Module 5: Open Research Software and Open Source


Jon Tennant


I completed my Palaeontology PhD in January 2017 at Imperial College London where I was awarded the Janet Watson award for research excellence. As of the beginning of 2018, I have gone rogue/independent, and spend my time doing a combination of research, talks/workshops, travel, scientific communication and consultancy, and working on my own projects. I am extremely passionate about open science communication, public access to scientific knowledge, and the wider impact of scholarly communication on society.

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This is Module 5 of the Open Science MOOC. This course is totally SELF-PACED, meaning it can be completed whenever you want and in your own time.

Rationale: Software and technology underpin modern science. There is an increasing demand for more sophisticated open source software, matched by an increasing willingness for researchers to openly collaborate on new tools. These developments come with a specific ethical, legal and economic challenges that impact upon research workflows. This module will introduce the necessary tools required for transforming software into something that can be openly accessed and re-used by others.

Learning outcomes:

  1. You will be able to define the characteristics of open source research software, and the ethical, legal, economic and research impact arguments for and against it.
  2. Based on community standards, you will be able to describe the quality requirements of sharing and re-using open code.
  3. You will be able to use a range of research tools that utilise open source software.
  4. You will be able to transform code designed for your personal use into code that is accessible and re-usable by others.

Resources: Open Research Software and Open Source


Complete all of these tasks on Eliademy to finish the course and get certified!

1. How to set up your first project on GitHub.

2. How to index your GitHub projects with Zenodo to make them citable.

3. How to integrate Git with RStudio for version control.

PLUS a little quiz to test your new knowledge. And for those eager to further test their knowledge, there's an updated & extended 10-question quiz available.



We strongly encourage maximal sharing, re-use, and remixing of all content available for this module. It is also openly-licensed (CC0 or CC-BY at source) and copyright free as such.

To cite this work, please use:

Jon Tennant; Simon Worthington; Tania Allard; Philipp Zumstein; Daniel S. Katz; Alexander Morley; Stephan Druskat; Julien Colomb; Arfon Smith; Ina Smith; Tobias Steiner; Rutger Vos; Konrad Förstner; Heidi Seibold; Alessandro Sarretta; Abigail Cabunoc Mayes. (2018, December 4). OpenScienceMOOC/Module-5-Open-Research-Software-and-Open-Source: Third release (Version 3.0.0). Zenodo.

Other live modules:

Module 1: Open Principles

Course content

  • Introduction to this module

  • Part 1: An Introduction to Open Research Software and Open Source

  • Part 2: Open Source software used in research

  • Part 3: Learning and collaborating through Open Research Software and Open Source

Interested? Enroll to this course right now.

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