Researchers around the world are eager to promote open scholarship. Look no further than the response to a recent Open Scholarship Seed Award program sponsored by the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG): Nearly 150 individuals from 50 countries applied for micro-grants to help build awareness of and capacity in open science.

The ORFG Open Scholarship Seed Award program awarded 23 grants to students, faculty, and staff from 15 countries, including those at Minority Serving Institutions in the United States and academic institutions in low- and middle-income countries and territories. The grants, which ranged from $1,000 to $5,000 USD, went to recipients in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America.

Among the Open Scholarship Seed Award winners:

  • Gustavo Parisi, a professor in Buenos Aires, Argentina, aims to democratize the curation of biological databases by developing open, equitable training materials and organizing curate-athons (hackathons for data curation) in local languages, starting with Spanish.
  • Peter Kingori, a doctoral candidate at the Kenya Methodist University, and Helen Bourrue, from the Ministry of Education, plan to foster open science through workshops and mentorship for secondary school principals in Kenya.
  • Virginia Smercina, a PhD student researcher at the University of Nevada, and other colleagues from the university will use the seed grant to educate graduate students on the value of getting their research in open access venues through their project, “Get That Published!”

For complete list of funded projects, click here:

This micro-grant program not only showcases the global interest and potential in open scholarship, it also illuminates the rich diversity and innovative practices within the open scholarship communities around the world. The funding will enable leaders in the open science community to share a clearer understanding of the concrete ways in which equity can be better embedded within open scholarship credit and rewards mechanisms.

The Open Scholarship Seed Awards were designed to support a variety of activities through awareness building and community events (hackathons, seminars, and discussions on reform strategies); capacity building (summer schools, metadata seminars, open data training, and communicating research results to non-technical audiences) and infrastructure (development of technology, services, protocols, standards, code, or software). To foster equitable and inclusive open scholarship practices, the award will not provide funding for any charges related to processing articles (APCs).

When the program concludes, the ORFG will perform formal exit interviews to provide a sense of the program’s impact on applicant, reviewer, and grantee. It will also survey participants to understand what aspects of the program have been particularly useful, challenging, and/or unexpected to generate a final report.

The ORFG is using a flexible approach to create a safe space among cohort members to share their experiences in the group discussions and boost their confidence to implement interventions at their own pace. The hope is to organically identify shared challenges and experiences, which, in turn, helped to stimulate a true community of practice.

Stay tuned for news about the projects, which are slated for completion by August 2024.