(Photo: Vlad Tchompalov/Unsplash)

To solve our most intractable and pressing scientific problems, humanity needs the best possible science to innovate solutions. The best possible science is science that is open, reproducible, replicable, transparent, and inclusive, says Open Science advocate and SFI Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow Helena Miton.

Miton teaches the newest tutorial on Complexity Explorer, which introduces learners to Open Science and the set of practices it includes. Open Science is a methodological approach throughout the research cycle, from preregistering research questions to publishing final results. Miton hopes her course will be used as a teaching tool to educate the next generation of scientists about the applications and advantages of Open Science.

To that end, Miton’s course outlines a “buffet” of techniques — including open methods, open code, open materials and data, preprints, and open access. “I constructed the course with the goal of providing one entry to the whole spectrum of practices in the same place, rather than in a piecemeal fashion, which is how I had to learn them,” she says. “After watching the videos, you will have a good foundation in the different Open Science methods and resources for learning how to apply them.”

Miton sees Open Science as one of many ways to improve science, and she applies the principles in her own work. “A lot of people agree on Open Science in theory but are reluctant to put it into practice because they believe it requires extra effort. As a researcher, I find that Open Science approaches have many advantages and provide a different way to organize my workflow that isn’t any costlier. These approaches give structure and robustness to my research process.”

In addition to enhancing her own research, Miton appreciates the collective benefits of Open Science. Open Science contributes to diversity in science, in part, she says, “by shifting away from traditional economic incentives, like the power of publishers, and rethinking how researchers are evaluated. The goal is to make sure that scientific knowledge is accessible to all.”

The importance of making science available to non-scientists was accentuated for Miton during the pandemic. “Scientists need the general public to trust them, especially as we’ve seen over the last year and a half. Transparency is one way we can foster trust in science. If we want people to trust scientists, we have to be accountable, and transparency helps accomplish that.”

The course on Complexity Explorer is, of course, free and open to all.

The Open Science tutorial will be available on Complexity Explorer on September 13.

For more details, and to enroll, visit ost.complexityexplorer.org

Preview Miton’s syllabus and supplementary materials for the course on the Open Science Framework’s website.