Openscapes is an approach for doing better science in less time. We offer mentorship, teaching, coaching and community organizing centered around open data science: we help teams develop collaborative practices that are more reproducible, transparent, inclusive, and kind. Openscapes is operated by the National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS) and incubated by Mozilla.


The Openscapes story starts with file names like “data_analysis_final_v2b.xls” — you know the ones.

Openscapes was founded by researchers who learned the hard way that their default approaches for data analysis were not reproducible by even themselves. They found themselves struggling with unruly documentation buried in forwarded emails and knew they needed to find a better way to analyze data in a collaborative way.

Open data science was a game-changer — this is the tooling and people enabling reproducible, transparent, inclusive practices for data analysis. Using existing tools and the same workflows as others in open source communities, while becoming part of the open science movement, the researchers increased the efficiency and reproduciblity of their work and its impact as they shared their work through new science communication channels using those same analytical tools. The Ocean Health Index team at NCEAS found open science to be so empowering that they shared their story — our path to better science in less time using open data science tools — through a publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution, led by Openscapes founder Julia Lowndes.

Key ideas in that publication — that the transition to better science required both new skillsets and mindsets, and it was possible because of trust and teamwork — seeded the vision for Openscapes. Openscapes became a reality in the fall of 2018, when Mozilla (yes, the internet advocacy group that brings you Firefox) awarded Julia a fellowship to launch the program.

Erin Robinson joined Openscapes as Co-Director in late 2020 to strengthen our approach together and make Openscapes more inclusive and sustainable. We are excited to continue learning and iterating with the open movement towards kinder, better science for future us.


Openscapes has many supportive contributors at NCEAS, Mozilla, and the broader open community.

Julia Stewart Lowndes is Founder and Co-Director of Openscapes. She champions kinder, better science in less time through open data science and teamwork. As a marine data scientist, Mozilla Fellow ‘19 and Senior Fellow at NCEAS, she has 7+ years designing and leading programs to empower science teams with skillsets and mindsets for reproducible research, empowering researchers with existing open tools and communities. She has been building communities of practice in this space since 2013 with the Ocean Health Index after earning her PhD at Stanford University studying drivers and impacts of Humboldt squid in a changing climate. She is a Carpentries instructor and a co-founder of Eco-Data-Science and R-Ladies Santa Barbara. Learn more about Julia, email her, and follow her on Twitter.

Erin Robinson is Co-Director of Openscapes. She works at the intersection of community informatics, Earth science and non-profit management — building communities. Over the last 15 years, she has honed an eclectic skill set both technical and managerial, creating communities and programs with lasting impact around open science, data, and technology. Erin earned a M.Sc. at Washington University in St. Louis in 2010, where she began building communities of practice to support Air Quality researchers’ understanding of long-range smoke and dust events. Erin was Executive Director of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) from 2014-2020, and served as chair of AGU’s Data Management Advisory Board from 2014-2020. Erin is the co-founder of Metadata Game Changers, LLC and serves as an ad-hoc advisor to the NASEM Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science. Learn more about Erin, email her, and follow her on Twitter.


The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) conducts transformational science focused on informing solutions that will allow people and nature to thrive. Through data synthesis, collaborations, and open science, NCEAS accelerates scientific discoveries and generates big-picture insights to help solve environmental challenges. Established in 1995, NCEAS is an independent research affiliate of the University of California at Santa Barbara with a global network and impact. Learn more about NCEAS, subscribe to the newsletter, and follow them on Twitter or Facebook.


Mozilla believes the internet must always remain a global public resource, open and accessible to all. Its work is guided by the Mozilla Manifesto. Mozilla focuses on fueling the movement for a healthy internet by supporting a diverse group of fellows working on key internet issues; by connecting open internet leaders at events like MozFest; by publishing critical research in the Internet Health Report; and by rallying citizens around advocacy issues that connect the wellbeing of the internet directly to everyday life. Follow Mozilla on Twitter.


We are so grateful for our partners who are helping grow and improve Openscapes!


Openscapes is committed to providing a welcoming, safe, inclusive, and harassment-free experience for everyone.

We expect all participants to adhere to our Code of Conduct, which was influenced and adapted from rOpenSci and Mozilla.


Allison Horst creates original art for Openscapes, beginning as an artist in residence at NCEAS. Allison is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is also one of the inaugural Openscapes Champions. With a background in the fine arts, she also works digitally; see her stats illustrations and follow her on Twitter.

See all of Allison’s open landscapes on the gallery page.

Our logo designed by Allison Horst represents both the open landscapes and the data within them.


We thank our funders for supporting open science tools, people, and communities. Openscapes was originally created with support from Mozilla, which also sponsored the first Champions Cohort. In 2019 we received additional support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop a strategic growth plan for Openscapes.


The Openscapes website was created by Julia Lowndes — using the same open data science workflows she uses for research and promotes through Openscapes. The website code is on github, and is created with RStudio’s blogdown, using the hugo-universal-theme.