Chapter 1 Welcome

This book is a lesson series for the Openscapes Champions program. It improved iteratively and the most recent version always openly available online.

Openscapes Champions is a mentorship program that empowers researchers with open data science tools and grows the community of practice. We mentor early career researchers in leadership roles – faculty, lecturers, program managers, and others who want to establish open data science practices in their research groups, at their institutions, and beyond. It is designed to meet scientists where they are and help identify incremental steps to make their data workflows more efficient, open, and collaborative. We’ve been building Openscapes from an open data science angle, but along with that comes the mindset of openness, collaboration, kindness, and creating the culture we want in science. Note: “research group” or “lab group” is broadly defined.

The Series is framed around Lowndes et al. 2017, Nature Ecology & Evolution: Our path to better science in less time using open data science tools. That paper is a retrospective of how a team’s data workflow changed over four years; the Openscapes Series aims to help guide other teams to accelerate this timeline and begin make similar progress themselves, no matter where they are starting from.


1.1 Agendas

The first half of the Series focuses on efficiency and open culture within the research group, and the second half is about sustained learning and bringing these practices to the broader campus or insitutional community.

1.1.1 Remote, 4-month

In the 4-month remote program, Cohorts of research groups participate in 8 Cohort Calls: 2 each month (1.5 hours each). Calls are designed to be engaging, requiring discussion and active participation through live-notetaking in Google Docs and video Zoom (group and breakouts).

Call agendas and slides are all available in a Google Folder, and identified individually in the following table. Additionally, we end each lesson by learning hands-on efficiency tips, compiled here as an Efficiency Tips Doc and Spreadsheet.


Agendas Chapters Slides
1. Openscapes overview & mindset overview, mindset overview, mindset
2. Better science in less time better science in less time better science in less time, data interlude
3. Lab culture lab culture, code of conduct lab culture, code of conduct
4. GitHub for the lab GitHub for publishing, GitHub for project management GitHub for publishing, GitHub for project management
5. Streamlined workflows with code source files, filepaths & project oriented workflows source files & file paths; project oriented workflows
6. Coding with communities, part 1, part 2 coding with communities coding with communities, part 1, part 2
7. Communicating science openly R for science communication publishing & discoverability
8. Presentations: Openscapes Case Studies


1.1.2 Remote, 2-month

In the 2-month remote program, Cohorts of research groups participate in 4 Cohort Calls: 2 each month (1.5 hours each). Calls are designed to be engaging, requiring discussion and active participation through live-notetaking in Google Docs and video Zoom (group and breakouts).

This is happening!


Agendas Chapters Slides
1. Openscapes mindset mindset mindset, tidy data
2. Better science in less time better science in less time better science in less time, discovering community tools
3. Lab culture lab culture, GitHub for publishing lab culture, GitHub for publishing
4. Project-oriented workflows project oriented workflows project oriented workflows


1.1.3 In-person, 2-day

Through in-person Workshops, Cohorts of research groups participate over a 2 full days. Workshops are designed to be engaging, requiring active participation through discussion, live-notetaking in Google Docs, and breakout group activities.

The Workshop agenda with links to slides is in this Google Doc, and identified individually in the following table.

Time Day 1 Day 2
9:00- 9:10 Welcome
9:10- 10:30 Introductions, Openscapes overview, Openscapes mindset Streamlined workflows: Source files & filepaths, Project-oriented workflows, Intro to coding communities
10:30- 11:00 Break
11:00- 12:30 Better science in less time, Pathways Collaborative coding: Discovering community tools
12:30- 1:30 Lunch
1:30- 3:00 Data interlude, Lab culture, Codes of conduct Supercharge your research, Pathways preparation
3:00- 3:30 Break
3:30- 4:45 GitHub for publishing, GitHub for project management Pathways share
4:45- 5:00 Closing

1.2 About

The Series is written (and always improving) to be used as a reference, to teach, or as self-paced learning. And also, awesomely, it’s created with the same tools and practices we will be talking about: R and RStudio — specifially bookdown — and GitHub.

Openscapes is operated by the National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS) and was incubated by a Mozilla Fellowship awarded to Julia Stewart Lowndes.


Creative Commons License  Openscapes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.