerns; customer trust; data protection, inclusion of and the impact on previously overlooked demographics. Understanding the broader FinTech environment can help shed light and shape FinTech today and in the decades to come, particularly in Africa. In light of this, the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) hosted the 5th Annual ASSAf Science-Business Leadership Forum on the 3 November 2023 titled “Unmasking the Enigma called FinTech” on 3 November 2023, 09h00 SAT, Virtually. The aim of this dialogues was to stimulate conversations on what FinTech is; its adoption on the African Continent; the regulatory conundrum associated with FinTech; while exploring the use of technology such as AI in addressing money laundering, fraud, identity theft, combatting financing of terrorism and proliferation financing and delving into questions of whether South Africa should introduce a "digital Rand", i.e. a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC); the benefits and risks of such a currency. Panellists included: Prof Vivienne Lawack (DVC: Academic, University of the Western Cape); Prof Co-Pierre Georg (SARChI Chair: Blockchain Technology, University of Cape Town) and Prof Louis de Koker (Professor of Law, La Trobe University, Australia). The full recording is accessible on ASSAf_YouTube. The forum is hosted annually by the Academy and moderated by ASSAf’s President, Prof Jonathan Jansen and the focus is to engage prominent scientists/scholars and leading experts from the business community to deliberate on matters of shared significance.
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    What new editors need to know about journal editorial policies
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2023) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    ASSAf webinar hosted by the Scholarly Publishing Programme staff for new journal editors on 23 August 2023. Journal editors from a range of disciplines shared their advice on the importance of Journal Editorial Policies. This webinar is the fifth in the New Editor Series which aims to provide new editors of South African scholarly journals with the tools to implement publishing best practice and boost their confidence as editors.
©The Author/Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)