DIY open science training
The EIFL Open Access Programme team blog about a new one-day training format that can be used to train open science trainers

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People sitting and working in groups open science trainer bootcamp in Debrecen, Hungary.
Participants in the open science trainer bootcamp in Debrecen, Hungary, get to grips with open science training methods. Photo by Gwen Franck (CC BY).

Members of the EIFL Open Access Programme team, Iryna Kuchma and Gwen Franck, blog about a new training format and training resources for open science trainers. 

Take our training materials, build on our training format and organize your train-the-trainer event! 

Open scholarship is growing in importance as a way of ensuring that there is global participation in research, improved quality and efficiency of education and science, and faster economic and social progress. More and more universities and research institutes are launching open access, open data and open science training courses for early career researchers. As a result, there is a growing need for training open science trainers - librarians, researchers and research support staff.

After a successful three-day FOSTER Open Science trainer bootcamp we came up with a one-day training format and held train-the-trainer bootcamps in Riga, Latvia (training materials), in November 2018 and in Debrecen, Hungary, in January this year (agenda and training materials). With an independent trainer, Melanie Imming, we worked with 32 librarians and researchers to improve open science training skills and confidence. 

This is not Open Science training

A key element of these bootcamps is that they are not training about Open Science. At the registration stage we asked potential participants to tell us about their experience and skills in open science and in training and running workshops, to highlight their training plans for the coming year and explain why they would like to participate in our open science trainer bootcamp. And at the train-the-trainer workshop, we guided participants through a range of training techniques - asking them to reflect on their own roles as trainers and on the audience they want to reach.

We asked participants to read the FOSTER Open Science Training Handbook and to work through the FOSTER Toolkit - 10 online self-learning courses - before joining the bootcamp.

At the bootcamps we discussed how to identify training needs, how to provide training focusing on learning objectives and learning outcomes and how to make training as open and inclusive as possible; we shared training examples and practical guidelines on finding training materials and reusing them; and tested different gamification (methods that use techniques of games) approaches.

Sharing experiences and designing mini-training

Interactivity is the most important part of our bootcamps. Already during the morning session, participants shared their thoughts on training that they had attended or organized in the past: what went well, what didn’t work at all, what would they do differently? We also talked about the most effective types of training in their own organizations, topics and formats and what kind of training would have the biggest impact in the long term. In order to facilitate the discussion, we used Mentimeter (is an online polling system used during live events) so that people could give their opinions freely and anonymously.

The largest part of the training is dedicated to a session where participants design their own Open Science training, on a topic of their choice (usually based on the needs in their own institution).  For example: some really want to create a general Open Science course, but others have more specific training needs and want to work on topics such as Intellectual Property and Open Licensing; Research Data Management planning; preprint sharing; Open Source Software for research, and so on.

But - and here’s the twist! - even though the participants can choose the topics they’ll work on, they cannot choose the format and circumstances. Using a card game, which Gwen Franck designed, each group selects the specific conditions for their training. Before they start, we ask them to pick a card in four different categories (‘audience size’, ‘audience type’, ‘knowledge level’, ‘training type’) . The idea is that, by having to create their proposal with the first four categories in mind, the trainers will be forced to step outside of their comfort zones.

To make it a bit easier though, we ask the trainers-to-be to complete a persona exercise, in which they describe members of their intended audience, before they start with the training design, so that they can keep their audience in mind. After participants had designed their training sessions, we ask them to briefly present them - and to select two additional cards in the categories ‘audience mood’ and ‘trouble’. These are unexpected and unpredictable circumstances - and after their presentation, we take these to the audience and presenters and ask them how they would deal with them (or have already dealt with it in the past). What do you do when the room is very noisy? If the internet is not working? If people don’t stop checking their emails or browse their mobile phones? When the audience is really not keen to participate or even hostile? Or just very shy?  As it turns out, the combined insights and experiences of the audience are an excellent way to find solutions for almost all worst-case-scenarios!


We will be giving this train-the-trainer bootcamp three more times in April 2019, in Belgrade (Serbia), the Hague (the Netherlands) and in Kaunas (Lithuania).

But as we said in the beginning - you can take our training materials, build on our training format and organize your own train-the-trainer event! Get in touch with us if you have any questions at and

EIFL is a partner in the FOSTER project  and is responsible for coordinating training activities for the project.