The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) is committed to the principles of open data, especially for research data and tools created by government funding, which further the various research fields supported by SADiLaR. Open data supports various scholarly endeavours, including validation, replication, re-analysis, and reinterpretation, thus supporting the notion that all research results should be reproducible. Furthermore, open access to data allows for increased impact of research data developed with public funding, as the data can be reused in both research and private sector activities, which in turn will produce the greatest social good.
This is especially relevant in the South African context where ten of the eleven official languages are considered “under-resourced” or “resource-scarce” languages. For these languages, there are limited language data and tools available that enable research in the fields of linguistics, literature, digital humanities, and computational linguistics. By making data from all eleven languages more readily available, SADiLaR believes that the various language and research communities that are involved in the development of the languages will benefit in various ways, whether through better access to information in their mother tongue, or deeper insights into the structure and use of the language. This is also underscored by the Open Access statement of the National Research Foundation of 2015 (NRF), which specifically states that all publications funded by the NRF must be made available openly, while also promoting the establishment of open repositories that allow access to data from NRF-funded projects.
With these factors in mind, SADiLaR supports the notion of freely accessible resources that enable the further development of language-related research and development, wherever this is legal and ethical.
This policy was developed through various consultations with researchers and developers, as well as from reviews of various international data policy documents, including policies and guidelines from: