Next-generation field courses: Integrating Open Science and online learning

Sonya R. Geange, Jonathan von Oppen, Tanya Strydom, Mickey Boakye, Tasha Leigh J. Gauthier, Ragnhild Gya, Aud H. Halbritter, Laura H. Jessup, Sara L. Middleton, Jocelyn Navarro, Maria Elisa Pierfederici, Julia Chacón-Labella, Sehoya Cotner, William Farfan-Rios, Brian S. Maitner, Sean T. Michaletz, Richard J. Telford, Brian J. Enquist, Vigdis Vandvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As Open Science practices become more commonplace, there is a need for the next generation of scientists to be well versed in these aspects of scientific research. Yet, many training opportunities for early career researchers (ECRs) could better emphasize or integrate Open Science elements. Field courses provide opportunities for ECRs to apply theoretical knowledge, practice new methodological approaches, and gain an appreciation for the challenges of real-life research, and could provide an excellent platform for integrating training in Open Science practices. Our recent experience, as primarily ECRs engaged in a field course interrupted by COVID-19, led us to reflect on the potential to enhance learning outcomes in field courses by integrating Open Science practices and online learning components. Specifically, we highlight the opportunity for field courses to align teaching activities with the recent developments and trends in how we conduct research, including training in: publishing registered reports, collecting data using standardized methods, adopting high-quality data documentation, managing data through reproducible workflows, and sharing and publishing data through appropriate channels. We also discuss how field courses can use online tools to optimize time in the field, develop open access resources, and cultivate collaborations. By integrating these elements, we suggest that the next generation of field courses will offer excellent arenas for participants to adopt Open Science practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3577-3587
Number of pages11
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the other PFTC 2020 course instructors (Sandra Milena Duran, Dagmar Egelkraut, Marc Macias‐Fauria) for providing an engaging field course, and our fellow participants for being great colleagues who pulled together during a challenging time and still created a fun field course experience (Ana Agustina Barros, Kristine Birkeli, Adan J. Ccahuana Quispe, María Fernanda Chiappero, Josef C. Garen, Joseph Gaudard, Fiorella Gonzales Guillen, Kristyna Hoskova, William Johnson, Eva Lieungh, Mackenzie M. Lift, Samuel Pastor Ploskonka, Natalia L. Quinteros Casaverde, Jess Rickenback, Hilde Rui, Jhonatan Sallo‐Bravo, Eugenia Sánchez Díaz, Paul Efren Santos Andrade, Marcus P. Spiegel, Lucely Vilca Bustamante, Korina Ocampo Zuleta, Matiss Casterona Salaks). We would also like to thank Inge Althuizen, Vanessa Buzzard, Casper Christiansen, Jonathan Henn, Kari Klanderud, Yadvinder Malhi, Imma Oliveras, Lorah Seltzer, Lori Patrick, Ruben Roos, Xiangyang Sun, and Yan Yang, for their effort in helping develop the Plant Functional Trait Courses over the years, along with past participants. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on the manuscript. We are grateful for the financial support provided by the Norwegian Research Council to develop the Plant Functional Trait Courses (project 274831 RECITE and 287784 EXPERTS under the INTPART program), and also support from the National Science Foundation (awards ABI‐1565118 and HDR‐1934790). The following authors would also like to thank funding bodies for supporting their attendance of the 2020 Plant Functional Trait Course: JvO—Independent Research Fund, Denmark, 7027‐00133B; SLM—Natural Environment Research Council Award NE/L002612/1; and LHJ—Frederick N. Andrews Environmental Grant, Purdue University, 7600001570.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • career development
  • early career researchers
  • FAIR principles
  • higher education
  • pedagogy
  • reproducible research

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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