Why NASA and federal agencies are declaring this the Year of Open Science

“I’m thrilled to be the Transform to Open Science lead for NASA, which has a 60-year legacy of pushing the limits of how science is used to understand the Universe, planetary systems and life on Earth. Much of NASA’s success can be attributed to a culture of openness for the public good. Since the 1990s, the agency has been a leading advocate for full and open access to data and algorithms.

That culture is needed now more than ever. Humanity is facing many intersecting challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change and food and water insecurity. To combat them, we must find breakthroughs faster, increase interdisciplinary expertise and improve how we translate research findings into action. This will require a fundamental shift: from simply sharing results in journal articles to collaborating openly, publishing reproducible results and implementing full inclusivity and transparency….

In May 2021, I sent a one-page call to action for a Year of Open Science to NASA’s chief science data officer, and received immediate support. NASA headquarters formed a team to develop the concept. We talked to as many people as possible to learn their motivations, concerns and future needs related to open science. After a year of such discussions, we had a path forward. In April 2022, I started an assignment at NASA to lead the 5-year, US$40-million-dollar Transform to Open Science mission, which will be kicked off with the year of open science….

First, we agreed on a definition: open science is the principle and practice of making research products and processes available to all, while respecting diverse cultures, maintaining security and privacy, and fostering collaborations, reproducibility and equity. Next, we set four goals for each agency involved in the Year of Open Science: to develop a strategic plan for open science; improve the transparency and equity of reviews; account for open-science activities in evaluations; and engage under-represented communities in the advancement of open science….”

NASA Seeks Feedback on Open-Source Sharing of Scientific Data – ExecutiveBiz

“NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is asking public and private sector entities for ideas on how to better manage data and computing infrastructure.

In a notice posted Thursday on SAM.gov, the directorate said that input from the request for information will support a larger goal to align the agency’s computing systems to Open-source Science policies.

The space agency established the Open-Source Science Initiative to promote early-stage sharing of software, data, documents and other relevant scientific knowledge in the spirit of transparency, inclusivity, accessibility and reproducibility.

To this end, SMD is seeking technologies and opportunities that can support open-science information and computing functions.

The RFI is aimed at U.S. and non-U.S. organizations from the industry, academe, government and science community. Individual researchers are also welcome to submit responses, which are due on Feb. 21….”

NASA Releases Updated Scientific Information Policy for Science Mission Directorate

“On December 8, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) released an important update to its comprehensive Scientific Information Policy (SPD-41a), which represents a significant percentage of NASA’s research expenditures. While this policy does not serve as NASA’s official response to the OSTP Nelson Memorandum, it is a good indication of what we are likely to ultimately see in NASA’s agency-wide public access plan, which is due out in February 2023….

Requires that peer-reviewed publications be made openly available with no embargo period via deposit in an agency-approved repository….

Requires that research data be shared at the time of publication or the end of the funding award….

Requires mission software to be developed and shared openly….

Requires that the proceedings of SMD-sponsored meetings and workshops be held openly to enable broad participation….”

NASA Releases Updated Scientific Information Policy for Science Mission Directorate

“On December 8, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) released an important update to its comprehensive Scientific Information Policy (SPD-41a), which represents a significant percentage of NASA’s research expenditures. While this policy does not serve as NASA’s official response to the OSTP Nelson Memorandum, it is a good indication of what we are likely to ultimately see in NASA’s agency-wide public access plan, which is due out in February 2023….

Requires that peer-reviewed publications be made openly available with no embargo period via deposit in an agency-approved repository….

Requires that research data be shared at the time of publication or the end of the funding award….

Requires mission software to be developed and shared openly….

Requires that the proceedings of SMD-sponsored meetings and workshops be held openly to enable broad participation….”

Open-Source Science Initiative | Science Mission Directorate

“NASA is making a long-term commitment to building an inclusive open science community over the next decade. Open-source science is a commitment to the open sharing of software, data, and knowledge (algorithms, papers, documents, ancillary information) as early as possible in the scientific process. The principles of open-source science are to make publicly funded scientific research transparent, inclusive, accessible, and reproducible. Advances in technology, including collaborative tools and cloud computing, help enable open-source science, but technology alone is insufficient. Open-source science requires a culture shift to a more inclusive, transparent, and collaborative scientific process, which will increase the pace and quality of scientific progress.

To help build a culture of open science, NASA is championing a new initiative: the Open-Source Science Initiative (OSSI). OSSI is a comprehensive program of activities to enable and support moving science towards openness, including policy adjustments, supporting open-source software, and enabling cyberinfrastructure. OSSI aims to implement NASA’s Strategy for Data Management and Computing for Groundbreaking Science 2019-2024, which was developed through community input….”

Science Information Policy | Science Mission Directorate

“SMD has released SPD-41a: Scientific Information Policy for the Science Mission Directorate to provide guidance on the open sharing of publications, data, and software created in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. The core values behind the development of the policy are to make SMD-funded research as open as possible, as restricted as required, and always secure.  …

In November 2021, NASA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit information from SMD communities on proposed updates to SPD-41. SMD has released a summary of the comments and responses from this RFI, which helped to inform the directorate on how to update its minimum requirements for openness and accessibility, as well as how to successfully implement the policy. 

SPD-41a is a forward-looking policy that will apply to new missions and grants starting with ROSES-2023. Existing missions and grants are not required to adopt the new guidance, but they are encouraged to do so if feasible with available resources. For new missions and grants starting with ROSES-2023, SPD-41a requires that: 

 

Peer-reviewed publications are made openly available with no embargo period.  
Research data and software are shared at the time of publication or the end of the funding award. 
Mission data are released as soon as possible and unrestricted mission software is developed openly.  
Science workshops and meetings are held openly to enable broad participation. …”

Avert Bangladesh’s looming water crisis through open science and better data

“Access to data is a huge problem. Bangladesh collects a large amount of hydrological data, such as for stream flow, surface and groundwater levels, precipitation, water quality and water consumption. But these data are not readily available: researchers must seek out officials individually to gain access. India’s hydrological data can be similarly hard to obtain, preventing downstream Bangladesh from accurately predicting flows into its rivers….

Publishing hydrological data in an open-access database would be an exciting step. For now, however, the logistics, funding and politics to make on-the-ground data publicly available are likely to remain out of reach.

Fortunately, satellite data can help to fill the gaps. Current Earth-observing satellite missions, such as the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Follow-On, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) network, multiple radar altimeters and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors make data freely available and can provide an overall picture of water availability across the country (this is what we used in many of our analyses). The picture is soon to improve. In December, NASA and CNES, France’s space agency, plan to launch the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission. SWOT will provide unprecedented information on global ocean and inland surface waters at fine spatial resolution, allowing for much more detailed monitoring of water levels than is possible today. The international scientific community has been working hard over the past 15 years to get ready to store, process and use SWOT data….

New open-science initiatives, particularly NASA’s Earth Information System, launched in 2021, can help by supporting the development of customized data-analysis and modelling tools (see go.nature.com/3cffbh9). The data we present here were acquired in this framework. We are currently working on an advanced hydrological model that will be capable of representing climate-change effects and human impacts on Bangladesh’s water availability. We expect that the co-development of such a modelling system with local partners will support decision-making….”

Open Science Stories

“Is there an open science story that made you say, “I need to get involved?” Do you remember a story about the impact of open data, open-source software, open publications on science? How has open science enabled scientific breakthroughs? Tell us about it! 

NASA’s Transform to Open Science (TOPS) mission is seeking compelling stories about open science in practice. To help transform NASA scientific processes to open science, we need to provide compelling and relatable examples that show how open science creates more impactful, efficient, inclusive science. By collecting these stories, we can start showing scientists how open science can help them.

We are looking for big, awe-inspiring stories about open data, open-source software, open results and open access, and the use of openly available tools for scientific practice. These stories could be about projects that utilize large amounts of data, about utilizing code on an open-source repository, about citizen scientists working together to identify constellations or clouds….”

Transform to Open Science (TOPS) Curriculum Development Team

“Open science  —  opening up the scientific process from idea inception to result — increases access to knowledge and expands opportunities for new voices to participate. Sharing the data, code, and knowledge associated with the scientific process lowers barriers to entry, enables findings to be more easily reproduced, generates new knowledge at scale, and allows and facilitates diverse societal uses.

AGU and NASA have made a commitment to advancing the principles of open science to build a more inclusive and open community at NASA, AGU and beyond. This is a resolution to work towards a more transparent and collaborative scientific progress, opening data and results to the broader public whenever possible, and incentivizing researchers around the globe to do the same.

To help catalyze and support the cultural change necessary for such an opening of scientific knowledge, NASA has launched the Open-Source Science Initiative (OSSI), a long-term commitment to open science. To spark change and inspire open science engagement, OSSI has created the Transform to Open Science (TOPS) mission and declared 2023 as the Year Of Open Science.

A key goal of TOPS is to engage thousands of researchers in open science leading practices.

Launching a program such as TOPS is possible thanks to the open science communities’ work over the last couple of decades. TOPS would like to leverage this work in developing a five-part curriculum on open science.  We seek participation from individuals actively engaging with open science communities, open software and data, and related practices to serve on a TOPS Curriculum Development Team. This will include participation in a series of virtual meetings and sprints this year. For those selected to lead module development, there will also be in-person working sessions at AGU’s headquarters in Washington, DC. AGU, in partnership with NASA and experts in curriculum development, will coordinate this effort.  All content will be openly shared….”

NASA Transform to Open Science Community Forum on May 12 – General – GOSH Community Forum

“As NASA’s Transform to Open Science 1 (TOPS) moves into the upcoming 2023 Year of Open Science, the TOPS team will regularly update the community on these activities, highlight open science success stories and lessons learned, Q&A, and other open science news in a series of TOPS Community Forums.

We invite you to join us May 12th at 2:00-3:00pm for NASA’s TOPS Community Forum. Participants can enter their question(s) or up-vote others’ questions – to help guide the discussions needed for successful implementation – after providing their first and last names and organizations at this portal: TOPS Community Engagement – NASA 1 . We will try to answer as many of the submitted questions as possible….”

Asclepias: Citing Software, Making Science

“The Asclepias Project builds networks of citations between the astronomical academic literature and software, helping you find the tools to push your research forward….

The Asclepias Project is a joint effort of the American Astronomical Society, the NASA Astrophysics Data System, Zenodo, and Sidrat Research, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.”

Planetary Data System: Information for Data Proposers

“In response to a 2013 federal mandate the NASA Plan for Increasing Access to the Results of Scientific Research was developed to guide the management of and access to research data and peer-reviewed publications. Accordingly, the NASA Guidebook for Proposers describes the requirement that all proposals submitted under a NASA funding opportunity are required to submit a Data Management Plan. This website contains information and links that NASA’s Planetary Data System (PDS) believes will be helpful in preparing your proposal and your Data Management Plan, or simply as you develop a plan for archiving your data even if not as part of a funded proposal. If you have additional questions contact either the PDS or the relevant NASA Program Officer.

The intent of this website is to provide potential data providers with an overview of the appropriateness of the PDS as an archive for their data, the procedure for requesting letters of support for grant proposals, and the steps that a data provider would take in the generation of a PDS-compliant archive….”

Last updated October 2021.

Improving data access democratizes and diversifies science | PNAS

Abstract:  The foundation of the scientific method rests on access to data, and yet such access is often restricted or costly. We investigate how improved data access shifts the quantity, quality, and diversity of scientific research. We examine the impact of reductions in cost and sharing restrictions for satellite imagery data from NASA’s Landsat program (the longest record of remote-sensing observations of the Earth) on academic science using a sample of about 24,000 Landsat publications by over 34,000 authors matched to almost 3,000 unique study locations. Analyses show that improved access had a substantial and positive effect on the quantity and quality of Landsat-enabled science. Improved data access also democratizes science by disproportionately helping scientists from the developing world and lower-ranked institutions to publish using Landsat data. This democratization in turn increases the geographic and topical diversity of Landsat-enabled research. Scientists who start using Landsat data after access is improved tend to focus on previously understudied regions close to their home location and introduce novel research topics. These findings suggest that policies that improve access to valuable scientific data may promote scientific progress, reduce inequality among scientists, and increase the diversity of scientific research.