Handbook on How to Be an Open Scientist for Early-Career Researchers

Alan D Pitts
PhD candidate at Univeristy of Camerino

Doctoral candidates of the International School of Advanced Studies at the University of Camerino (Unicam) in Italy have taken the first steps towards implementing institutional Open Science initiatives by collectively writing a practical handbook on Open Science for early-career researchers just like them.

Unicam is one of the oldest universities in the world and hosts a vibrant international PhD community. Founded in 1336, and officially recognised by Pope Benedict XII, Unicam has been widely regarded over its long history as a beacon of academic thought. Today, bolstered by the efforts of the doctoral candidate community, the university continues to build on this distinguished history by marching forward into the new age of science as an early supporter of Open Science practices.

The writing of the handbook on Open Science began in the spring of 2018 during a Unicam transferable skills training seminar, and was coordinated by Karen Vandevelde at University of Antwerp and Anna Maria Eleuteri at Unicam. An interactive seminar involving 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-year PhD candidates, and led by Alan Pitts, Tiziano Volatilli, and Hannah Beth Riegel, was tasked with identifying key principles of Open Science and providing practical information and resources on how to do Open Science in the form of a handbook.

How to Be an Open Scientist is intended to serve as a resource for early-career researchers who want to learn, in an easy manner and with practical examples, about Open Science and how to implement Open Science into their research projects. The handbook proposes a bottom-up workflow and includes data management, data sharing, open source code sharing, involving the public in research, and sharing results with scientific colleagues and society.

Doctoral candidates, who are mainly trained to collect data, conduct research, and publish articles, are usually already familiar with tools and technologies for sharing. The handbook offers a clear roadmap on how to integrate such everyday skills and tools into procedures that lead to greater research efficiency and success as well as practically help early-career researchers become open scientists. The shift to Open Science starts with the researchers!