Frequently Asked Questions#

This page is a living document of the most common questions posed to the TOPS team. It is our hope that these answers will benefit the wider community. Further details can be found in the transcripts of our community events on our community forum and community panel pages.

NASA's Open Science 101

What steps should I take if I haven’t received an email to accept my Open Science badge?

Once you’ve completed the curriculum, you will receive an email from Credly with instructions on accepting your badge. If you can’t find the Credly email, please check your spam or quarantine folder to avoid missing any important notifications regarding your achievement. We have received reports of NASA’s email server sending these notifications to quarantine.

If you still have not received an email from Credly after 48 hours, please email

Credly is a badging platform that works with credible organizations to recognize, manage and share professional achievements. Credly is the world’s leading digital credential service provider.

Who should take Open Science 101?

While it’s developed primarily for research students and early career professionals, the curriculum offers important takeaways and learning opportunities for participants at all career levels.

What skills are taught in this course?

The Open Science 101 course covers a range of essential skills pertinent to open science practices. Some key skills taught in this course include data management, open publishing, and research workflow optimization. Overall, the course equips participants with the foundational knowledge and practical skills necessary to engage in open science practices effectively.

How do I take Open Science 101?

Interested participants can enroll and begin taking the course by visiting the TOPS GitHub site at The curriculum is currently available as a self-paced online course and the TOPS team will be teaching virtual and in-person workshops. For information on training dates, locations, and registration, please subscribe to the TOPS newsletter.

How long does it take to complete the course?

Open Science 101 provides participants with an online, self-paced curriculum that covers the key open science principals and methods over five modules. Learners should expect to spend approximately two hours per module. Learners with previous experience in open science subject areas may “fast-track” modules by taking and passing the module assessment with a score of 70%. If a learner does not pass the fast-track assessment on their first try, they’ll need to enroll in the regular course.

How do I earn my NASA Open Science badge?

At the completion of all five modules, participants will receive a NASA Open Science digital badge from NASA Transform to Open Science, issued through Credly. The digital badge highlights the learner’s achievement and knowledge in open science practices. The badge never expires and can be displayed on the participant’s resume and professional social media accounts.

How can I provide feedback on the curriculum?

After completing Open Science 101, participants are encouraged to provide feedback for the next iterations of the curriculum through the TOPS GitHub repository. To report errors or issues with the curriculum content, please email

How often will the curriculum be updated?

The TOPS team plans to review feedback and suggestions and release a new version of the curriculum on a six-month release cycle.

When the curriculum is updated, will I need to retake the modules to maintain my NASA Open Science badge?

No, participants will not be required to retake the course to maintain their NASA Open Science digital badge. However, participants are always encouraged to revisit the modules to stay up-to-date on the developments in open science.

Will the curriculum be adapted for high school students?

The initial version of Open Science 101 was written for university students, researchers, and scientists interested in further exploring open science, however, Open Science 101 is free and open for all regardless of disciplinary or education. There currently are no plans to adapt the curriculum for K-12 learners.

Are there plans to translate the curriculum into other languages?

While the initial Open Science 101 course is in English, translation efforts are already underway for a Spanish version through our TOPST funding solicitation. Additionally, the modules are designed to be easily translatable. The animations and voice-overs were designed in a way where it will be easy to add other languages in the future.

What are the next steps after Open Science 101? Are there plans for additional courses in the future?

Yes, through the ROSES F.14 Transform to Open Science Training solicitation, NASA awarded 10 groups to develop a curriculum of discipline-specific materials that showcase open science workflows and capacity building for Open Science 101. Modules may extend Open Science 101 concepts or cover foundational discipline-specific themes leveraging NASA datasets including in topics such as accessing data in the cloud and artificial intelligence.

Why does NASA care about open science?

NASA’s commitment to open science aligns with its mission to explore, discover, and share knowledge for the betterment of humankind, maximizing the impact of its research for both current and future generations.

What else is NASA doing to encourage open science?

NASA has undertaken several initiatives to promote and advance open science practices:

  • Open Access Data: NASA provides open access to a vast array of scientific data and findings through platforms like the Science Discovery Engine, NASA Earthdata, Planetary Data System, and SciX (based on the Astrophysics Data System), ensuring broad accessibility for researchers and the public.

  • Open Source Software: NASA contributes to numerous open-source software projects, releasing tools and codes developed for space exploration, scientific research, and data analysis to the public domain.

  • Open Science Activities: Initiatives like the Science Activation program engage the public in NASA science missions, offering citizen science projects, educational resources, and platforms for collaboration.

  • Policy Support: NASA actively supports policies and guidelines that promote open science practices, encouraging researchers to share data, methodologies, and findings openly. Additionally, the recent addition of the Open Science and Data Management Plan requirement to the NASA ROSES funding solicitation applications encourages adoption of open science practices by researchers applying for NASA funding.

  • Training and Education: NASA provides training and educational resources, including workshops, webinars, and courses like Open Science 101, aimed at equipping researchers with skills for practicing open science.

Open Science – General

What is open science?

The federal government defines open science as the principle and practice of making research products and processes available to all, while respecting diverse cultures, maintaining security and privacy, and fostering collaborations, reproducibility and equity.

What is the difference between open-source science and open science?

The primary difference is that open-source science commits to making the scientific process open from the start of research activities rather than making research results open once the research is complete and papers are published. The commitment to conduct research in the open supports greater participation in answering fundamental scientific questions and the use of publicly funded research, data, and analysis for societal benefit.

In what ways has open science contributed to accelerating the pace of scientific advancements?

By removing barriers to access, such as paywalls and restrictive licensing, researchers worldwide can freely access a wealth of information, fostering interdisciplinary collaborations and the exchange of diverse perspectives. This facilitates faster dissemination of findings, enabling scientists to build upon existing research and push the boundaries of innovation more rapidly.

What makes open science so successful?

Open science’s success lies in its ability to create a more inclusive, transparent, and collaborative research environment, driving scientific advancements and societal impact. By allowing for broader sharing of research data and methodologies worldwide, and encouraging collaboration, open science can accelerate scientific progress while enhancing credibility and reproducibility.

How has open science improved transparency and trust in the scientific research process?

One of the fundamental pillars of open science is transparency, significantly improving trust in the scientific research process. Through open access to data, methodologies, and research outcomes, the scientific community fosters greater accountability and credibility. This transparency cultivates trust among peers, institutions, policymakers, and the public, enhancing the integrity of scientific endeavors.

What benefits have researchers experienced by openly sharing their data and findings with the broader scientific community?

Openly sharing research data and findings accelerates scientific progress by fostering collaboration, increasing visibility and impact, and promoting transparency and reproducibility. This practice leads to faster advancements, innovative discoveries, and broader societal impact while complying with funding policies and enhancing the credibility of research outcomes.

In what ways has open science played a role in enhancing the reproducibility and reliability of scientific studies?

Open science has played a pivotal role in enhancing the reproducibility and reliability of scientific studies. Transparent methodologies, open data, and shared protocols enable independent validation and replication of research findings. This fosters a culture of rigor and robustness, ensuring that scientific conclusions are built on sound evidence and are more trustworthy.