A quick #openscience #STEM diversity idea for assigning readings in courses

I am about to dig in and begin teaching ecology (large, lower-level course) and experimental design (smaller, upper-year offering). The preceding hyperlinks lead to the blogs that I use to teach each course. I also use twitter for announcements, and the students set up fb working groups for labs. Students also publish data with meta-data in both courses. However, I recognized that in assigning readings in previous years, I was not promoting open science very effectively.

Here are some proposed improvements in using readings to teach open science:
1. Ensure that the readings reflect the full diversity (or the diversity we must promote) of practitioners in our fields. I checked my assigned readings for ecology last year, 80% first-authored male peer-reviewed publications were assigned; whilst in experimental design, the sex ratio of first-authored papers was 50:50.  Be conscious of the author pool you assign to undergraduates to read.  There is an opportunity to engender equality and inspire.  Consider selecting publications from different institutions, journals, domains, nations, ecosystems, or author attributes.


2. Ensure that you assign a ‘significant’ proportion of the readings from open-access journals such as PLOS or PeerJ.


3. Ensure that you offer students the opportunity to shape a set of the assigned readings (at least in the smaller, upper-year courses). This is open science in action if you include discussion on selection criteria, merit, processing the literature, and promote general transparency in why you made certain selections to assign/promote.

openscience readings

4. If you have to do the selections of readings, use reddit or any other ‘vote up’ style tool to provide students with an opportunity to generate feedback.

5. Finally, and most importantly, assign open-science products for students to read and consider more than just standard publications.  Assign pre-prints, videos, datasets, methods, blogs, open lab notebooks, slideshare decks, code, github projects, or any other product that captures process in addition to end-product science.



The readings you assign are a form of advertising/promotion for that work, institution, set of authors, publication model, and form of science to students.
Use this opportunity to show the vast pool of students we mentor that process is important, collaboration is critical, and that open science is the only solution to global challenges not just in ecology and experimental design but in all of science.