Adopting Principled Education

Implementing fairer teaching and mentoring practices


In this page, we describe easy ways to adopt principled teaching and mentoring practices. That is, (a) integrating open and reproducible science tenets into your teaching workflow; (b) striving to teach science (or scholarship) as a process of knowledge acquisition rather than a collection of scientific evidence, as doing so does not yield scientific literacy; (c) share publicly your teaching and mentoring (and Lab) materials so that other educators can make use of your excellent work, which also foster social justice through the democratization of scientific educational resources and pedagogies; (d) recognize that Higher Education is a profoundly unequal, non-inclusive and non-diverse environment due to a plethora of societal constraints, which also shapes academia itself, and which we as educators should try to address in class (whatever the subject taught) by integrating course content with topics of representation, diversity, equity, and inclusion. See below for 7 ways FORRT tips.

  1. Evaluate your current teaching and mentorship practices.
  2. Add literature or assignments to your syllabus that teach open science concepts.
  3. Make your teaching and mentoring materials open.
  4. Help students and mentees learn more about open science practices.
  5. Create opportunities for students to engage in Open Science projects.
  6. Make your research open.
  7. Become an advocate at your own institution/professional society.


1. Evaluate your current teaching and mentorship practices

A great first step is to reflect on your current teaching and mentoring practices, and the extent to which they communicate the basic tenets of open and reproducible science.

How?

  • To help you in this process, FORRT has developed a self-assessment survey that provides tailored feedback and resources for educators and mentors.

2. Add literature or assignments to your syllabus that teach open science concepts

Including sources into your syllabus that discuss open and transparent research can enrich students’ education by helping them think about research more critically. This can be a great addition to research methods courses or any course that requires students to evaluate or synthesize knowledge.

How?


3. Make your teaching and mentoring materials open

Open educational resources allow community members to make contributions and continuously improve the materials. For example, they can enhance their documentation, add media (transcripts, voice, video), translate materials, improve accessibility, and much more. Educators can then reuse and adapt these materials for their own courses, thus reducing the need to produce high-quality materials on their own.

How?

  • FORRT Pedagogies aims to collect and catalogue exemplary instances of principled education - i.e., successful pedagogies in teaching or mentoring of open and reproducible principles, and are detailed examples of the processes by which ideals in teaching, mentoring, and openness of these materials come to materialize.
  • FORRT maintains 700+ curated educational resources on Open and Reproducible topics. Submit your own resources so that others can adopt them easily into their teaching.
  • The Open Textbook Library can be used to adopt existing open access textbooks into your own teaching as well as to submit open-access textbooks.
  • The OSKB can be used to discover open scholarship resources created and curated by the community.

Consider making your teaching materials FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable)

  • Garcia et al. (2020) recommend 10 simple rules for making materials easier to find, (re)use, and adapt (see Figure 1 below). Their key recommendations include:

    • Properly describing materials by adding sufficient meta-data and explanations that are useful to trainees.
    • Giving materials an unique identifying number or URL and adding them to an audience-specific registry.
    • Defining rules for who can access the materials.
    • Creating materials in interoperable formats that allow (re)use in different software programmes and operating systems.
    • Keeping materials up-to-date and inviting contributions from others.

Garcia et al. (2020) Figure 1

Figure 1: An illustration from the paper “Ten simple rules for making training materials FAIR” by Garcia et al. (2020). Credit: Luc Wiegers and Celia van Gelder ( 2019) under Creative Commons CC-BY-4.0 license. No modifications have been made to the original.


4. Help students and mentees learn more about open science practices

The first step in learning about something is finding the right information. You can help your students learn more about open science by sharing with them suitable introductory resources and discussing them together.

How?

  • Please consider taking part on one of FORRT’s Towards Social Justice in Academia Initiatives by:
    • attending, participating or hosting one “Open (and Reproducible) Office hours” where anyone in the world wishing to learn, adopt, teach/mentor and disseminate open and reproducible science tenets can attend.
    • participating in the remote mentorship program which aims to facilitate and encourage adhesion to open and reproducible research practices in its earliest stages for (a) students from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds; (b) non-WEIRD; and (c) when there is no local OS-friendly institutions or personnel.
    • supporting underprivileged and underrepresented early-career researchers by serving as a link between willing mentors and mentees in their engagement with academia, its several duties (e.g., application materials, grant/funding proposals, academic writing, research development, statistical analyses, etc.), as well as open and reproducible science practices. It is FORRT’s goal to chip away at the barriers that exist and to promote a more inclusive environment for all (Roberson, 2020).
  • Encourage students to join a local ReproducibiliTea chapter. ReproducibiliTea is a world-wide journal club initiative that encourages students and staff to read and discuss together journal articles related to open science. If one doesn’t exist in your university, you can start your own local chapter!
  • Read together Seven Easy Steps to Open Science: An introduction to open science using an annotated reading list of 7 key topics (e.g., pre-registration, open data, reproducible research).
  • Or Easing Into Open Science: A Tutorial for Graduate Students: simple steps for graduate students to start adopting open science practices, along with resources and advice.
  • Encourage your mentees to look for further personal qualifications and follow courses or workshops related to open science research ( see here for a variety of Open and Reproducible science resources but list of teaching specific resource is in production):
    • e.g., consider teaching an activity relating to p-hacking for students using Schönbrodt’s p-hacker (Schönbrodt, F. D. (2016). p-hacker: Train your p-hacking skills! Retrieved from http://shinyapps.org/apps/p-hacker/).
    • e.g., consider teaching an activity in which they are given purely random data (to which they are a priori blind) and are asked to find results. Tal Yarkoni is known to perform a similar exercise in academic conferences where he presents scholars with a scatter plot of random data (without saying so) and ask for attendees to identify ‘outliers’.
    • e.g., consider making an activity relating to forking paths ( follow this excellent tutorial, but also check out FORRT Summaries on this topic.)
  • Conduct a class activity or course that uses the pedagogically nifty ‘The 4-Step Robustness Check’ which breaks down concepts of reproducibility and replicability exceedingly well:
    1. Check the internal consistency of the statistical results
    2. Reanalyze the data using the original analytical strategy
    3. Check if the result is robust to alternative analytical choices
    4. Perform a replication study in a new sample
  • And check out these introductions to Open Science topics

5. Create opportunities for students to engage in Open Science projects

Getting your students involved in Open Science projects is a great way to help them learn more about open and transparent practices. This will give them an opportunity to meet other like-minded researchers and learn from them about open research. This can be a great mentoring experience, particularly if they are just starting out to learn about these concepts.

How?


6. Make your research open

Increasingly, well-documented research repositories are used as educational resources in undergraduate and graduate education. For example, open data and materials can be used in the classroom for creating hands-on activities (e.g., data analysis exercises) or mini-replication projects. By making your research openly available, you increase the chance that other educators can use them in their own teaching.

How?

  • Open Science Framework: A popular platform where research data and materials can be easily shared and indexed.
  • Zenodo: Another platform where research materials are shared and indexed.
  • re3data : A directory of research repositories in many fields; useful for finding subject-specific repositories.

7. Become an advocate at your own institution/ professional society

A great way to adopt the values of FORRT is to advocate in your own institution about incorporating the values of open science and transparent research into teaching.

How?

  • If you are a member of your department’s teaching committee, you can try to encourage more educators to incorporate teaching these topics into their courses. It could mean as little as adding a slide to existing content or using a real-word example.
  • Join networks or societies that endorse open and transparent research.
  • E.g., UK Reproducibility network, repliCATS.
  • If you are a member of a professional society or a teaching union, advocate for the adoption of principles for openness, transparency, and equality in research and education.