Current scientific practices and funding are largely about benefiting “superstar” individuals, private elite institutions, and profit-driven corporations. Open Science, which involves making all stages of scientific work transparent, widely collaborative and accessible, moves against these prevailing trends and places its practitioners “in the middle of a global scientific revolution”. As in the Open movement more broadly, Open Science incorporates human values such as diversity, inclusivity, fairness, equity, accountability, ethics and responsibility (Open Science MOOC). Working openly can make scientific practice more effective and vastly increase our range and extent of knowledge as scientists may be more encouraged to pursue areas of investigation that benefit the public. Making Open Science the dominant paradigm for scientific practice becomes about “writing a new cultural narrative” that extends into a commons-oriented approach to funding, resources and institutional structure (Lancaster et al., 2018).
In order to enable a global shift to Open Science, Lancaster et al. (2018) argue that we need to re-frame the pathway by which individuals are prepared to become scientists. Specifically, they suggest that STEM career preparation needs to move away from a context of competition and scarcity, towards an ecosystem model characterized by collaboration, reflection and sharing of resources.
In our undergraduate biology courses and research programs at Keene State College, we are taking steps towards this shift by emphasizing an open pedagogical approach to teaching science as well as teaching the practices of open science. Our students learn how to analyze and synthesize complex scientific information and how to make it accessible to the public. They have the option to connect and collaborate more widely outside of their classrooms and research labs using social media tools and the production of content on their own openly licensed web domain spaces. In doing so, students learn the science more effectively; synergizing the goals of open pedagogy and open science. We help our students direct their questions of interest towards the public good; and to think about how the science they are learning might both serve and engage citizens in their communities. We also specifically teach our students the practices of open science by engaging them in independent and classroom-based research projects where they learn ways to openly share methods and data, and how to engage in open peer review and open publishing.
By centering the public good and the health of our planet, Open Pedagogy in undergraduate science can help produce the scientists that we need to “amplify collective intelligence and increase the cognitive diversity” (Lancaster 2016) required for successfully addressing the many challenging, inextricably connected social and scientific problems that we face as a global community.
In this short reflective practice session, we plan to talk about the open science movement, and share specific examples from our work of how undergraduate science programs can contribute to the development of scientists that work openly. We look forward to engaging with the audience afterwards in a Q & A period.
Open Science MOOC
Additional Open Science MOOC content
Lancaster AK, Thessen AE and Virapongse A. 2018. A new paradigm for the scientific enterprise: nurturing the ecosystem [version 1; referees: 2 approved, 1 approved with reservations]. F1000Research 2018, 7:803 (https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.15078.1)
Lancaster, A. 2016. Open Science and its discontents. Ronin Institute: Reinventing Academia.