Graduation guide

Pang Yuhao (CC-BY)

Before reading this guide please note: there is no need for mentees to finalise or execute their projects as planned in order to graduate from the program. Open Seeds has been designed to support individuals or teams in advancing their research projects in order to make them open, and we are aware that doing so is a task that most times takes longer than 16 weeks. The main criteria used here is “process”, not “product”. It’s fine to change directions throughout your participation in the program, or even decide the project isn’t needed to continue - so long as genuine thought went into it.

How does the OLS team evaluate this “genuine reflection” actually happened? Mentors are asked to provide such evaluation. What should a mentor consider when assessing this? The mentor(s) should analyse if the mentee(s) have or have not made consistent efforts to advance their projects, and showed interest in the topic of open science and willingness to advance the goals of open science in their work.

These are the requirements to be able to graduate from the Open Seed programme by OLS:

  1. Attend at least 5 mentor-mentee meetings, unless there is a valid reason their mentors can confirm (The Open Seeds program includes 8 mentor-mentee meetings in total).
  2. A “yes” from your mentor(s) confirming your participation and engagement in OLS curriculum.
  3. Open Canvas discussed with their mentor.
  4. Vision and Mission statements discussed with their mentor.
  5. Roadmap discussed with their mentor.
  6. Attend cohort calls, or watch recorded videos.
  7. Participate in at least one skill up session, q&a, or thematic session, unless there is a valid reason their mentors can confirm.
  8. Complete the mid term survey for project leads/mentees.
  9. Present a 5 minute presentation in one of the graduation calls, or send a recording of a 15 minutes presentation created exclusively for Open Seeds OLS-8.

Types of graduation

Participants can graduate in two different ways:

  • Live presentation: by registering and then joining one of the three graduation sessions and presenting their project for up to 5 minutes (we are strict with time)
  • Pre-recorded presentation: by recording a 15 minute presentation and sending it to the OLS team by the end of week 16. These recordings will later be uploaded to our YouTube channel, and will also be shared on the ols-8 Slack channel (and other channels), for other participants to see.

Preparing for graduation

Do remember to sign up for and attend one of the graduation rehearsals, so you can get feedback and ideas for your presentation. For OLS-8, check the times in the schedule or public calendar.

What we expect from you at the graduation

  • We expect you to discuss your plan with your mentor in the meeting before graduation, prepare your presentation and be ready to answer questions from fellow participants, live during graduation, or via slack if you pre-record your graduation.
  • We want to hear about your project, the progress you have made, the hurdles you encountered, and what comes next. If you want, use the chance to invite others to join you as collaborators or advisers.
  • If possible, please use the Open Seeds slides template and OLS logos in your presentation.
  • If it is a group project, we would prefer if all project members are present during the graduation call, and more than one person speaks/delivers the presentation.
  • Please upload your presentation on Zenodo, and include ‘openlifesci’ in the ‘community’ section. This will allow us to feature your presentation on our Zenodo community page.

What happens if an emergency occurs?

If something unexpected happens and you cannot prepare your presentation in the expected timeframe, please get in touch with us - - and we will get back to you to discuss your case.

Graduates and their projects

Upon your graduation, as an Open Seeds OLS cohort graduate you can call yourself an OLS Fellow and Alumna/Alumnus.

We have recently named our mentoring programme as Open Seeds. You can refer to the graduating projects as Open Seeds Sprout or seedlings, or Open Seeds Plántula or Germoglio… etc (see below).

  • In Portuguese: “broto”, a young plant = muda or mudinha
  • In Spanish: “plántula”
  • In Italian: Germoglio
  • In Russian: Проросток
  • In German: Spross (add)

What happens if you do not graduate?

  • Those who don’t graduate, can they say they participated? You can say you participated, but didn’t complete it.
  • Can you apply again to OLS? Yes, you can apply again with another different project.
  • Can you come back to OLS, in the next cohort with the same project? You can. Please describe in your proposal what challenges or hurdles blocked you from continuing your participation in the previous cohort. We also ask your mentor what they think and if they recommend any changes. However, we ask you to consider that as of December 2023, OLS is not sure when Open Seeds OLS-9 will take place.

Other Q&As

  • If you are a team of 3 or more people, does everyone have to present in one of the graduation sessions or participate in the recorded presentation? No, although we prefer all team members to be present in the graduation sessions, and that they present in the pre-recorded presentations.
  • If you are a team of people, does everyone have to complete the requirements listed in this document in order to graduate? Yes. The requirements apply to each participant.
  • If you didn’t graduate, can you be nominated by your mentor to become a mentor? Some of our participants are open science practitioners and experts, and hence can be nominated as a mentor. We would prefer that you graduate from the programme unless there is a valid reason you or your mentor can share with the OLS team.
  • Can people nominate themselves to be invited back as experts, facilitators or mentors? Graduates can nominate themselves as experts and facilitators. They can express their interest to join as mentors, but we will confirm your readiness to mentor from your mentor.
  • Can people be nominated by other OLS community members despite not having graduated? Yes, but we would prioritise graduates in the next cohort to ensure fair opportunity is given to folks who have engaged in the programme.

See below more information about weeks 15 and 16

Week-15 Information: Rehearsal calls

During week 15 we organise 3 graduation rehearsal calls. These calls are not recorded and their purpose is to help mentees rehearse their presentations, get feedback from OLS team members and other fellow mentees and therefore make a better graduation presentation. During these calls we will:

  • Start by introducing how to give and receive constructive feedback.
  • Have the participants present their project in a 5 minute mock presentation.
  • Share feedback on the project and presentation to help prepare for the final graduation call.

Before this call

  • Prepare to share a 5 mins presentation of your project - it doesn’t have to be a polished or finished presentation.
  • Your presentation can be in the form of a demo, a short 1-2 slides presentation or a walk through your website or other materials you find appropriate.
  • This 3 min presentation should only be a snapshot of your entire presentation (your graduation presentation will be either 5 or 15 min long, depending on the format you choose).

Week 16: Graduation Calls

(Optional) Prompts for your presentation

Here are a few questions to help you generate ideas and content for your graduation presentation. Your notes to these prompts can be used to write a speed blog or a final report.

Project background

  • Tell us what motivated you to work on your OLS project.

Goals and expectations in OLS

  • What did you expect or hope to learn from participating in OLS?
  • Missions and goals set at the beginning of the OLS process.

Goals achieved, key understanding, accomplishments

  • List 2-3 things you’ve learned or accomplished whilst participating.
  • Was this the same as the goals you originally set?

OLS journey

  • Initial steps: Starting out - what did you do to explore the problems / project?
  • What elements helped you get there: Discussions, connections made, activities carried out, mentors consulted, other?
  • Did you apply anything you learned to other projects or areas in your life?

Next steps

  • My immediate next step is to: Whether you’re launching something, bringing someone new in, adding governance, or writing up a project plan or case study - what’s happening next?
  • Longer term tasks: What will be the long term goals and sustainability plans - this can also be about starting your project if you did not do that already

Staying connected

  • What is your call for action? how can people collaborate in your project? Where can someone help or learn about your project? Include links to your work!
  • Do you plan to stay in touch with the OLS community or other members? If yes, how do you think you can do that?

Special mentions and acknowledgements Please mention ideas, lessons and people who helped you achieve whatever you could in this project so far.

Optional Reflection

More questions on helping you envision your next steps in the project

Visit your project vision to reflect on it

  • What I (or we) plan to create in the next 10 months.
  • The vision of what will be the outcomes, if I am successful in my work.

Think about

  • What will be so in 5/10/20 years time? What is your overall BIG vision?
  • Why is this important to you? What is in it for you? For others?
  • What are 2-3 key activities or critical points we should know about your vision?
  • What is the difference your vision will make for you, your community?

What is a speed blog? You can write a speedblog and share with the OLS team. We will post your speedblog on the OLS website. See this post for guidance on speed blogging, or explore our guide for further direction. Below are some examples of speedblogs from previous cohorts: