This page has guidance and examples around the Pathways document; to learn more about what teams accomplish, explore stories from previous cohorts.

The concept

Perhaps the most important part of Openscapes is helping teams identify their trailhead together, as illustrated in the Champions landscape illustration.

We support individuals to “find their teams” by discussing approaches and software, so that they find they have common parts of how they work, whether they are working on the same or different projects. This builds from the ideas of creating space and place in order to find the common, as introduced in the better science chapter.


The Pathway Intro slides in the latter part of this deck were presented in a Champions Cohort.

Documentation & the Pathway

The Pathways Spreadsheet provides a structured way for your team to think how you work and find common approaches and needs (template).

Example Pathway Spreadsheet documenting how the team is working now and ideas for next steps

This format has helped many groups think through their trailhead and identifying where they are now. Some groups have found it more useful to draw things out as a workflow on a whiteboard or google slide. The spreadsheet format might not work for your group, and that is okay; use whatever format makes sense for you.

Planning guidance

You’ll develop your Pathway by talking with others on your team, screensharing (“show me”), and asking questions.

You’ll use the document by creating a copy of the template and then discussing with your team. Start with the “Now” column. How do you work now? Add rows as best reflects your work, but take a moment before deleting them in case it’s something you haven’t thought about in this way before rather than if it’s not relevant to you. Then, move on to the “Next Steps” column as you think through priorities and learn from/with/for your cohort. This will be a work in progress throughout the cohort that you’ll present a snapshot of in the final Cohort Call (see next) and that you can revisit following the cohort as well.

Presenting guidance

On the final Cohort Call, each team presents their Pathways. Each team has 3 minutes to share followed by 2 minutes for questions. We encourage leads not to present, and it’s great when we hear multiple voices from the teams.

This is informal sharing of unpolished work-in-progress. Everyone makes progress throughout the Cohort: in mindsets, planning and actions. This is an opportunity to reflect and talk about it, building on the reflection breakout rooms that began most Cohort Calls. We’ve been reflective each week and we’ve all made progress.

Presentations do not need be line-by-line of the Pathways Spreadsheet and there’s no wrong way to talk about your progress. Whatever your group wants to create and share is great - could be a photo of a whiteboard, a slide, the Pathways spreadsheet, or a “screenshare and tell” live walk-through of your files/code/ideas.

A few reflection prompts that can help frame the presentations:

  • What are the practices we’ve covered during the Cohort that most compel you?
  • What are the practices we’ve covered during the Cohort that most confuse you?
  • Are there practices that are new to you that you didn’t originally think would work with your own research interests? If so, which?
  • What are your two biggest take-aways from the Cohort?
  • What future revisions will you propose making for your pathway?
  • Any final questions you want to workshop with the Cohort?

Pathways stories

Here are a few one-slide pictures of Pathways presented by Champions teams in their final sessions:

An example of an Openscapes pathway written by the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center EcoFOCI team. The diagram summarizes how they used to share code, data, and files, and what their ongoing plans are for streamlining these processes and creating a team culture of openness and psychological safety. Source: A supportive forum for continued learning and collaboration at NOAA Fisheries Alaska

NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center Ecosystem Status Report Automation team was united by working on reports with many contributors of maps, time series data that must be compiled into 20-page reports. Source: Nationwide Openscapes Training at NOAA Fisheries Science Centers: Facilitating Collaboration, Skill-sharing, and Open Science

The NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center Trawl and Plankton Branch team focused on “Where are we going and how do we get there”, and plans to do better documentation, use GitHub, which in the near-term involves setting up discussions to include more team members and set up collaborative processes. Source: Nationwide Openscapes Training at NOAA Fisheries Science Centers: Facilitating Collaboration, Skill-sharing, and Open Science

Screenshot from the ADRIFT Field Methods website created through the Openscapes Program. This is a living document where we can outline our methodology and update/archive specific components of our methods and hardware as changes are made. Credit: NOAA Fisheries / Kourtney Burger. Source: Sound Bytes: Championing Open Science

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