ORION MOOC for Open Science in the Life Sciences

Overview of the Course

I have just completed the ORION MOOC for Open Science in the Life Sciences. The course is designed to run six weeks, offering six modules, each of which takes about two hours to complete. I (more or less) completed it over a week.

The course is described as an introduction to the concept of open science. It is thorough in its design and breadth of argument and offers a lot. It is free as it has been funded through the EU HORIZON 2020 funding program.

It is primarily aimed at those working in biomedicine, life sciences and other related research fields, and is intended to help scientists to share their research with the world more effectively. it would be beneficial for anyone conducting research that produces data of any sort though, and offers a lot of information about different publishing regimes which is a topic that has regularly appeared on the blog in the past.

Course Contents

The course introduces lots of useful tools and research practices, as well as Open Science principles. It is not moderated, self paced, but offers a certificate upon completion of all of the tasks. There is plenty to take away from the experience from following the lectures and materials offered without following up on the data uploads and forum discussions required for completion though. You can pick out what is interesting for yourself.

The MOOC opens with two modules on publishing and open access, open peer review, pre-registration and registered reports. Several links are supplied offering a real-life experience for anyone wishing to try out. Licensing is explained in terms of different levels of permission to reuse materials, with several different commons forms described in great detail (all including links).

Module three is dedicated to research data management and planning, with all of the above gearing up to addressing the needs of creating a FAIR and open data approach as described in module four. FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable, with much of this module dedicated to a systematic approach to data production and sharing.

Module five addresses the topics of science communication and public engagement, comparing these two fields in terms of their aims and approaches. Storytelling and prop use is shown and discussed, and citizen science is described in its broadest terms (including crowdfunding and project co-design).

The course closes with module six, dedicated to self-reflection and action, suggestions and reviews of the course itself and feedback.

Why Not?

I enjoyed this course. The communication techniques adopted are broad and really drew me in. From cartoon and comic strip type presentations to TED talks and storytelling, as well as single page overviews and power point presentations that offer overviews of the topics addressed, the pace and presentation styles kept me interested.

Why not check it out?

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