Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Leiden University & Elsevier Symposium on Digital Sovereignty

Our ever-increasing reliance on software and technologies, out of convenience, necessity or otherwise, binds us to supranational and commercial companies that provide them. Is it essential that governments, universities, and researchers ensure that they continue to be in control of their data and software? Do we need to attain a greater level of digital sovereignty? What does digital sovereignty really mean and how can this be implemented? Which steps can be taken to transition to a higher level of control over technology and over data and how does this relate to our open science agenda? Do we need new infrastructure run by academics? Are there any examples that allow users a greater level of control? To answer these and other questions and to invite discussion of the core issues that are at stake, Leiden University Libraries hosts a symposium on Digital Sovereignty on the 29th of November 2023.

You are hereby invited to join keynote speaker dr. Jamal Shahin and other experts from academia and industry for talks and discussion. This symposium on Digital Sovereignty is organised by Leiden University Libraries in partnership with Elsevier. We hope you will join us for an engaging day with excellent speakers, at an inspiring location in the heart of Leiden.

The event is free and open to everyone. Please register to make sure you have a seat!


Provisional programme

09:30-09:35 Welcome

Theoretical introduction  

There continues to be a degree of confusion regarding the exact signification of the term ‘digital sovereignty’. The programme starts with a keynote lecture that aims to define the term. It will address several key questions: What is digital sovereignty precisely? How does the term differ from related terms such as academic freedom, data protection and digital ethics? What are the risks if digital sovereignty is fully embraced? What is at stake precisely? Why should academics and universities be interested in their digital sovereignty?

Keynote speaker: dr. Jamal Shahin, Free University Brussels/University of Amsterdam
10:30-11:00 Coffee break 

Guiding principles 

Which criteria can we use to evaluate the digital sovereignty offered on existing software platforms? Which activities can be initiated by the people who are responsible for software systems to make a transition towards a higher level of sovereignty? Would it be possible to define a roadmap for such a transition? This section of the program represents the perspectives of both private and public parties.  

Speakers: prof.dr. Karen Maex, University of Amsterdam – Azar Koulibaly, JD, Microsoft - prof.dr. Giorgio Monti, University of Tilburg
12:30-13:30  Lunch break

Examples of  implementation 

A large number of publishers and research groups have already implemented alternative technical infrastructures that allow their users a greater level of control over what happens to the data they supply. This final section of the symposium highlights a number of inspirational examples.

Speakers: dr. Jan Wöpking, Berlin University/German U-15 – Ron Augustus, SURF – dr. Charon Duermeijer,  Elsevier


Panel discussion

The panel will discuss the concept of digital sovereignty from different perspectives. Some of the principles discussed earlier in the day can be further elaborated and critically questioned.
16:00-16:15 Wrap up

For any questions regarding the symposium, please contact the organising team:
Alenka Princic and Peter Verhaar via cds@library.leidenuniv.nl.

This website uses cookies.  More information.