Open Science Education

A didactic framework: Recommendations from the EU project ROSiE

A woman with glasses holds up a book.

In an era of knowledge abundance, we need to ensure that our learners and researchers not only have access to information, but also have the skills to use it responsibly. The call for transparency and ethical research is growing louder, and Open Science promotes collaboration, innovation and quality of research.

By putting Open Science Education into practice, we better prepare future generations of scientists and graduates for the demands of this era. It is time to move from theory to practice and provide educational institutions with the resources to promote open science. Only then will science be not only open, but also responsible and ethical.

In the dynamic world of science and research, the EU project ROSiE (Realising Open Science in Europe) has developed practical tools to promote the responsible conduct of open science. One focus was on training students and researchers in the basic principles of research ethics and integrity in the context of open science.

The didactic framework of ROSiE is multi-layered and comprises the following key aspects:

  1. Defining the skills and attitudes that learners should acquire to be successful in a rapidly changing scientific landscape.
  2. Establish clear learning objectives and indicators to measure progress on these skills.
  3. Selection of the relevant topics to be covered in the training materials.
  4. Development of teaching and learning strategies to ensure effective and sustainable educational experiences.

The training materials developed by ROSiE are aimed at a broad target group, including students, young researchers and experienced scientists from various scientific disciplines.

A central component of this Europe-wide project is the 21st Century Skills approach, which emphasises the need to develop personal, social and ethical skills to prepare university graduates for the demands of the digital age.

Students and early career researchers trained in this approach are better equipped to work in interdisciplinary teams, tackle complex challenges, make ethically informed decisions and navigate a globalised world. The ROSiE consortium has developed a didactic framework that puts learners at the centre and enables them to actively participate in the educational process and learn cooperatively.

Original publication: Signe Mežinska, Jekaterina Kalēja, Ilze Mileiko, Ivars Neiders (2021): Didactic framework including learning outcomes and indicators for their achievement. URL:

The four pillars of Open Science Education

The following skills and attitudes have been identified by ROSiE as the four pillars required for the responsible practice of Open Science:

  1. Mindset: This refers to an awareness of the importance of Open Science in local and global contexts as well as participation in the self-regulation of the Open Science community with regard to ethical and integrity-related aspects.
  2. Personal and social responsibility: This means taking both personal and professional responsibility for the implementation of Open Science and the achievement of results. It also includes the willingness to openly share one’s own research data, results, tools and publications and to value the work of others.
  3. Epistemological skills: This includes the competence to carefully organise, present and use open data and knowledge. It also includes the ability to critically assess when data, information or scientific results have been created by others. It also includes the ability to recognise ethical and integrity-related problems in the context of open science.
  4. Collaborative problem solving: This includes the ability to apply critical thinking to jointly analyse ethical and integrity-related problems in Open Science. It also includes the ability to discuss these issues, find solutions and make decisions within the Open Science community.

Goals and competences in open science education

When training open science skills, the ROSie consortium recommends starting with the teaching of students. They recommend the following learning objectives. Students should develop the following knowledge and skills:

  1. Understanding the ethical foundations of Open Science.
  2. Recognising the importance of Open Science for identifying and solving scientific and social problems.
  3. Recognising possible types of misconduct in research in the context of Open Science.
  4. Awareness of the importance of the quality of data sets and the responsible use of research results in the context of Open Science.
  5. Knowledge of the criteria for best practice in open access publishing.
  6. Development of critical thinking skills.

Early career researchers should be able to develop a deeper understanding and more advanced application of open science practices compared to students. This includes:

  1. In-depth knowledge of the specific applications of Open Science in their field of research and the ability to integrate these concepts into their research work.
  2. A comprehensive understanding of the infrastructural challenges and opportunities associated with Open Science, including knowledge of data management, data repositories and Open Access publishing.
  3. The ability to present and share research data and results in a way that meets the requirements of open science principles, including compliance with licence terms and open access guidelines.
  4. Knowledge of best practices in collaboration and resource sharing in the open science community.
  5. A deeper understanding of ethical and integrity-related issues in the context of Open Science and the ability to recognise and address these in complex research situations.
  6. Advanced skills in critical thinking and in analysing case studies and scenarios that present ethical and integrity-related challenges in Open Science.

Overall, early career researchers should be able to apply Open Science principles and practices more comprehensively in their own research and actively contribute to the promotion of Open Science in their scientific community.

Senior scientists are characterised by the following differences compared to junior researchers:

  1. Leadership and mentorship: They act as mentors and role models for early career researchers, lead research projects and promote open science in the community. Based on their experience, they recognise ethical and integrity-related problems in connection with open science at an early stage and develop solutions with their research groups.
  2. Extended networks: They use their broader networks to support open science initiatives and promote collaborations.
  3. Research funding: You have access to larger research budgets and can provide or support financial resources for open science projects.

Training topics for responsible open science practice

ROSiE has developed training materials for various disciplines. Regardless of the specialisation, these training materials cover seven basic training contents.

(1) Ethical and social foundations of Open Science and their relevance:

  • Emergence, historical context and justification of Open Science.
  • Benefits and significance of Open Science for different interest groups.
  • Main challenges in the implementation of Open Science.

(2) Quality of research results and data sets:

  • Responsibility of researchers for the quality of the data collected, processed and stored.
  • Guidelines for the appropriate preparation and management of datasets and metadata.

(3) Protection of the rights of participants in relation to Open Science:

  • Special aspects of informed consent in the context of Open Science.
  • Responsible methods for anonymisation and pseudonymisation.
  • Principles for sharing data, materials and codes in the context of Open Science.

(4) Prevention of research misconduct in the context of Open Science:

  • Identification and avoidance of questionable research practices in the context of Open Science.

(5) Responsible sharing and use of open data:

  • Trust and trustworthiness in relation to Open Science.
  • Responsible storage and use of open data.
  • Principles for sharing data, materials and codes in the context of Open Science.

(6) Responsible dissemination and publication practices:

  • Protection of intellectual property in the context of Open Science.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of open peer review.
  • Responsible publication of preprints.
  • Topics relating to open access, open access publishing and problematic practices in this area.

(7) Protection of intellectual property in the context of Open Science:

  • Intellectual property and fair competition.
  • Questions about authorship and acknowledgements.
  • The use of open licences.

Diese Schulungsthemen sind von zentraler Bedeutung, um ein Verständnis für die ethischen und praktischen Aspekte von Open Science zu entwickeln und verantwortungsvolle Praktiken in der Forschung zu fördern.

Additional topics for economics and social sciences

Respect for the autonomy of the participantsWhat are the requirements for informed consent in the context of Open Science? How can research participants be informed about the open sharing of data? What special requirements are there for the consent/authorisation of vulnerable groups in connection with Open Science?
Open exchange of quantitative and qualitative dataHow can quantitative data in the social sciences be passed on responsibly? Is it possible to share qualitative data responsibly, and if so, how?
Anonymisation and pseudonymisation of open dataHow can the confidentiality of data be guaranteed? What anonymisation and pseudonymisation techniques are available and how can they be applied to quantitative data in the social sciences? Is it possible to anonymise qualitative data, and if so, how?
Data MiningWhat are the ethical aspects of using artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyse open data in the social sciences?
Citizen science in the open social sciencesWhy is citizen science important in the social sciences? What are the ethical challenges of conducting citizen science in the social sciences? How do you plan a citizen science project responsibly? How can citizen scientists be involved in a social science research project?
Inclusion of open science aspects in the evaluation of researchersHow can open science practices be incorporated and rewarded in recruitment concepts and strategies in the social sciences? What are the benefits and risks? What are the best practices?

Effective teaching and learning strategies in ROSiE training materials

The ROSiE training materials draw on several proven teaching and learning strategies to achieve optimal results:

  1. Collaborative problem solving: Collaborative problem solving is one of the key strategies in the ROSiE training materials. Under this approach, the problem is tackled through collaboration and the sharing of ideas. The authors of 21st Century Skills (see references below) emphasise that this method is based on a willingness to participate, mutual understanding and the ability to manage interpersonal conflict.

    In contrast to cooperative learning, in which tasks are divided up and worked on in parallel, in collaborative problem solving the activities of the learners are closely interlinked. The contributions of the learners build on each other and the actions of one learner can be taken up or supplemented by others. This approach makes it possible to incorporate different perspectives and experiences, promote mutual support among learners and increase the quality of solutions. Given the collaborative nature of Open Science, the diversity of actors and stakeholders involved, and the complexity of ethical and integrity issues in Open Science, collaborative problem solving proves to be a highly effective method for teaching and learning that is applicable to real-world situations.
  2. Case-based activities: Case-based activities are effective ways to engage students in the subject matter. They include individual reflections, group discussions and joint problem solving based on real cases.
  3. Dialogue activities: In this method, an abstract philosophical question is first posed, for example “What is good scientific practice?” Participants are then encouraged to contribute concrete examples from their own experience. One or more examples are then discussed in facilitated group discussions, where trainees are encouraged to develop analyses together, listen actively and show mutual respect and attention.

    Another form of dialogue-based approach is moral case counselling, in which the participants jointly and systematically reflect on a real case. Here, the moderator takes a non-directive approach and focuses on the quality of the counselling process and the moral issues. This promotes the development of collaborative problem-solving skills and a reflective attitude.
  4. Transformative learning: Internalising values is a challenging task when teaching and learning ethics and developing a “moral compass”. Transformative learning is a proven method in adult education developed by Jack Mezirow. Its aim is to challenge learners’ perspectives, rethink existing values or beliefs and change the way they perceive and view problems. This approach often begins with a “disorienting dilemma”, a situation that challenges the learner’s personal worldview and serves as a trigger for personal change. As part of the ROSiE project, those responsible want to develop examples of such disorienting dilemmas that deal with ethical issues in relation to Open Science. They will show ways in which these dilemmas can be discussed in order to promote transformative learning processes.

Reading tips from the ROSiE project

Griffin, P., & Care, E. (2015a). The ATC21S Method. In P. Griffin & E. Care (Eds.), Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills: Methods and Approach (pp. 3-33). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

Griffin, P., Care, E. (Ed.) (2015b). Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills: Methods and approach: Springer.

Han, H. (2015). Virtue Ethics, Positive Psychology, and a New Model of Science and Engineering Ethics Education. Science and Engineering Ethics, 21(2), 441-460. doi:10.1007/s11948-014-9539-7

Hesse, F., Care, E., Buder, J., Sassenberg, K., & Griffin, P. (2015). A framework for teachable collaborative problem solving skills. In Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills (pp. 37-56): Springer.

Kretz, L. (2014). Emotional responsibility and teaching ethics: student empowerment. Ethics and Education, 9(3), 340-355. doi:10.1080/17449642.2014.951555

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning: ERIC.

Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series: ERIC.

Molewijk, A. C., Abma, T., Stolper, M., & Widdershoven, G. (2008). Teaching ethics in the clinic. The theory and practice of moral case deliberation. Journal of Medical Ethics, 34(2), 120-124.

Pimple, K. D. (2007). Using case studies in teaching research ethics.

Saran, R., & Neisser, B. (2004). Enquiring Minds Socratic dialogue in education.

Tammeleht, A., Rodríguez-Triana, M. J., Koort, K., & Löfström, E. (2019). Collaborative case-based learning process in research ethics. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 15(1), 6. doi:10.1007/s40979-019-0043-3

Todd, E. M., Torrence, B. S., Watts, L. L., Mulhearn, T. J., Connelly, S., & Mumford, M. D. (2017). Effective practices in the delivery of research ethics education: A qualitative review of instructional methods. Accountability in research, 24(5), 297-321.

van den Bemt, V., Doornbos, J., Meijering, L., Plegt, M., & Theunissen, N. (2018). Teaching ethics when working with geocoded data: a novel experiential learning approach. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 42(2), 293-310. doi:10.1080/03098265.2018.1436534

Original publication: Signe Mežinska, Jekaterina Kalēja, Ilze Mileiko, Ivars Neiders (2021): Didactic framework including learning outcomes and indicators for their achievement. URL:

This post was created on 8 January 2024.

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