Chapter 1 Welcome

Hello! This book is the lesson series for the Openscapes Champions program, an open data science mentorship program for science teams.

Openscapes Champions is a professional development and leadership opportunity for teams to reimagine data analysis & stewardship as a collaborative effort, develop modern skills that are of immediate value to them, and cultivate collaborative and inclusive research communities. Cohorts are ~7 research teams (~35 total participants including team leads and members) that convene remotely to explore open data science tooling and practices together.

Artwork by Allison Horst


This open curriculum is improved iteratively and the most recent version always available online. Chapters accompany slide decks that are taught through Cohort Agendas (below), depending on the Cohort duration. The lesson series is originally framed around “Our path to better science in less time using open data science tools” (Lowndes et al. 2017). As we learn and iterate with Cohorts of different durations and from different disciplines, the curriculum will iterate and grow as well.


1.1 Agendas

Cohorts of research groups participate in the Champions program over several months, with 2 Cohort Calls 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 openly available in a Google Folder, and identified individually in the following tables. As we continue to learn and iterate from working with different research groups, you can always review previous agendas for specific cohorts. Additionally, we end each lesson by learning hands-on efficiency tips, compiled here as an Efficiency Tips Doc and Spreadsheet.

1.1.3 In-person, 2-day

Through in-person Workshops, research groups participate as a cohort over a 2 full days.

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, Team 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 co-directed by Julia Stewart Lowndes and Erin Robinson. It is operated by the National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS) and was incubated by a Mozilla Fellowship awarded to Lowndes in 2018.


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