+ INTERFACING WITH DIGITAL AFRICA +


With the rapid increase of ICT4D-related research, interfacing can enable or constrain lines of communication. As such academic researchers in Africa enjoy an important responsibility in directing the flows of novel research in ICT4D. Both Africanisation and the decolonial turn point to the importance of developing knowledge from African contexts. This can be interpreted as an extension of information that encapsulates relevance and context for the benefit of all its citizenry.


The development of local knowledge requires an understanding of the context in which ICT solutions are to be applied by incorporating the four dimensions of ICT (computing, connectivity, content and capacity). Researchers in Africa enjoy special opportunities for interfacing with a diverse range of perspectives and realities by engaging these four dimensions and closing related gaps in literature. Such research may develop into unique contributions that range from developing novel theoretical knowledge to trialling ICT innovations. In contrast, local researchers might also face severe constraints that mitigate against interfacing outside the dominant academic understanding of the Global North or the needs of “universal” software development and its users.

Interfacing with Digital Africa seeks to address how the work of computer science and information technology researchers interfaces with unique opportunities and challenges on the continent. It also aims to spotlight the gaps and challenges for our research community’s exploration of under-resourced settings and marginalised communities outside the defaults of “standard” computing and information technology environments.  

The conference programme will include full paper sessions, plenary keynote addresses, panel discussions, and workshops. The first day – Monday 14 September 2020 – will be devoted to workshops, an AISSAC Seminar, and a Postgraduate Symposium. The main conference will be held from Tuesday 15 September to Wednesday 16 September 2020. We hereby invite submissions for empirical research papers, conceptual papers, panel proposals, workshop proposals or postgraduate proposals.  

Topical questions to address may include:

  1. What progress are software developers making in Southern Africa to interface with African contexts and users?
  2. How is computer science and information technology research responding to African realities more broadly?
  3. What are the gaps in African CS and IT research and what constraints do these suggest?
  4. How are African solutions for African problems meeting the world?
  5. What are the enablers and constraints that influence interface design for Africans?
  6. How are developers catering for previously neglected communities through custom interfaces and African language libraries?
  7. How might software development for marginalised, African communities be developed as sustainable projects?
  8. Among many African IT start-ups, could any grow into high performing technology companies like the FAANGs?
  9. How is African computer science and information technology research rebalancing “global” understandings developed in very different settings?
  10. How can transdisciplinary research contribute to understanding of IT and CS dynamics in African contexts?
  11. What are the underlying theories and philosophies of Africanisation in the technology domain?
  12. How can we ensure that women are better represented in African IT education, software development and research?

Please view dates for the key deadlines.

SUBMISSIONS 

All submissions will be peer-reviewed by a national and international panel of experts. English is the official conference language.  

Submissions in all categories must follow the ACM International Conference Proceedings Series prescribed format - MS-Word or LaTeX format (with no additional libraries or special fonts). The template and guidelines for papers are located on the website at https://www.acm.org/publications/proceedings-template

Papers that do not follow the template may be excluded from the conference proceedings. The maximum paper length as stipulated in the various submission categories will be strictly enforced.

For all tracks, only anonymised PDF files must be submitted for review. Any questions regarding the formatting and uploading of submissions should be directed to Prof Ephias Ruhode (ruhodee@cput.ac.za)  

All submissions must be made through the online submission system, Easychair, which will be online soon.

FULL RESEARCH PAPERS

We invite the submission of full papers (maximum 10 pages) to report original previously- unpublished work in the topic areas of the conference. General papers that do not directly address the topic areas will also be considered. Full papers typically report on completed and mature research results.

CONCEPTUAL PAPERS

We invite the submission of conceptual papers (maximum 10 pages) to report on the latest developments in literature, theory and philosophy regarding the topic areas of the conference. General conceptual papers that do not directly address the topic areas will also be considered. Conceptual papers may report on novel non-empirical research.

PANELS

We invite proposals for panels on stimulating or controversial topics of current interest within the general scope of the conference. Topics and/or themes for a panel session may also be proposed by individuals with an interest in chairing a panel in a topic that intrigues them. Preference will be given to topics that raise forward-looking and/or contentious issues, and that promote debate among panel members and involvement of the audience. All suggestions will be assessed for their topicality and ability to generate stimulating debate.

WORKSHOPS

We invite proposals for workshops as satellite events associated with the conference. Workshop proposals should include the aim of the workshop, tentative programme, possible speakers, and expected outcomes.

POSTGRADUATE SYMPOSIUM

SAICSIT 2020 offers postgraduate students at master’s and doctoral levels the opportunity to actively engage with their peers and established researchers on the first day of the conference. Successful students will be required to present their research during the dedicated sessions. Participation is free and open to all CS, IS and IT postgraduate research students at any stage of their research.


Graphic design credits

Illustration and logo design by Janine Venter, sponsored by Create With. Graphics © 2020, Create With, Cape Town.