UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

This page contains an open syllabus, assignments--including interactive multiple choice self-check questions--and rubrics for a semester-long course teaching open science through the lens of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. The syllabus and materials were created as part of the Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW) program. The course is designed for early career researchers, defined as advanced undergraduates through tenure track faculty.

The syllabus and course materials are also available on Zenodo.

Miller, Jennifer. (2022). Open Syllabus: UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science (1.0). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5823531

Miller, Jennifer. (2022). Question Bank for Open Syllabus UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science (1.0) [Data set]. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5832063

All readings from the syllabus are included in this Zotero bibliography for the Open Syllabus: UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

Course learning outcomesEdit

  • Explain and identify examples of the human right to science as adopted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Describe how the development of scientific institutions is essential to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Explain the concept of open science from multiple perspectives, including the UNESCO Recommendation of Open Science.
  • Apply open science principles in personally relevant institutional, geographic, and disciplinary contexts.

Expected preparationEdit

Participants will get the most out of this course if they are already familiar with some of the practicalities of scientific work:

  • The publication of scientific research in peer-reviewed journals
  • The structure of academic research careers, including terms such as graduate research assistants, postdocs, (non)tenure-track, and tenure.
  • The role of grant funding in academic science
  • Hypothesis testing

With the exception of hypothesis testing, much of this relevant preparatory knowledge is tacit. That is, it is mostly gained through experience rather than explicitly taught in a curriculum.

For example, advanced undergraduates who have already begun to read some original reports of research from peer-reviewed journals will probably benefit more than first-year students who have been exposed to science mostly through introductory survey textbooks. Graduate students or more advanced undergraduates with some experience working in a lab are even more likely to benefit from and enjoy the course. The material will have the greatest impact on participants who have already begun to feel the tensions between open and traditional models of science. Although the course can be used in any modality, it is designed to support the formation of communities for students to engage with these issues in their local contexts.

Weekly readings and materialsEdit

Weekly course materials including learning outcomes, readings, discussion questions, and interactive self-check questions.

Open Science/Week 1: IntroductionEdit

Open Science/Week 2: Science in The Universal Declaration of Human RightsEdit

Open Science/Week 3: Science in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)Edit

Open Science/Week 4: UNESCO Recommendation on Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 5: Common Understanding of Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 6: Diverse Paths to Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 7: Innovations Throughout the Scientific ProcessEdit

Open Science/Week 8: Enabling Policy Environment for Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 9: Capacity Building for Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 10: Open Science InfrastructuresEdit

Open Science/Week 11: Incentives for Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 12: Scientific Culture for Quality, Integrity, and Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 13: International Cooperation in Open ScienceEdit

Open Science/Week 14: SynthesisEdit

Open Science/Week 15: Application, Feedback and Final ProjectEdit

Assignments and RubricsEdit

In addition to weekly graded discussions, the course includes four assignments and a final project:

  • Essay: Goals for the Course
  • Essay: Perspective on Open Science
  • Essay: Comparing Open Science Contexts
  • Annotated Resource List
  • Final Project

There is an option to design your own individual or group  final project. Students wishing to explore this option should open discussion with the instructor early in the course.

Except as otherwise noted, assignment rubrics are adapted from CC Certificate: Final Project with Grading Rubrics, Creative Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

Discussion RubricsEdit

Synchronous Discussion RubricEdit

Suggested use: Grade each student on each criterion. A student’s average across the 3 criteria results in a grade of 1-3, with a grade of 0 for students who were not present for the discussion. If you will have a lot of graded synchronous discussions, consider allowing students to earn full points with a moderate number of absences. Contributions to the discussion may include asking students to submit potential discussion questions to you in advance.

Synchronous Discussion Rubric
Criteria Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Below Expectations
Points 3 2 1
Insightful contributions Contributions to discussion demonstrate full and insightful understanding of material Contributions to discussion demonstrate basic understanding of material Contributions to discussion suggest student has not read or thought much about the material
Regularity of contributions Contributions to discussion are frequent Student sometimes offers contributions to discussion Student seldom (if ever) offers contributions
Application of Material Student demonstrates ability to apply material to personal, disciplinary or geographic research context Student demonstrates some ability to apply material to personal, disciplinary or geographic research context Student demonstrates little to no ability to apply material to personal, disciplinary or geographic research context

Open Science Synchronous Discussion Rubric, Authored by: Jennifer Miller. License: CC BY: Attribution is an adaptation of Discussion Rubric.[1] Authored by: Elizabeth Johnston. License: CC BY: Attribution

Asynchronous Discussion RubricEdit

Suggested use: Establish deadlines for original posts and replies. Grade each student on each criterion. A student’s average across the 3 criteria results in a grade of 1-3, with a grade of 0 for students who did not participate in the discussion. Depending on students’ levels of experience and goals for the course, you may choose to use only the quality criteria, or to use the more procedural criteria (organization, quantity, and timeliness) as scaffolding only for the first few discussions.

Asynchronous Discussion Rubric
Criteria Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Below Expectations
Points 3 2 1
Quality of Initial Post Initial comment fully addresses all aspects of the discussion Initial comment addresses most aspects of the discussion Initial comment addresses part of the discussion or assigned readings
Comment includes two or more personal or professional experiences Comment includes some personal or professional experience Comment includes minimal or no personal or professional experience
Demonstrates excellent critical thinking skills through multiple examples and ideas Demonstrates adequate critical thinking through some examples and ideas Demonstrates minimal or no critical thinking with minimal examples and ideas
Excellent discussion of course readings or other resources if appropriate Good discussion of course readings or other resources if appropriate Minimal or no discussion of course readings or other resources if appropriate
Quality of Response Postings Responses are highly reflective, insightful and add to the discussion in a meaningful way Responses are reflective, insightful and add to the discussion in a meaningful way Responses are minimally reflective or insightful and do not significantly add to the discussion in a meaningful way
Organization of All Posts Information is exceptionally well-organized; There are no errors in grammar or language use that confuse the reader. Complete sentences are used. Proper citations are effectively used. Information is well-organized; Complete sentences are used. Proper citations are used. Organization is scattered; Some incomplete sentences used. Citations are used.
Posting Quantity and Timeliness of All Posts Initial posting and at least two responses. All postings made on at least two different days before the due date. Initial posting and at least one response. All postings made on at least two different days before the due date. Initial posting and/ or a response. All postings made on the same day on or before the due date.

Open Science Asynchronous Discussion Rubric, Authored by: Jennifer Miller. License: CC BY: Attribution is an adaptation of Discussion Rubric[2]. Authored by: Mike Cook. Provided by: Pima Community College. License: CC BY: Attribution

Student-Led Synchronous Discussion RubricEdit

Recommended use: Assign a small team of student facilitators for the week. Each person in the class completes the rubric. Average the scores from all rubrics. All students present for the discussion earn the same grade for the discussion. If you will have a lot of graded synchronous discussions, consider allowing students to earn full points with a moderate number of absences.

Student-Led Synchronous Discussion Rubric
Criteria Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Below Expectations
Points 3 2 1
Subject matter coverage Speakers, including presenters and participants, collectively provide full, well- informed coverage of the topic. Speakers, collectively including presenters and participants, provide coverage of the topic sufficient for achievement of learning outcomes, with some minor gaps. Significant gaps in coverage of the topic left the discussion short of aiding achievement of some learning outcomes.
Clarity and Facilitation Material was clearly presented and facilitation, aided by both presenters and participants,  sustained conversation flow. Minor gaps in clarity of presentation and/or conversation flow Gaps in clarity of presentation and/or conversation flow limited the usefulness of the discussion.
Visual Aids Visual aids were relevant to the topic and added to rather than distracted from overall discussion, in part a function of quality. Participants engaged with visual aids. Avoided overuse. Visual aids were relevant to the topic. Some room for improvement in quality and level of engagement. Visual aids were absent, irrelevant, distracting, or ignored.
Creativity Class discussion was engaging, informative, creative, and relevant Class discussion was relevant and informative with some effort to foster engagement and creativity Class discussion notably lacking in engagement and creativity, or sacrificed relevance to achieve those goals

Student-Led Discussion Rubric, Authored by: Jennifer Miller. License: CC BY: Attribution is an adaptation of  Discussion Rubric[2]. Authored by: Mike Cook. Provided by: Pima Community College. License: CC BY: Attribution. Discussion Peer Evaluation Rubric[3] by Lisa Rodrigues was also used as a source to develop this rubric.

Essay RubricsEdit

Communicate length, citation, and other expectations consistent with your course setting. Consider 250 words for the Goals for the Course Essay  and 500 words for the Perspective on Open Science and Comparing Open Science Contexts Essays.

Goals for the Course Essay RubricEdit

Goals for the Course Essay Rubric
Criteria Total points available Points offered
Essay demonstrates a familiarity with course content and process as described in the syllabus. 1
Essay expresses personal goals related to course content and learning outcomes. 2
Essay expresses personal goals related to process, including attendance, feedback, grades, and classroom interactions. 2

Perspective on Open Science Essay RubricEdit

Perspective on Open Science Essay Rubric
Criteria Total points available Points offered
Essay shows your ability to explain the relationship of science to human rights and/ or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 2
Essay shows your ability to explain open science as presented in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. 2
Essay shows your ability to connect the concepts of open science to a context with which you are familiar. 2
Essay supports claims with evidence and cites sources using a standard citation format. 3
Apply a Creative Commons or other open license to your work, or provide a statement explaining why you are not doing so. 1

Comparing Open Science Across Contexts RubricEdit

Comparing Open Science Across Contexts Rubric
Criteria Total points available Points offered
Essay shows your ability to explain how open science concepts are found in at least two different contexts. 4
Essay includes comparisons highlighting similarities and/ or differences between the contexts presented. 2
Essay supports claims with evidence and cites sources using a standard citation format. 3
Apply a Creative Commons or other open license to your work, or provide a statement explaining why you are not doing so. 1

Annotated Resource List RubricEdit

Annotated Resource List Rubric
Criteria Total points available Points offered
Submission includes at least five annotated resources relevant to open science. Please clarify if you are sharing a new resource or annotating a resource already listed on the syllabus. 2
Submission includes title, author, and link to each suggested resource as well as licensing (e.g. CC BY, CC BY-SA) or copyright status (all rights reserved, public domain) of each suggested resource. 2
Submission includes an annotation of each resource that describes and evaluates the resource, including why each resource is relevant to the course subject matter. 3
Submission includes the week number for the specific area of the course to which each resource is related 1
The five (or more) suggested resources are summarized in a document. (In addition, you may choose to organize/arrange the resources in a blog, on a website, etc.) 1
Apply a Creative Commons or other open license to your work, or provide a statement explaining why you are not doing so. 1

Final Project Description and RubricEdit

For your final project, you will create a renewable assignment that could be used in a classroom or workshop context to teach early career researchers about open science. Alternatively, you can propose an alternative final project using the instructions provided.

Renewable Assignment RubricEdit

Renewable assignments provide students with opportunities to engage in meaningful work, add value to the world, and provide a foundation for future students to learn from and build upon. Renewable assignments are possible because of the permission to engage in the 5R activities (Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute) granted by open educational resources (OER). Renewable assignments are an alternative to traditional, disposable assignments, which students throw away after they are graded. A typical renewable assignment involves adding to or improving an existing open resource.

An example of a renewable assignment is: Creation of figures or diagrams to supplement “Biochemistry Free For All” Emily Ragan, November 2020, licensed under CC BY 4.0 .

Renewable Assignment Rubric
Criteria Total points available Points offered
Work includes and provides a pathway to achieve one or more learning outcomes relevant to early career researchers learning to practice open science. 2
Work includes a set of clear and complete instructions for completing the renewable assignment. These instructions address the student or course participant directly. 3
Work includes a rubric for grading the renewable assignment, including  three levels of performance and at least five criteria. 2
Work includes guidance to those who have adopted the specific open resource regarding how to use the renewable assignment. This guidance is sometimes known as a teaching note. 3
Work includes a sample completed assignment, together with a completed rubric for the assignment, on which the sample assignment receives the highest rating for each criterion. 3
Work cites and treats other works relevant to the assignment in consistent with their licenses. 1
Apply a Creative Commons or other open license to your work, or provide a statement explaining why you are not doing so. 1

Design Your Own ProjectEdit

Propose your own project or co-produced project to your facilitator (by or before the end of Week 10). The project needs to demonstrate 1) your ability to explain open science as it is represented in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and 2) that you are able to recognize open science practices, or opportunities to advance them, in a familiar context. That context can be a geographic location, an institution, a scientific discipline, or something else.

Directions: Write a proposal (no longer than 150 words) for your independently-designed project. If you are proposing to submit a group project (a project you will complete with another person in the course), make sure to include this in the proposal. Create a proposed grading rubric for assessment of your project. Submit your proposal and grading rubric no later than Week 10.  Your instructor will reply to you no later than one week from the Week 10 deadline. Note that your instructor may suggest revisions to ensure parity in rigor across all submitted proposals.

Licensing, Citation, and AcknowledgementsEdit

Open Syllabus: UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science” is an adaptation of the Creative Commons Certificate Template Syllabus and Final Project with Grading Rubrics New Options published as of January, 2021 (the “Original Work”), licensed by Creative Commons under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This adaptation is made and published by Jennifer M. Miller as a participant in the Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW) program (the “Adapter”) under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The Adapter modified the Original Works in the following respects: adapted them to reflect new subject matter and adapted them for use in a semester-long for-credit course. Using the Original Work or the Adapted Work does not mean the individual doing so has earned a CC Certificate, nor may any organization or individual offer a “CC Certificate.” Note that the trademarks of Creative Commons and the Adapter are the property of their owners and require permission to reuse. Anyone who wants to take the CC Certificate is welcome to register here: https://certificates.creativecommons.org.”


Recommended Citation:

Open Syllabus: UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science” by Jennifer M. Miller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  

  1. "Discussion Rubric | College Composition". courses.lumenlearning.com. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Sample: Discussion Rubric | State and Federal Constitution". courses.lumenlearning.com. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  3. Discussion Peer Evaluation Rubric by Lisa Rodrigues https://www1.villanova.edu/content/dam/villanova/vital/pdfs/discussionpeerevalrubricrodrigues1114.pdf