Resources for Open Science in Astronomy (ROSA) 🔭
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Resources for Open Science in Astronomy (ROSA)

Encouraging researchers in astronomy, from early-career to senior levels, to work openly by providing the why's and the how's in a single resource.

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Thank you for visiting the Resources for Open Science in Astronomy (ROSA) 🔭 project repository! (We love acronyms in astronomy.) You can view the project website here. ROSA aims to compile and tailor open science best practices from around the web into a kit for astronomers to work openly from proposal to publication, but can be adapted for use by any field - just change the 'A'! 🎉

Here you will find information about the project and how to get involved!

Project description

First things first, what is "Open Science"?

According to FOSTER, Open Science is the practice of science in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute, where research data, lab notes and other research processes are freely available, under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods.

But wait, isn't that just "Science"? Hence:

The problem

The field of astronomy & astrophysics has been very successful in open access of publications on arXiv, however other open practices such as open data and open source are not as widespread. This can make it difficult/impossible to reproduce results - a fundamental aspect of the scientific method - and frustrating to build on the research of others. The reasons for this are diverse, but prominent issues include:

  • Culture! Tradition! "This is just the way it has always been done."
  • Perceived barriers against working openly such as competition for jobs, the race to publish results or the need to protect intellectual property.
  • A lack of understanding in the community about how to work in an open way.

As a result, academia can be a closed and stressful environment where imposter syndrome is not uncommon.

A solution

These days, it is widely recognised that making research results more accessible contributes to better and more efficient science, and to innovation in the public and private sectors. Recent studies have also shown that open research practices reap benefits such as increases in citations, media attention, potential collaborators, job and funding opportunities. Not to mention that funding agencies, such as those under Horizon 2020, now require research products (such as data and publications) to be made openly available. ROSA aims to translate this policy into action by tailoring open research best practices and tools to suit astronomy.

This project's mission is to:

  • Change the culture by
  • Breaking down the perceived barriers against open research and
  • Providing a resource that equips researchers with the tools to work openly from proposal to publication.

This project aims to result in two products:

  1. A general open science resource kit that can be adapted to any field, and
  2. One specifically tailored for astronomy: ROSA.

The project will be developed here on GitHub so that anyone can contribute resources and tutorials from around the web and it will undergo curation and tailoring to create ROSA. The end product aims to be a well-documented guide on WHY you should research openly and HOW.

Who am I?

I am Rachael Ainsworth, a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Open Science Champion at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester (Twitter: @rachaelevelyn, GitHub: @rainsworth). I was also a Mozilla Open Leader as part of Round 4 Cohort C (#RebelFoxes🦊) which provided me with the encouragement, mentorship and training to get this project off the ground! You can read more about the Round 4 Cohort and projects here and more generally about the program here!

Contributors, collaborators and credits

Thank you so much to the amazing folks who have already contributed to this project! Below is the list of contributors/collaborators who have contributed directly to the project GitHub repo, commented on/opened an issue, and/or participated in our discussion at MozFest, as well as attribution for reuse of other open source projects!


A group of open enthusiasts met in person at Mozilla Festival 2017 to collaborate on this topic and learn from each other - we discussed and brainstormed what a kit like this should linclude. You can read more about our session "What resources do we need to break down barriers to open science?" here. Thank you to eveyone for sharing their insight and experience!

Get involved!

This project relies on contributions from both the wider astrophysics and open science communities in order to benefit from diversity and range in input - there is no way that a single person can provide a comprehensive enough resource! It will also continuously evolve over time as people use it and more open science tools become available. Not only will the general kit grow over time, but it can also be adapted to suit the needs of different research fields and audiences.

Become a contributor

What open access, open data and open source tools from around the web would be useful for a researcher to have at the very start of their career? How can we present this information to senior researchers, who may be less experienced with these tools, so they can promote open research practices to their students and research teams?

If you have ideas or suggestions for content for this project, please check out our contributors' guidelines and our roadmap. Please note that by joining this project, you agree to follow the code of conduct in all interactions both on and offline.

Together, we change the culture of the astronomy community to be more collaborative, iterative and open which is vital in order to pursue answers to fundamental questions about our Universe and inspire the next generation of researchers in STEM!


Join us at the Mozilla's Global Sprint May 10-11, 2017! We'll be gathering in-person at sites around the world and online to collaborate on this project and learn from each other. Get your #mozsprint tickets now!

Global Sprint


The easiest way to get involved is to join the conversation in our Gitter chat room! If you want to directly contribute to this project, make a suggestion or report a problem, open an issue within this GitHub repository. You can also contact me by email ( or on Twitter (@rachaelevelyn).


Non-software content in this project is licensed under a CC-BY 4.0 license.