Graduate Training in Open Science
News and Announcements
So, what's been happening with the Open Science Training Initiative recently? Read on for a selection of news stories, announcements, links and more. We'll update this page as and when things happen, whether that involves papers, seminars, conference appearances or other exciting events.

February 2018: Used our RBL Lego workshops? Get in touch!

We're in the process of putting together an education paper on rotation-based learning, Lego OSTI and metacognition in mathematics. It's a great opportunity to review the success of our rotation-based learning teaching pattern, think about how to refine it and consider the directions it might take in the future. If you've used our Lego materials in any form, or have run a rotation-based Lego course inspired by our approaches, then we'd love to hear your feedback and suggestions. Contact us via enquiries[at]

January 2018: Developments in Rotation-Based Learning at RHUL

This year's OSTI Lego sessions are now underway in the Department of Mathematics at Royal Holloway, University of London. You can view the main page for this module here. Check back to our News page in the coming weeks to see some of this year's models - we've been delighted with students' creativity and really impressed by the intricacy of their designs.

November 2017: Learning With Lego at John Innes Centre, Norwich

OSTI's Learning With Lego will be making an appearance at the OpenPlant mixer event, to be held on November 9th at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. If you haven't tried our Lego workshops already then it'll be a great opportunity to experience one and develop your communication skills through self-reflective practice.

UPDATE: There were some fantastic attempts at the Lego microscope models on the day; you can view the results on Twitter: the session provided useful insights into reproducibility skills and the necessity of good technical documentation.

June 2017: Coding with Kids on Oxford Sparks

Oxford Sparks have adapted our Lego-based RBL educational template for teaching children how to code, and their adaptation has already made an appearance at outreach events in Oxfordshire. It's great to see new applications of our RBL technique, particularly when it's aimed at a new age group - in this case, primary school children. You can find the activity here on the Oxford Sparks website. If you try it out as an educator or a participant, we'd love to hear from you with feedback - get in touch via enquiries[at]

June 2016: Outcomes of OSTI's Rotation-Based Learning With Lego at Royal Holloway, University of London

Mathematics students at RHUL have yet again showed great enthusiasm for the OSTI Lego component of their first-year undergraduate course. This year's incarnation of the course extends the original concept (hosted here at Mozilla Science); following the initial maker session, students are required to design novel constructions and write technical instructions for their assembly. A brief overview of the learning outcomes is viewable here.

September 2015: Learning with Lego confirmed at RHUL

We're delighted to announce that our 'Learning With Lego' reproducibility training will now form part of the MT121 Introduction to Applied Mathematics course, within the BSc Mathematics program at Royal Holloway, University of London. MT121 is a compulsory, first-year undergraduate course and provides an excellent opportunity to train students in self-reflective practice. In addition to our workshop sessions, we'll also be observing how the skills learnt in our workshops impact upon the quality of students' written mathematical solutions in the rest of the course, gaining insight into how this approach can be employed to improve metacognition.

February 2015: OSTI wins Best Open Science Initiative at the Open Knowledge Awards

This year's Open Knowledge Awards coincided with Worldwide Open Data Day and were held at the MediaLab Prado in Madrid. Voted for by a diverse jury with representatives ranging from Germany to El Salvador, Ecuador to Belgium, the awards recognise projects whose use of open knowledge and open data bring substantial benefits to the public, industry or economics. Nominations are open to initiatives from all over the world. We're delighted to share the news that the Open Science Training Initiative was the winner of the category for "Best Open Science Initiative". You can see the full list of winners and runners-up on the OK Awards website. Many thanks to all the organisers at OKFN Spain!

February 2015: Plans and Progress for 2015

Accessible materials for dyslexic and sight-impaired users, studies on the efficacy of rotation-based learning, OSTI's addition to Mozilla teaching resources, and recent success at Royal Holloway...they're all part of the Plans and Progress round-up over on the "Stilettoed Mathematician" blog.

December 2014: Shuttleworth Funding

As you may have noticed from the new logo on our website, we've just received generous support from the Shuttleworth Foundation, in the form of a $5000 Flash Grant. This is fantastic news for us, and will provide much-needed support to keep the project going: although OSTI was initially set up as part of a Panton Fellowship with the Open Knowledge Foundation in 2012-13, it's been run on a voluntary basis since that time. So grants like this make a massive difference in how we're able to develop and maintain the project. We have several plans for putting the Shuttleworth funding to good use, and will update you on the details as each stage is finalised. Exciting times ahead!

October 2014: Translators

The language of open science is a global one, and we want our materials to be accessible to teachers and students around the world - not just in English-speaking areas! Our call for volunteer translators for our teaching materials is still open, so if you're fluent in English and at least one other language and have an interest in open science, then please get in touch by contacting translations(at)

September 2014: Lego-Based OSTI at the University of London

The Department of Mathematics at Royal Holloway, University of London, has just started its inaugural Lego-based OSTI program this semester. Designed to get students thinking about scientific communication and replicability, this LEGO incarnation of OSTI runs on a weekly basis and will this year form part of a teaching evaluation exercise too. The course is tailored to first-year undergraduates and will be opened up to second and third years during the final sessions. If you're interested in running a similar course for your students, whether graduate or undergraduate, then we'd love to hear from you.

May 2014: Mozilla: Lo-Fi, No-Fi

Our "Learning With Lego" reproducibility session from SpotOn London last November will soon be appearing as part of Mozilla's "Lo-Fi, No-Fi" Teaching Kit. Lo-Fi, No-Fi provides tools and resources for teaching web-related concepts in situations where connectivity is limited or non-existent. We'll be posting details here on our news page once our Lego workshop is up there and ready to go!

May 2014: OSTI at OKFest 2014

Thanks to the generous support of the Wikimedia Foundation, we'll be in attendance at the Open Knowledge Festival 2014 in Berlin. One of our main aims at present is to expand and develop the OSTI community and Wikimedia's support will really help us in achieving that. Perhaps you're interested in translating OSTI materials into other languages? Or maybe you'd like to run an OSTI course at your home institution? Either way, keep an eye out for Sophie Kay if you'd like to discuss either of these options (or anything else relating to open science training/education), or alternatively you can email her via sophie[at]

May 2014: Seminar Times Confirmed for the S-Lab Awards Conference this September

The Open Science Training Initiative will be appearing at the annual conference for the S-Lab Awards this September. Our seminar/Q&A sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, 3rd September at 12 noon and 1:30pm, so if you're not able to catch one, then hopefully you'll be able to make it to the other. September 3rd is the final day of the conference and admission for the afternoon will be open to external delegates as well. Come and join us!

April 2014: OSTI Through to Stage 2 of the S-Lab Awards

We're delighted to announce that the Open Science Training Initiative is through to Stage 2 of the S-Lab Awards, which recognise best practice in laboratory management, training and teaching. One of 58 organisations, initiatives and institutions to make the shortlist, OSTI is nominated for the "Laboratory Based Teaching and Learning" category. A full list of nominees is available via the official S-Lab Press Release. You can find out more about the awards on the S-Lab website, Winners will be announced later this year and are expected to present at the annual S-Lab conference, "Supporting World Class Science", on the 2nd and 3rd September 2014 at King's College, London.

March 2014: Lego OSTI Training at Royal Holloway

The Lego incarnation of the Open Science Training Initiative will be coming to the Department of Mathematics at Royal Holloway, University of London, as of September 2014. Inspired by our reproducibility workshop at SpotOn London last year, the course will train undergraduate students in scientific communication by requiring them to work in teams to design and build intricate models and successfully convey the design and construction process to other participants. The course will take place over the first semester of the academic year and will form part of a study on the efficacy of rotation based learning for fostering written communication skills in young scientists. We're really excited about this - watch here for more details soon!

February 2014: Call for Volunteer Translators

Would you be interested in joining our team of volunteer translators? Whatever your specialism, if you're fluent in English and one or more other languages and have an interest in open science, we'd love to hear from you. OSTI materials have already appeared in Finnish and we're looking to produce versions in Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Arabic and any other languages where there's demand for open science training. Get in touch with us on translations[at] if you'd like to get involved, or would like to hear more about our plans.

January 2014: Mozilla Science Community Call

OSTI is kicking off 2014 with an appearance on the Mozilla Science Lab community call on Thursday, 9th January. Scheduled for 11am ET (4pm GMT), the call will include a piece from OSTI's Sophie Kay as follow-up to last month's article on reproducibility training (see news below). The session is open to the public, so please do drop in, listen and ask questions if you're interested! More details available over on the Mozilla blog.

December 2013: Mozilla Science Blog

The Open Science Training Initiative has been featured on the Mozilla Science Lab blog. Entitled, "Reproducible Research: Teaching The 'How'", the article discusses how the oft-overlooked perspective of the research user can be brought back into the spotlight. You can read the the article here.

November 2013: #solo13lego at SpotOn London

We had a fantastic response to our OSTI-style Lego and Reproducibility session at SpotOn London, the annual conference for science policy and communication. Many thanks to all who attended! Entitled, "Making Research Useful: The Consequences of (Bad) Communication", the session required teams of attendees to build a Lego model of an optical microscope, using deliberately flawed instructions - in only 35 minutes. By the end of the building process, teams had to identify how and why the instructions failed to account for the end user and suggest how they might be improved. This one-hour workshop represented a shortened version of the Reproducibility phase typically run as the first half of OSTI's rotation-based structure.

A summary of the session is available over on Sophie Kay's blog, "The Stilettoed Mathematician", in addition to video footage on the Solo13 website. Slides and Lego instructions from #solo13lego are now available to download from the OSTI GitHub repository, under a CC-BY licence.

Owing to the success and popularity of #solo13lego, we've been invited to run a longer, 3 hour session at the upcoming SpotOn hackday, set to take place in early 2014. This longer workshop will use full rotation-based learning and draw on the version control and licensing approaches used in OSTI.

November 2013: OSTI at MozFest

MozFest, or the Mozilla Festival to give it its full name, took place in early November at the Ravensbourne media and design campus in London. As always, MozFest proved an action-packed few days, with a wide variety of workshops and activities relating to the web, coding and digital/tech education. During MozFest, OSTI's Sophie Kay was interviewed by Julie Gould as part of the "Citizens of Science" podcast series and provided a quick introduction to some of the ideas behind the Open Science Training Initiative:

November 2013: Oxford Teaching Awards

We were delighted in November when the University of Oxford recognised the Open Science Training Initiative with an Oxford Teaching Award. Coordinated by the Oxford Learning Institute, the awards scheme takes place annually and recognises excellence in college and University teaching.

October 2013: Lego and Reproducibility at SpotOn 2013 this November

OSTI will be making an appearance at this year's SpotOn London, the annual conference hosted by the Nature Publishing Group. We'll be running a session inspired by OSTI's Rotation Based Learning approach, pitting groups of attendees against one another as they build molecular models in Lego. The session is set for 3:30pm on Saturday 9th November and will take place at the British Library. Further details are available from the event listing on the SpotOn website.

October 2013: OSTI Slide Decks Available Online!

All slide decks from the Open Science Training Initiative are now available for download from our GitHub repository. Guidance notes to accompany the lectures will be added in due course.

October 2013: OSTI Selected for Case Study on the LTG Blog

Further to OSTI's success at the OxTalent awards earlier this year, a case study of our initiative has now appeared on the blog for the Learning Technologies Group. You can read the piece in full here.

September 2013: Looking ahead to Open Access Week in October

The Open Science Training Initiative will also be making an appearance at the University of Oxford during Open Access Week, as part of an interactive seminar session on the afternoon of Thursday 24th October. Session booking has now opened via the University of Oxford's IT Services website. Entitled, "The Open Scientist: The Why, When and How of Open Scientific Research", the session will take place in the Radcliffe Science Library at 2pm.

August 2013: ENGAGE Seminar Confirmed for 11/11/2013

Following on from OSTI's success at the OxTALENT awards, OSTI director, Sophie Kay, has been invited to give a seminar on the Open Science Training Initiative as part of the University of Oxford's Engage series during Michaelmas Term. Set for 12:30pm on Monday 11th November, the talk is aimed at researchers and academics of any level. Keen educators, open aficionados and digital innovators may find the session particularly relevant. Feel free to contact us over email at enquiries[at] to be updated on details of the session once a location is confirmed.

June 2013: OSTI wins OxTALENT Award

OSTI triumphed at the annual OxTALENT awards, winning the category for Open Educational Resources. Established in 2002 to recognise excellence and innovation in teaching and learning, the OxTALENT awards aim to support and nurture technology-aided educational approaches. You can read more about the awards, find information on the winners and view photographs from the presentation ceremony here. Detailed case studies on the winners should be appearing on the OxTALENT blog later this year.

May 2013: OSTI Featured on

Avid followers of the site/online publication may have noticed OSTI's appearance in the Education blogs this month, in an invited article by Sophie Kershaw, entitled "Science finds a better foundation for research in the open".

May 2013: EC Open Education 2030

A paper focusing on Rotation Based Learning (RBL) and the Open Science Training Initiative has recently appeared in the Higher Education strand of the European Commission's collection of vision papers, produced in response to the `Open Education 2030` call. Entitled, "Hybridised Open Educational Resources and Rotation Based Learning", the paper outlines the teaching pattern of RBL and examines how this approach might be adapted to a variety of teaching scenarios.

Click here to download a PDF of the OE2030 paper.

Rotation Based Learning lies at the heart of the Open Science Training Initiative and its aim to foster reproducible practice in graduate students' work. You can also access other papers from the three topic streams of Lifelong Learning, Further Education and Higher Education on the European Commission's website for OE2030.

May 2013: Post-Pilot Report Released

After a bit of a wait and a great deal of feedback, opinions and suggestions from the students and educators involved with the inaugural OSTI, we're proud to announce the release of the post-pilot report. If you're interested in hearing how open science training can work in practice, how it can benefit scientific research, and where it might head from here, then click on the link below to download a copy for yourself.

Click here to download a PDF of the OSTI Post-Pilot Report

All images within the "OSTI Bubbles" design are released under licence by the original artists. Image credits for page banner: Earth, Sun by Nasa Goddard, CC-BY-2.0; Crystal by National Museum of Wales, CC-BY-NC-2.0; Silicon Chip by Jannes Pockele, CC-BY-2.0; Bacteria by AJ Cann, CC-BY-NC-2.0; Neurons by Patrick Hoesly, CC-BY-2.0.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all site content (including downloadable course materials) is authored by Sophie Kay and is released subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence, CC-BY-4.0. This permits distribution, reuse and remixing of the work subject to author attribution.