Making an impact with Open Science

Open Science is to make scientific knowledge accessible, free of charge to everyone. This way new ideas are spread faster and wider which in turn lead to new research. This is a worthy principle, but not everyone knows how. The Library already offers support to researchers with their individual data sets and publications. Now we are also working on a new training to explain the whole spectrum of open science to young researchers.

Serge Rijsdijk

Serge Rijsdijk

Serge Rijsdijk, e-learning developer at the Library, led the project team that created the course: “We found that there is a lack of knowledge about what open science is and what benefits it brings. In general researchers are happy to share their knowledge, but when it comes to opening up their publications and data some of them are more apprehensive. And there are also quite some misconceptions about what open science means for scientific practice. With this course we explain why it is so important to share your work and how open science can increase your research impact and academic visibility.”

“PhD candidates will learn the basic concepts of Open Science, the advantages it brings to researchers and to science in general, and how you can benefit from these advantages at different phases of your research. They will learn how to effectively store, manage and share research data, learn about the different forms of open access publishing, and how to use social media to their advantage.”

A large part of the training is online via Brightspace. It contains a lot of different elements:

  • web lectures
  • case videos with researchers explaining their open science practices,
  • quizzes
  • assignments
  • practical information, such as sources for funding
  • reference lists
  • And more…

 

Flexible setup
“Participants are relatively flexible in when they work on the course and contains web lectures, case videos of TU Delft researchers, quizzes, assignments, and peer review assignments. In the first module, participants will receive an introduction to Open Science and which benefits it has for individual researchers, for their fields, and the functioning of the scientific system as a whole. In the remaining three modules, participants will learn how they can increase the transparency, accessibility, and visibility of their work. Its transparency is increased by good research data management and participants will learn what that is. Accessibility is increased through open access publishing, which does not necessarily imply that researchers have to stay away from high impact subscription journals. For the last week of the course, Roy Meijer, science information officer at TU Delft, has put together a module that will help participants to increase the visibility of their work by effectively using social media.”

“Offline, the PhD candidates work together on some assignments. For example, one of the tasks is to assess how ‘open’ a journal is. Course participants analyze three major journals in their field. They look how freely authors can share their publications in these journals with others. It may well turn out that the most popular journal in their field, is not the one that will bring them the most visibility. Course members also look at how open science-minded their own research field is. They will interview staff members on their views and find out whether there is resistance or support towards open science within the department or their field. By learning about the attitude towards open science in the fields of their fellow students, course participants also find out how their field compares to those other fields.”

We’ve run the training as a pilot and the feedback of the course members is generally very positive. Ricardo Samiento on the course:

What is your research field? Design-led futures My research combines futures studies, the inquiries into images of the future, and design, a creative activity that focuses on people. Within this blend, I am developing a design-led futures technique to support small- and medium-sized enterprises for thinking ahead. This technique collects the lessons from the way automotive corporation apply concept cars. What was your biggest learning in the course? Basic knowledge to understand the nature of open science and how to use it as part of my research. Has it changed your view on open science? (more or less open-minded?) Not really. I have been interested in the use of ‘free and open source software’ since the beginning of my work as a designer. Later, I focused on ‘open design,’ the design of products or services that people can use, produce, and modify according to their own needs. And now, as a researcher, I am curious about ‘open science.’ I think it is a logical progression that demonstrates my open mind in regards this philosophy or work. What are you doing differently now? Considering the understanding of the nature of open science, I applied its principles to: (i) reconsider the way to manage the data of my studies in a more transparent fashion, (ii) redefine the criteria to choose a publication to disseminate the results of my studies, and (iii) redesign my strategy of communication to increase the visibility of my work. Did you find out specific points to be aware of within your research field? Yes. Design researchers don’t have the culture to share their data, because most of the time it is gathered in studies that involve private companies that are not welling to be open about it. We need to motivate them (designers and company representatives) to share their data by showing the advantages of this practice. Would you recommend this course and why? Definitively! I think the debate about this topic is fundamental in my field. -Design- researchers must be well-informed about open science, especially ones that want to contribute to democratizing this discipline to more restrictive context and smaller players. thonet-14-bouwpakket-bronIf you compare Open Science to an object, what would it be? No. 14 chair by Thonet. Before Thonet, all chairs were unique pieces developed by the artisans just for the wealthy. Thonet designed a modular chair that was easy to produce massively. Even though one company managed its rights, it was a milestone that initiates the notion of design for the majority. The notion of that a layperson could benefits from good design, as a layperson could benefits from good science.

Thais Empinotti, PHD candidate at the faculty of Civil Engineering also took part in the pilot and found the course very useful:

What is your research field?  My research field is Applied Geology and my PhD project consists on studying the influence of seafloor topography on the depositional architecture of sediments deposited through turbidity currents on deepwater environments. The study combines observations from real systems of the modern seafloor, subsurface petroleum reservoirs and ancient deposits exposed on outcrops and process-based numerical simulations of turbidity currents to validate interpretations from the natural systems. What was your biggest learning in the course? For me everything was interesting, but it was important to know how I can use social media to gain visibility on scientific community and also the tips related to how we might organize our data to make it accessible and understandable to other researchers. Has it changed your view on open science? Yes, on my scientific community I hear a lot the Open Journals are not so high quality and that publishing there usually occurs when people don’t get their paper accepted in normal peer-reviewed journals. With the course I learned about alternative ways to have my publications Open Access and also published in high quality journals, which seems to be the best alternative at the moment in my field. What are you doing differently now? I didn’t submit papers yet, but I will do it soon, and for sure I will take into account the visibility of my publications, because one of the best advantages of publishing is to get feedbacks and exchange knowledge and ideas between peers. Would you recommend this course?
I definitely recommend this course for several reasons. The most important reason is that the content of the course is really useful to any researcher and during the course we have the possibility to learn in practical exercises using our own situation how to apply the things we learn on the course. The other advantage is the flexibility on time and location that an online course gives to us. The organizers are very present, even virtually, since they give many feedbacks through e-mail to the participants. If you compare Open Science to an object, what would it be? water-transparantWater, because it has to be accessible to everyone (Open Science) and it needs to be  transparent to assure quality (Open Data).

 

 

Serge: “The pilot has been successful. We’re now further improving the course using our learnings from the pilot. The next course will start on 11 September.” Registration runs via the Graduate School Organization: http://medewerkers.tudelft.nl/fileadmin/Files/medewerkersportal/graduateschool/doctoral_education/GS_qrc_2.pdf

More information on the programme:

https://www.tudelft.nl/en/education/programmes/phd/doctoral-education-programme-de/training-programme/r1a3-increasing-your-research-impact-and-visibility-through-open-science/

  • Course duration: 4 weeks
  • 2 GS credits


More information:
s.a.rijsdijk@tudelft.nl and educationsupport-lib@tudelft.nl

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