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Developing C-CoMP’s Open Science Framework

Open science is a foundational and uniting component of C-CoMP’s research and knowledge transfer goals. Over the past year, C-CoMP has collectively taken two major steps to support and sustain our commitment to open science. We drafted 1) the first version of our Open Science Policy (opens in new window) and 2) our ‘living’ Data Management Handbook (opens in new window). C-CoMP’s Open Science Policy states our shared values, vision, and commitments. The Data Management Handbook serves as a guide for implementing this policy and for managing data. In this blog post, we summarize the process of drafting both of these important pillars of our open science framework with the hope that this information is useful for others interested in contributing to the open science movement.  

Open Science has been a central component of C-CoMP from the start (original proposal, opens in new window). Yet although creating this framework was at the forefront of Center goals when C-CoMP officially launched in October 2021, transcribing the vision into reality didn’t begin officially until summer 2022 after hiring/onboarding staff and engaging in discussions through the strategic planning process. 

During these discussions, we identified the following complications for implementing our open science vision:

  • C-CoMP generates observational, experimental, simulated, and derived data in various formats using different methods
  • There are no centralized repositories that store and curate such a diversity of data types
  • C-CoMP is composed of individual lab groups that already follow their own procedures for storing and sharing data
  • There are various levels of risk associated with releasing data prior to article publication; risk level changes with career stage

With these complications in mind, we began drafting the first version of our Open Science Policy in June 2022. In parallel, we also began drafting the C-CoMP Data Management Handbook to implement the Open Science Policy and develop our data management structure. Over the next four months, the C-CoMP community wrote the policy and handbook collectively through three main avenues: 

  • We discussed the policy draft and solicited feedback during several working groups, all-Center meetings, and executive committee meetings.
  • We discussed and received input about the policy draft in smaller meetings with early career researchers and technical staff by using padlet boards to anonymously vote up- or down for sections of the policy.
  • We solicited direct feedback from members through direct communications.

During this process, we prioritized open communication and actively solicited input from all C-CoMP members. We listened to each other, identified and addressed ambiguity, discussed and polled compromises, and iteratively incorporated changes. Importantly, we allowed time for reading, absorbing, and thinking critically about the policy and its implementation. From a practical perspective, we discovered that it was important to appoint one person as the central linchpin to streamline communications and collect as well as incorporate comments into the drafts. As such, while this process was a center-wide effort, I (Laura Gray, C-CoMP Digital Coordinator) put together, shared, and edited drafts; scheduled and hosted meetings, and engaged in discussions with C-CoMP members.

We officially adopted the initial version of our Open Science Policy during our first in-person all-Center meeting in October 2022! Two weeks prior to the meeting, we shared the final version of the policy, thanked everyone for engaging in the collaborative process, and communicated that the policy would be adopted barring any major concerns during the all-Center meeting.

We also converted the C-CoMP Data Management Handbook into a Gitbook to share this resource with the wider community. This ‘living’ handbook presents guidance for implementing C-CoMP’s Open Science Policy and we will update this handbook as the Center matures. 

In the handbook, you will find a variety of resources including:

  • Glossary of terms
  • C-CoMP Data Roadmap – a roadmap that outlines the life cycle of multiple data types from initial study ideation through data deposition
  • Information about how C-CoMP catalogs and tracks datasets internally
  • Guidance for sharing samples between labs
  • Instructions for depositing data
  • Instructions for naming files 

As C-CoMP matures, we expect to re-evaluate and improve the Open Science Policy and Data Management Handbook by incorporating feedback from our learned experiences. We hope that our Open Science Policy, Data Management Handbook, and description of the development process are useful to you and others interested in participating in open science. We thank you for reading this post and encourage you to become (or continue to be) ambassadors of open science!

About the Author

Laura Gray is the Digital Coordinator for C-CoMP.