Open Science 101

Open Science 101

TOPS Open Science Curriculum: Open Science 101

TOPS aims to meet everyone where they are at on their open science journey. While some members of our growing community may have practiced open science for many years, others may be trying to transition to a new way of conducting research or are students who are looking to begin their scientific careers. As such, TOPS’ first priority is to develop the infrastructure to train 20,000 scientists and researchers as part of our five-year program. This community-developed open science curriculum will introduce those beginning their open science journey to important definitions, tools, and resources; and provide participants at all levels recommendations on best practices from subject matter experts. TOPS will initially focus on developing the Open Science 101, designed as five modules that mimic a scientific workflow.

For the 2023 Year of Open Science, TOPS is developing strategic partnerships with scientific associations to teach open science during large annual meetings, special science team summer schools, and other events. The vision for the Open Science 101 and other learning resources is for a CC-BY licensed online, open course, hosted on the OpenEDx platform, that can be used to train scientists and award NASA open science badges.

The five Open Science 101 modules will be:

  1. Ethos of Open Science
  2. Open Tools and Resources
  3. Open Data
  4. Open Software
  5. Open Results

Content for the Open Science 101 is being derived from several amazing resources, including: - OpenSciency - OpenbyDesign - Utrecht - Mozilla - and more….

Learning Objectives

The Open Science 101 aims to introduce learners to a nuanced understanding of open science, enabling participants to better understand an open science workflow from end to end. The focus of the curriculum will be on providing learners with a basic understanding of open science, its ethos and benefits, and how to actively participate in open science communities. The TOPS curriculum will also be used to support researchers looking to engage with NASA as NASA moves to adopt more open science requirements (e.g., Scientific Information Policy and ROSES opportunities). Scientists will need to acquire the new skills highlighted in the curriculum to participate in open science effectively and to demonstrate those skills when applying for NASA funding opportunities.

Researcher core open science skills

  • Have an ORCID
  • Familiar with data management and software management plan best practices and resources
  • How to find and identify community accepted data and software repositories
  • How to openly license and share FAIR data and assign a DOI
  • Apply a permissive license and share open-source software and assign a DOI
  • Organizing open meetings

Interested in learning these skills now? Head over to our Open Science Guide and begin in Section 1 of “Guide for Your Open Science Journey”.


The design is for a 12.5-hour course consisting of five, 2.5-hour modules that could be taught in-person during large society meetings or during science team meetings, completed individually online, or completed via group-organized online events.

Additional information about the module structure and suggestions for design are provided.

Course Creation

For the workshop and online course materials, Open edX has many partners that specialize in working with subject matter experts to create online courses. To train 20,000 scientists, the MOOC will need to be engaging and interactive, similar to Elements of AI, with animations rather than videos of people. Using animations rather than videos will make the MOOC easier to translate into additional languages.

Instructor-lead Workshop Materials

For instructor-lead workshops (in-person and virtual), the materials will be organized as follows:

  • Each module is to be organized into five, 30-minute lessons for a total of 2.5 hours of content. We recommend scheduling the module for three hours and taking two, 15-minute breaks.
  • Each lesson has content suitable for in-person or virtual workshops (slides with talking points)
  • Each lesson ends with an activity or quiz that can be completed by both in-person or virtual participants
  • All content will be assigned a CC0 or CC-BY license

Online Course Materials

For online coursework, including the Open edX course, the materials will be organized as follows::

  • Each module is to be organized into five lessons, each approximately 30 minutes in length, for a total of 2.5 hours of content. All five modules, if taken together, will be 12.5 hours of content.
  • Each lesson has content suitable for online learning, graphics, and/or animations.
  • Each lesson ends with an activity or quiz that can be completed online and automatically graded
  • Every module except the “Ethos of Open Science” module will offer a “test-out” mechanism, such as a quiz, to allow for advanced learners to earn the credit for that module
  • Final content will be deployed on Open edX
  • All content will be assigned a CC0 or CC-BY license

Open edX platform

For the MOOC, Open edX has many partners that specialize in customizing and deploying an Open edX platform.

  • login users and display badges or certifications
  • track user engagement
  • auto-grading of questions
  • certification
  • data analytics
  • mobile-ready
  • 10,000+ users, autoscaling

Certification: (TBD)

There will be a certification process for in-person, virtual, and Open edX module completion. Initial details are here

In order for the TOPS certification to be offered as part of in-person or virtual workshops, the following minimum requirements must be met.

  • The event must be registered with the TOPS team
  • Teach at least one module in full (Note: Although modules can stand alone, we recommend teaching Ethos of Open Science alongside your chosen module, as it provides the foundational understanding for Open Science practices and benefits to users.)
  • Have at least one certified instructor or apply for a waiver (application link TBD)
  • Must use TOPS Open Science 101 curriculum materials
  • Survey course participants before and after completion, using a survey that TOPS will provide for your use
  • Abide by the TOPS Code of Conduct

Additional details will be added soon.