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Open Science in Phytolith Research

Let’s make phytolith research better by moving into the era of open science!


Thanks for visiting the Open Science in Phytolith Research project repository. It’s great that you are taking an interest in this project and therefore in making our research community more open and transparent. :leaves: :ear_of_rice: :palm_tree:

In this document you can find lots of information about this project. You can just scroll down or use the quick links below for each section.

What is this project about and why is it important?

This project comes from the issues found in my recent research project to assess open science practices in phytolith research. My assessment found a general lack of use of open science practices, especially concerning reusable data sharing. The sharing of data and metadata was found to need improvement, and this can only be done with collaboration from researchers in this field. There is also a need to improve open access to publications for all so that our research community is more inclusive.

The problem

  • Lack of awareness of open science in phytolith research.
  • Lack of knowledge of open science in phytolith research.
  • Lack of data sharing and difficulties with standardisation of data.

The solution

The Open Science in Phytolith Research project aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the lack of open science in phytolith research through talks, blogs and other publications.
  • Develop knowledge through training in the different aspects of open science.
  • Establish a working group for open science in phytolith research and beyond.

Raising awareness of how a more open research community could benefit all researchers and improving knowledge of open science using training will help researchers to feel more confident to implement new ways of working. It will also help to build a community to start important collaborative work on drawing up discipline-specific guidelines for data sharing.

Who are we?

At the moment it’s just me!

Emma Karoune

I’m a postdoctoral researcher specialising in archaeobotany (macro-botanical remains and phytoliths). I am currently working as an independent researcher in collaboration with Historic England and my research focuses on developing a phytolith reference collection for the British Isles. I have a real passion for open science, which I think stems from working as a Science Teacher (I did this while having a bit of a break from academia) and therefore regularly teaching students how to work scientifically. I am very methods driven and feel that we should be striving to improve our science as much as possible. Open science is the way to go, if you want to be the best scientist you can be!

I am being helped along with the initial development of this project by participating in Open Life Science 2. Thanks to the program founders Bérénice, Malvika, and Yo for their inspirational leadership and also to my mentor Yvan for super help and advice.

What does this project need?

I need you!

The more collaborators/contributors on this project, the better it is going to be. Building a sustainable community of open researchers to develop open science practices related to phytolith research will have many benefits such as the development of discipline wide standards for methods and data sharing, improving the impact of your research, enabling reproducible studies and meta-analysis of phytolith data therefore building more robust methodologies and consequently more valid interpretations.

The project needs contributors with lots of different skills such as science communication, training material development, project management, database development and maintenance, and writing funding applications. Please get in touch if you want to help.

If you have any feedback on the work that is going on, then please get in contact.

How can you get involved?

If you think you can help in any way or just want to suggest something currently not in the project, then please check out the contributor’s guidelines and the roadmap (find these below).

Please note that it’s very important to maintain a positive and supportive environment for everyone who wants to participate. When you join as a collaborator, you must follow the code of conduct in all interactions both on and offline.

Get in touch

Please feel free to get in touch with Emma by email or on twitter.

  • twitter - @ekaroune

Find out more

You might be interested in:

  • Assessing open science practices in phytolith research - pre-print.
  • Data paper from assessing open science in phytolith research - article.

Here’s some other stuff to read:

  • Contributor’s guidelines - currently in development so please email Emma for more details.
  • Roadmap
  • Code of conduct

Thank you

Thanks for taking the time to read this project page and do please get involved.


  • Data paper: is a peer reviewed document describing a dataset, published in a peer reviewed journal. It makes datasets more findable and accessible.
  • Issue: the GitHub term for tasks, enhancements, and bugs for your projects.
  • Milestone: an event or state marking a specific stage in development on the project.
  • Open access: the practice through which research outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers.
  • Open Science: the movement to make scientific research (including publications, data, physical samples, and software) transparent and accessible to all.
  • Phytoliths: microscopic silica bodies formed in living plant cells.
  • Pre-print: a version of a scientific paper that precedes formal peer review and publication in a scientific journal.
  • README file: a document that introduces an open project to the public and any potential contributors.
  • Repository or repo: a collection of documents related to your project, in which you create and save new code or content.
  • Roadmap: a document outlining the schedule of work to be done on a project.


Shield: CC BY 4.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

CC BY 4.0