OSR – Open Science Resources: Towards the development of a Shared Digital Repository for Formal and Informal Science Education


The OSR portal gives various users access to digital resources from top science centres and museums. Teachers, museum visitors and students can find materials for all their learning needs.

Open Science Resources (OSR) aims to create a shared repository of scientific digital resources, which are currently dispersed in science museums and science centres throughout Europe, and to make them widely and coherently available, searchable and usable in formal and informal learning situations.

A highly accessible and well organised portal, equipped with multi-field searching tools, provides an easy and attractive interface to access the repository. Through the OSR portal, users are able to view the digital collections of European science centres and museums, alongside a storyline that connects different objects that are physically kept in different European museums.

The OSR resources are available in eight European languages. Users of the portal can search for separate Learning Objects or follow Educational Pathways that connect different objects tagged with semantic metadata. Social tagging tools allow users to contribute keywords openly to the resources, and the portal also facilitates user engagement with the content of the museums and science centers. By accessing the portal through hand-held devices, such as PDAs or smart-phones, visitors can gain information about exhibits and also store information about their visit.

Basic information

Country: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, Other

Coordinator: Ecsite – the European Network of Science Centres and Museums, http://www.ecsite.eu

Programme: Other

Project Acronym:

Target groups: general public, parents, primary school students, secondary school students, teachers, youth clubs

Topic: Astronomy, Biochemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Earth science, Ecology, Food science, Genetics, Geology, Physics, Education

Start year: 2009

End year: 2012

Url: http://www.osrportal.eu

Contact person: Jennifer Palumbo, Projects Coordinator, Ecsite, jpalumbo (at) ecsite.eu

The OSR approach facilitates lifelong learning, as it aims to improve quality of learning by providing access to resources and services with significant educational value and to reinforce the contribution of lifelong learning to social cohesion, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and personal fulfilment.

The work builds on this aim, as it offers young people the opportunity to use numerous online resources from science centres and museums in the framework of their normal school curriculum as well as in informal learning situations. Moreover, it contributes to the access to and sharing of advanced tools, services and learning resources not only between schools, but also among science museums and centres. In this way, it supports the provision of key skills to future citizens and scientists, such as collaborative work, creativity, adaptability, and intercultural communication.

The Educational Pathways, are a rich educational tool, provided for and by users. They are constructed as narratives, guiding the user through a sequence of meaningful activities that involve learning in different settings and for different target audiences. Educational Pathways provide a meaningful connection between different digital objects, either in a structured sequence of activities or as an open collection of different objects to reflect the variety of users, ranging from school groups to the casual visitor.

Educators and other users can use the Educational Pathway tool to collect resources in an open format for later use, or use additional resources to prepare a structured lesson plan. Objects and educational pathways are enriched with a complete set of metadata regarding the target audience, the language and the topic. Additional keywords can be added through the social tagging tool. Each resource is also user-rated to provide an overview of favourite activities.

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