Imagine a world where scientific knowledge is accessible to everyone with internet connection around the globe. And I don’t mean media articles where information is digested and translated (and often misunderstood and miscommunicated) before getting to the public, I mean resources thought of and designed by scientists based on their research to be used by learners and educators. As someone whose curiosity for the natural world sparkled in the 90’s, which primed me to become a scientist some years later, I was amazed to learn this is now a reality. By accelerating foundational research, catalyzing bold ideas, developing tools and models, and openly sharing their science, the Allen Institute, a bioscience research center in Seattle, USA, aims at making a broad, transformational impact on the world. Their website is a wonder for curious minds and navigating through it gave me hope as a scientist and an educator. There you will find high-quality science communication and science education resources for both students and teachers, and a platform where educators can, among other things, connect with scientists and learn about their research in real-time, collaborate and share ideas with like-minded educators and their ‘Education and Engagement team’, learn about career paths to share with students and explore evidence-based science teaching strategies and tools. The only way we can inspire future generations to develop a scientific attitude and perhaps decide to pursue a career in science is to support them in seeking information on what it means to think as a scientist and to work as a researcher.

Openness in science allows for everyone to become aware of the scientific process and to be part of it – not only financially but also intellectually – which benefits society as a whole. While science should be a collaborative endeavor that relies on sharing, trust and openness, the reality is very different. In fact, many scientists still believe that “competitiveness” is the way to excellence, and that scientific knowledge is (and should be) only understood by few. This belief undermines two facts: the first one is that to produce scientific knowledge one needs resources that rely on taxpayer’s financial contribution; second, that scientists should not be gatekeepers of knowledge. Instead, they have the moral responsibility to contribute to a scientifically literate society, avoiding the spread of science-related misinformation and enabling more critical individual and collective decision-making, which depends entirely on sharing their intellectual process, results and its future implications with the public (1). Although science communication initiatives promote the diffusion of scientific knowledge, building a society with a strong scientific literacy foundation cannot rely on sporadic initiatives, but rather on long-term solutions that ensure equitable, inclusive access to effective education resources and learning opportunities. In addition, promoting the value of openness benefits the scientific process itself. By nurturing transparency in the process of obtaining and sharing information within the scientific community we ensure the generation of testable, clear, objective and nonbiased knowledge, which translates to the term ‘scientific’ we use in our everyday lives. If the only path to scientific rigor is through candor and fairness, the process must be able to be scrutinized by others at any given time (2).

When the scientific community decides to collaborate by sharing resources and ideas as well as to be transparent about how we evaluate these, and by placing emphasis on making these publicly and freely available for future use, we are fostering equity, widening participation, and increasing productivity and innovation. Valuing (rigorous and ethical) openness in the scientific process encourages critical exploration of equal opportunities and ameliorates different forms of inequalities within the scientific realm, which contribute tremendously to the disparities in funding, for example, and culminate in obstacles to career progression (3). When early career researchers get trained to communicate effectively and compassionately with their peers, this increases their self-awareness and respect for others, promoting a culture where constructive feedback is expected, rewarded, and where everyone benefits from peer-to-peer interactions. Building the scientific workforce of the future, one that shares and collaborates both within the scientific community as well as with educators is the only way to build the scientifically literate societies of tomorrow.

The path to creating a culture of openness in science (and in) education is long and, in my perspective, it has to start early. By working to be more inclusive educators who value diversity and recognize that access and equity are not the same thing, by conveying to institutions the importance of having diverse teams for the advancement of education as well as for scientific excellence, by training professionals on the value of sharing knowledge transparently and to prioritize scientific rigor and community impact over journal impact factor, by advocating for the right of every scientist to share their ideas and results, and for the right of every person to access information, we are working towards creating a more equitable and scientifically literate society. To me, there is no openess without considering all the dimensions of ‘EDI+A’ (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility), which represents both the future of science and the future of education, two areas that have a common goal: learning. In my personal perspective, equity is the act of valuing fairness by having into account the needs of an individual and to create opportunities while making sure every person is given the same chances of success despite their individual differences. It means recognizing that people have different learning styles and provide them with a variety of resources that leverage their abilities and honor their identities. Diversity means promoting a work environment where this variety of individual identities (from demographics to cognitive skills, for example), through interaction, make the group bigger than the sum of their parts. This perception of the importance of diversity to learning settings is backed by data; it is more than clear that diverse research groups contribute with more creative ideas and more productive outcomes (4). Inclusion means embracing diversity by creating an environment where people feel seen, heard and valued for who they are; it means promoting a sense of belonging where people feel comfortable to be their true selves. And, finally, because there is no equity, no diversity and no inclusion without accessibility, this is the last piece of the ‘EDI+A’ puzzle needed for science and education as learning settings to thrive. This dimension refers to the process of enabling access to everyone, and that means for example people with different intellectual, cognitive or motor abilities, different educational backgrounds or socioeconomic status.

It was long before transitioning from the bench to working in science education that I realized that being a great scientist is more than being a good researcher. To me, working as a science educator means finding strategies that identify what it is to truly succeed in science, and that provide researchers with what they need to thrive in a science career, always highlighting the potential impact of their findings in society. Empowering scientists is to promote their contributions to progress through an (inter)change of ideas while advocating for the principle of openness to increase the reliability, accountability, and transparency of research, and further its impact in people’s lives.


  1. Rosman T. et al, Open Science and public trust in science: results from two studies, Public Underst Sci 2022
  2. Dickinson B. & Soulière M, Competing interests in Peer Review: The importance of transparency, Frontiers 2017
  3. Peterson O. H., Inequality of Research Funding between Different Countries and Regions is a Serious Problem for Global Science, Function 2021
  4. Swartz T. H., The Science and Value of Diversity: Closing the Gaps in Our Understanding of Inclusion and Diversity, The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2019