The Center for Open Science Partners on New National Science Foundation Large-Scale Research Infrastructure for Education

Apr. 30, 2024

SafeInsights brings together digital learning platforms, institutions, and a world-class team to enable research studies to inform efficacy, improvement, and innovation in teaching and learning.

Charlottesville, VA - The Center for Open Science (COS) received a subaward on the newly announced U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) SafeInsights, a five-year, $90 million research and development (R&D) infrastructure for inclusive education research. Led by OpenStax-Rice University, SafeInsights is a large-scale education research hub that will safely connect digital learning platforms and educational institutions to learn about learning. This initiative represents the National Science Foundation’s largest single investment in R&D infrastructure for education at a national scale, and SafeInsights will be the first national infrastructure of its kind. 

“We are thrilled to partner with OpenStax-Rice University to support the development of this large-scale infrastructure,” offered Brian Nosek, COS Executive Director. “Together, we can deliver greater research impact by making it easier for researchers to adopt rigorous practices and transparency of research plans, outputs, and findings.” 

The COS team, led by Nosek and Nici Pfeiffer, Chief Product Officer, will support registration and data workflows to help researchers adopt open practices and coordinate best practices on ethical, efficient, and effective data-sharing across partners. COS will launch a registry for education researchers using its existing Open Science Framework (OSF) branded registry infrastructure to preregister their designs and analysis plans for conducting studies and analyses with the data enclave. Researchers will be able to embargo their preregistered designs if needed for the nature of the research, but eventually, research uses of the infrastructure will be discoverable to promote rigor and eliminate publication bias.

SafeInsights includes a multidisciplinary network of 80 collaborating institutions and partners, including major digital learning platforms that currently serve tens of millions of students. With a $1.1M subaward,  COS will join together with researchers and large-scale, digital learning platforms to enable privacy-preserving research studies to better understand student learning. 

According to national polls conducted by the Data Quality Campaign, 86% of teachers recognize the importance of research in effective teaching. However, the majority of teachers must individually piece together research-informed teaching and learning strategies, often with limited resources. 

SafeInsights studies will help us understand how students learn best, no matter who they are, what they are learning, or how they are learning. The insights gained can lead to the development of better, research-informed teaching tools and practices, promoting educational equity.

“Better research leads to better learning. SafeInsights will enable a community of researchers to safely study large, diverse groups of students over time as they use different learning platforms,” said Richard Baraniuk, Rice professor, OpenStax founder, and project lead. “Researchers will be able to explore new ways to understand learning for students at all levels of education, which can lead to unprecedented discoveries and next-level innovations.”

SafeInsights stringently protects learner privacy. SafeInsights uses a unique technique, called “secure data enclaves,”  which unlocks valuable insights without revealing any student information to researchers or moving student information from the learning tools that it safely lives in today.

To learn more about SafeInsights and stay informed of future progress, please visit


About the Center for Open Science
Founded in 2013, COS is a nonprofit culture change organization with a mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research. COS pursues this mission by building communities around open science practices, supporting metascience research, and developing and maintaining free, open source software tools, including the Open Science Framework (OSF). Learn more at

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