Member Spotlight: Florida State University's Open Scholars Project and Advancing Open Science Through Communities of Practice

The Open Scholars Project (OSP) is a community of practice for researchers and practitioners who are curious about open access publishing, open science, and FAIR data at Florida State University (FSU), the Tallahassee area, and beyond, initiated by FSU librarians. The goal of this community is to connect researchers and scholars from all disciplines and provide a supportive space to learn from each other, engage in candid discussions, and apply open principles to research practices. In this blog post, we review the group's history, its accomplishments, and explore how OSP integrated Open Science Framework (OSF) into our endeavors, further advancing the open science movement.

image1We understand that learning new methods, tools, and publishing models for research can be challenging to balance with work or studies, particularly when integrating open science practices. However, these new methods are becoming more commonplace and necessary. Joining a research community of practice provides an excellent opportunity to connect with others across various subject areas and OSP offers different levels of involvement, recognizing that many individuals are new to open science. As the OSP project continues to evolve, we welcome OSP member feedback and collaboration with other organizations.

Recognizing Need for a Change

Years ago, Camille Thomas noticed the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Open Meet Ups. Despite employing established outreach strategies, she felt a need for change. Over two decades, the messaging and benchmarks for open advocacy remained stagnant, even as global access to research became imperative during the pandemic and systemic inequities in our culture, including open research culture, were highlighted. Early efforts for outreach, including departmental presentations and formal groups, raised awareness but were becoming outdated, misaligned, and labor-intensive. Recent research showed the same questions and concerns among researchers about adopting open practices remained.

Recognizing that requirements and infrastructure alone cannot drive cultural change, Camille aimed to empower researchers to embrace open science through meaningful engagement. She wanted researchers to see the power of open science and engage in discussions about real criticisms and progress. If researchers only see mandates and headlines, how can advocates claim to be in community with them? The best way to adopt open practices is through practice, one step at a time.

Existing so-called “communities of practice” supported individual researchers or educators with incentives to engage in Open, but they did not facilitate connection, practice, and collaboration in an ongoing relationship with each other. Open science is a rich space for collaboration and co-creation needed for research’s role in a global community. As Brian Nosek put it in a 2019 COS blog post:

The research culture maintains a dysfunctional constellation of incentives and policies that are blocking widespread change toward showing work and sharing.


Figure 1. The pyramid of culture change. Image by Brian Nosek (licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0).

Creating the Open Scholars Project

Camille created a long-term strategic plan to create an open community of practice at FSU. When creating the plan, she found similar models by Open Science Community Utrecht, North Carolina State University’s Open Incubator Program, and OpenCon. She had a vision to provide a lower threshold for people to join regular discussion meetings, in the style of UWM’s Open Meet Ups. Once the group formed, we didn’t want to overload researchers with a flood of open resources all at once. Instead, we showcase just one tool each meeting such as the Open Science Framework or highlight FSU open champions working on grant-funded projects like LD Base, which is utilizing OSF’s specialized metadata templates for FAIR data.

She convened a taskforce of librarians from different areas, along with researchers, graduate students and postdoc representation. The taskforce also served as internal training for open science among librarians who are specialized in other areas. For recruiting initial members, we targeted researchers at Florida State University who showed interest in open science from previous programs or events. The idea was to start small and build a strong foundation. We wanted to take an iterative approach to grow based on the needs, goals, and interests of the group, while she aimed to create a community together with researchers, not solely for researchers.


Along the way we discovered similar work at the Bay Area Open Science Group and University of Cincinnati. Camille attended the Center for Scientific Communities’ Community Engagement Fundamentals course, which was instrumental to developing OSP’s new initiatives after a period of stagnation.

Community Highlights 

OSP began hosting monthly community discussion meetings in Spring of 2021. We held the initial meetings virtually due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Topics covered during these meetings spanned a wide range, including open monograph publishing, climate justice and open data, preregistrations, open peer review, and addressing various issues related to open research practice. We record attendance and registration with an average meeting attendance of 10-20 faculty, staff, graduate students and postdocs across FSU. Our current listserv includes 84 members. We also organized other community events to foster engagement and collaboration once or twice a semester. Notable among these was a tour of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab), one of our more engaged research centers on campus, and casual end of semester get-togethers for community and connection building in person. We also conducted both in-person and virtual training sessions, free to the FSU community, aimed at providing insights on how to utilize the Open Science Framework and understand the basics of open science. These workshops were led by researcher and COS Ambassador, Gizem Solmaz-Ratzlaff.

In 2023, OSP hosted a symposium to celebrate the declaration of the Year of Open Science by NASA, the Center for Open Science, and the White House. The Open Scholars Project Symposium took on a hybrid format, spanning two days and featured a range of topics, projects, and resources related to open science, open access publishing, including presentations from four FSU researchers and representatives from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and ASAPbio (Accelerating Science and Publication in biology) , an Open Science Framework introductory workshop, and two interactive sessions for in person participants facilitating discussions around problems and solutions in implementing open science practices. We reached out to all symposium registrants for feedback and opportunities for continued engagement.

The Open Scholars Project Symposium, 2023, Florida State University
Participants left to right: Lindsey Summerlin, Kassidy Hof-Mahoney, Jonathan DaSo, Roxann Mouratidis, Dr. David Butcher, Dr. T. "Soma" Somasundaram, Daljit Chhina, Devin Soper, Gizem Solmaz-Ratzlaff, Camille Thomas, Dr.Chris Omni

Advancing Open Science at FSU

Members of the Open Scholars Project have been instrumental in advocating for open science at FSU. Members from research centers became a key audience for promoting open science practices, expanding awareness and adoption across various disciplines. Some members signed reports to the president and provost offices, with select individuals joining the formal FSU Open Access Advisory Board, emphasizing our commitment to institutional change. Moreover, members from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences collaborated with librarians to integrate programming to support open science within the college. Through this interdisciplinary discussions, we're fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing, vital for the evolution of research practices and the advancement of science at FSU.

Next Steps

In the next phase of OSP, we will provide Federal Funder Public Access Policy Compliance Training which equips faculty and graduate student participants with practical knowledge and hands-on experience. The training was developed in response to the forthcoming implementation of new federal public access requirements outlined in the 2022 OSTP Nelson memo. We've encouraged research teams to involve at least two members in the training: one with decision-making authority and another responsible for hands-on compliance tasks.  Leveraging OSF, we organize and disseminate our training materials and additional resources to attendees, while also making our materials publicly available for replication at other institutions. This approach ensures broader dissemination of knowledge and fosters a collaborative spirit in advancing open science practices within the research community.

We would like to extend special thanks to the Open Scholars Project Taskforce current and founding members, including David Butcher, FAIR Data Management Specialist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory; Jonathan DaSo, Digital Literacy and Modern Languages Librarian; Daniel Dunleavy, former Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Translational Behavioral Science; Danielle Krusemark, M.S. former Sociology PhD candidate; and Roxann Mouratidis, Head of Scholarly Communications at the College of Medicine.

About the authors

Camille Thomas ( is the Scholarly Communication Librarian at Florida State University. 

Kassidy Hof-Mahoney ( is the Open Science Librarian at Florida State University and a Center for Open Science Ambassador.

Gizem Solmaz-Ratzlaff ( is a doctoral candidate in mathematics education in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University and serves as a Center for Open Science Ambassador.

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