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Center for Open Science Employee Manual

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Employee Manual

Welcome to COS!

Thank you for joining the Center for Open Science (COS) team. COS is a technology start-up with a non-profit agenda. It is a dynamic, innovative, aspirational, high-energy organization that aims to serve the scientific community. COS seeks to integrate and/or collaborate with other projects, organizations, and infrastructures rather than competing or reinventing. We put the values we preach into action daily and aim to be an employer of choice by engaging in open communication, having well defined values, and a strong team. COS’s most precious asset is you - the staff. Together, we will build state of the art tools and help to improve scientific practices.


Brian Nosek Executive Director

COS Mission and Values

The Center for Open Science (COS) was founded January 15, 2013. COS aims to increase the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research. We achieve this mission through three primary activities:

  1. Developing, maintaining, and connecting infrastructures that support the research workflow and enable open practices.
  2. Building a community of developers, scientists, and scientific stakeholders around open practices.
  3. Conducting metascience research to improve the empirical evidence for the state of scientific practices and evaluation of means to improve those practices.

Daily Standup Meetings

The COS Team meets daily (M-F) at 9:00 AM for company announcements. Everyone then splits into brief functional team scrum meetings for individual updates. Each staff member shares their main priority for the previous day, the current day, and any barriers preventing progress. The team meeting and scrum meetings are important to attend.

Catered Lunches: On Tuesdays at 12:30 PM COS offers a catered lunch to the staff. Most lunches have a presenter or a planned topic of discussion. Please remember to fill in the food restrictions field in Zenefits.


Digital technologies enable high connectivity at a distance. However, many of the COS projects benefit from real-time face-to-face contact whenever feasible. As such, the standard expectation is for team members to be present in the office during ordinary business hours.

Security and Office Access

COS offices will be accessible to full-time, regular staff at all times - even during non-standard business hours. All full-time COS staff will receive an access card to Suite 500 for accessing the Omni Downtown Business Center during non-business hours. Notify Human Resources if a pass is lost or broken. Initial access cards will be provided and paid for by COS, but replacement passes will be the responsibility of the employee ($15 per pass). All full-time, regular staff must have a valid and working access card in order to support operations of COS. The last full-time employee to leave the office is responsible for making sure the front and back doors are locked and the security system is re-armed. (Note: this card is also used for parking at the Omni parking garage). If you encounter difficulties with the alarm system, contact information is located on the key panel for the appropriate staff members; immediately call the staff member listed to notify them.


COS offices are located in the Business Center of the Downtown Omni Hotel which is within walking distance to the historic Charlottesville Downtown Mall. The area boasts variety of locally owned restaurants, shops, bars, and music venues and is the social and commercial center of Charlottesville. This prime location provides lifestyle value to the staff and is convenient for visitors to work with COS and enjoy the pleasures of Charlottesville.

Dress Code

Staff can dress how they wish, following reasonable community standards for appropriate attire. For example, there will be frequent visitors. COS is a casual, high-performance environment, but not an unkempt one.

Paperless Office

We encourage digital signatures, scanning receipts, and digital communication. There is little reason or value in using paper when digital technologies allow duplication, extra security options, and easy sharing. COS uses Google Drive for storing and sharing documents. Please avoid printing in the COS office; rather utilize the business office located in the Omni for your printing needs.

Catered Meals and Fully Stocked Kitchen

The COS refrigerator and kitchen cabinets are fully stocked with the staff’s favorite snacks and beverages. If you notice the kitchen is out of something, indicate this on the OSF project for ordering. If you have any special requests for snacks or beverages, let the Operations Manager know.

Wednesdays are left over days – many times there will be leftovers from Tuesday’s catered lunches. Help yourself or take some home with you. Remember: if you’re the last person to eat left-overs, make sure to put them away and clean up.

Also, as a community kitchen, each member of the community is responsible for its cleanliness. When the dishwasher is full but dirty, start it. When the dishwasher is full but clean, empty it. Do not leave food or dishes on the counter, in the sink or around the office.


We are an Apple shop and most of our staff use laptops. Some desks are equipped with 27” monitors for expanding the digital workspace. If computing availability is not meeting your needs, discuss with Human Resources to ensure that you have the computing resources needed for success.

COS Laptop Purchase Policy

COS may offer staff the option to purchase their laptop when they leave COS, for the book value of their machine, plus 10%. For staff to qualify to buy their laptop when they leave the organization, the following terms should be met:

  1. Be employed by COS for at least 2 years, and leave in good standing
  2. The machine must be at least three years old
  3. If the laptop is a Macbook Pro, the option to purchase is at the discretion of the Operations Manager. Despite meeting the above terms, Macbook Pros may not be available for purchase as they may be retained for other employees depending on age, and other factors.
  4. Once the machine has met the terms above and the purchasing party has agreed to the payment terms, a signed laptop purchase agreement will be required.


Full-time, regular employees will be provided with a parking pass if needed. Because of limited parking and cost, full-time, regular employees are encouraged to use alternative transportation instead of requesting a parking pass if possible. Part-time, regular; full-time, temporary, and part-time, temporary employees will not have access to parking passes, and should likewise make use of bus routes, walking, and other modes of transportation. The Charlottesville City Transit system offers access to much of the area and all routes converge at the Downtown Mall, right near the COS offices. Please take a look at the map, and see how this will work for your transportation needs. For non full-time, regular employees, COS can reimburse for monthly bus passes if needed. Bike parking is provided on the top level of the Omni parking garage.

COS Green and Healthy Commute Program:

COS encourages employees to reduce their impact upon the environment and live a healthy lifestyle. Employees can help the environment and their health by using alternate modes of transportation for commuting to and from the office, and simultaneously address limited available parking in the area.

Employees who are eligible for a parking pass but decline to receive it can claim a bicycle commute or mass transit reimbursement of up to $20/month. This provides reimbursement for bicycle use and maintenance expenses or bus transit passes. Those that decline a parking pass may also use daily parking validation at the Omni up to 2 times per month for inclement weather or other disruptive situations, and up to $20/month for occasional taxi/Uber use when working in the office beyond a normal work schedule. Reimbursement follows standard procedures.

Gym Access

COS staff has access to the gym facilities at the Omni. This includes access to all exercise equipment, showers, whirlpool, and indoor and outdoor pools. Up to two COS staff can use the facilities at a time. Per an agreement with the Omni, if the gym is in heavy use by hotel guests, then COS staff would select another time to workout.

The Operations Manager keeps the gym passes in a small notebook complete with a sign in/sign out sheet to ensure the passes are never misplaced. Be sure to return the pass when you are done using it.

Staff also have the option to enroll in payroll deduction for their ACAC (gym) membership dues. Please see Human Resources if you are interested in this program or would like more information.

Flexible Work Schedule

COS is committed to the well-being of its staff. To honor this, COS allows flexible hours for medical appointments (doctors’ visit, dentist appointment and other necessary appointments to maintain well-being). Appointments and time out of the office must be communicated with your team. COS also supports flexibility in work scheduling. If such flexibility is required (e.g., to support travel-heavy positions), employees must address alternative scheduling with their manager and, if such alternative scheduling occurs consistently for more than two weeks, be discussed with Human Resources.

Upon hire, all full-time COS employees receive fifteen (15) days of “Paid Time Off” (PTO). Starting on a staff member’s 3-year anniversary, they will receive 18 days of PTO, and starting on a staff member’s 5-year anniversary, they will receive 20 days of PTO. Upon termination, all unused PTO will be forfeited. PTO is not accrued and has no cash value. PTO follows a year-to-date schedule, based on the employee’s anniversary date.

Staff must receive manager approval for PTO and indicate the time off on their COS calendar. When scheduling PTO, staff must “invite” their manager to the event; if the manager accepts the invitation, this indicates the PTO is approved. If the invitation is declined, the PTO has been declined.

All staff who cannot work due to an illness should notify Human Resources and their team lead and use PTO for the first 2 days, unless the employee is able to work from home during that time. Any absence due to an illness for more than 2 consecutive days will require a note from a doctor providing justification for not being in the office. Failure to provide this will be considered a voluntary separation from COS, unless extenuating circumstances exist which make it difficult to provide a note in this timeframe. In this case the employee should notify Human Resources and their team lead to develop an alternative timeline for this supporting documentation.

COS does not have separate sick leave; however, if an employee is sick for more than 2 consecutive days, thus requiring the use of PTO, any further time off needed for that event can be drawn from our Leave for Unique Life Circumstances policy, to alleviate further PTO usage. Multiple illnesses within the same year will follow this guideline, as long as the collective time does not exceed the allotted 3 months of Paid Leave for Unique Life Circumstances, and is not applied retroactively. If an employee gets ill and has no PTO remaining, they should work with their manager on a plan, which may include taking unpaid time off.

In the event an employee needs time off to care for an immediate family member or domestic partner who is ill, even if a full 3 months is not needed, this is allowed, pending immediate, or as soon as possible and practical notification of Human Resources, including providing a doctor’s note. 2 days of PTO is not required in these instances.

Examples of this policy in action:

  1. Jane gets ill and takes the first 2 days of PTO, per the policy. She provides a doctor’s note to Human Resources on day 3 of being ill. On day 3, she still doesn’t feel well enough to come to work. Her doctor recommends she takes another week off to recover. Jane uses 1 week of the Paid Leave for Unique Life Circumstances leave, which leaves her with 11 weeks of which to draw from in the future, should another occurrence arise with Jane or a family member.
  2. Peggy is pregnant and knows she would like to take three months off when her baby is born in May. She gets ill in March and takes 2 days of PTO, per the policy. She provides a doctor’s note to Human Resources on day 3 of being ill. On day 3, she is still sick, but does not want to dip into the Paid Leave for Unique Life Circumstances. Knowing that she will not be able to extend her leave beyond the 3 months in May with PTO or unpaid time off, Peggy decides to use PTO for the entire time she is sick now, instead of dipping into the allotted 3 months of paid leave. This is allowed, pending notification of Human Resources that she requests to use PTO for the entirety of her illness instead of dipping into paid leave.
  3. Mark gets ill in July and takes 2 days of PTO, per the policy. He provides a doctor’s note to Human Resources on day 3 of being ill. Mark decides to take 2 extra days of PTO for his illness instead of dipping into the Paid Leave for Unique Life Circumstances. Later in the year, Mark realizes he does not have enough PTO to cover his vacation in December. Mark is not allowed to retroactively apply the Paid Leave for Unique Life Circumstances from his sick time in July to reclaim PTO days.
  4. Maya gets into a car accident. She provides Human Resources with a doctor’s note as soon as she is able. She takes 2 days of PTO, per the policy. Maya has extensive injuries and requests to take paid leave for 3 months. After she’s exhausted the 3 months, Maya is still disbled and unable to work; she is now eligible for long term disability coverage.

COS employees may request additional paid time off in order to deal with extended sickness or life changing events for themselves, domestic partners, or immediate family members. To offer support in these circumstances, COS offers paid leave for up to twelve (12) weeks to all full-time, regular employees. Examples of such life changing events are; to care for their child after birth, after or during the adoption process, to care for their spouse/domestic partner, child, or parent who has a serious health condition, or if the employee is unable to work because of their own serious health condition. All leave must be taken in the first year after the birth or adoption, or the year in which they are caring for their family member or spouse/domestic partner. Employees may take more than one leave for qualifying events, but may take no more than twelve (12) weeks in total per year (based on anniversary date) . The maximum leave period is 12 weeks and cannot be extended using PTO or unpaid time off. An employee must give Human Resources 30 days notice, prior to the event, if they intend to utilize this benefit. If 30 days advance notice is not possible because the foreseeable situation has changed or the employee does not know exactly when leave will be required (e.g. extended personal sickness), the employee must provide notice of the need for leave as soon as possible and practical.

A domestic partner is defined in the same manner here as in COS’s medical insurance eligibility policy (see below).


COS does not meet the 50 full-time employee threshold that requires compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act, however; COS’s Leave for Unique Life Circumstances policy goes above and beyond what FMLA requires, so by default, COS is compliant with FMLA regulations, should the organization reach the 50 full-time employee threshold in the future.

Long-Term Disability

COS will cover 100% of full-time regular employee premium costs under Principal’s long-term disability plan. Employees are eligible for entry upon hire date and will be automatically enrolled into the plan. Coverage will begin on the first day of the subsequent month in which employees are hired.

Long term disability insurance covers 60% of an employee’s monthly predisability earnings, should they become disabled. Long-term disability is available to all full-time staff, only after the Paid Leave for Unique Life Circumstances has been exhausted. Please see Human Resources for any additional questions about COS’ long-term disability policy.

Hourly Time Tracking

Hourly staff members are responsible for submitting their timecards on time for payroll processing. Staff who do not meet these requirements will not be paid for their unrecorded time until the next pay period. All overtime hours must be recorded and pre-approved by your manager. Hourly employees will be added to upon hire, and be sent an email with details and temporary password to log in. If you have missed hours, or need a password reset, please notify Human Resources. If you are sick, or need to make a schedule change, please notify Human Resources. For more detailed information about time card due dates and corresponding pay periods, reference your welcome email from Zenefits.

The following U.S. holidays are observed by COS and do not count against Paid Time Off credit for full-time, regular employees. Part-time regular employees who work a set hourly schedule are eligible for paid holidays, if their regularly scheduled day to work falls on an observed holiday. Part-time regular employees who work a variable hourly schedule are not eligible for paid holidays. Holidays observed are: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. We support cultural and community diversity. If employees celebrate holidays that are not listed above, COS will provide a floating holiday option. All paid holidays are on the COS calendar.

Bereavement Leave

Full-time regular and part-time regular staff will be paid for up to five (5) days to attend the funeral of a family member. If additional time-off is required, it is possible to arrange with your manager. All other requests for time off in relation to bereavement will be decided on a case by case basis, as needed.

Jury Duty

All staff members will be excused with pay for five (5) days if called to serve jury duty.

Remote Work for Unique Life Circumstances

COS employees may request an extended remote work arrangement in order to deal with a life changing event. Example events include temporary relocation to care for a family or friend with a serious health condition, relocation with a spouse who takes a new job elsewhere, or a change in family circumstances making daily commutes to COS impractical. To offer support in these circumstances, COS offers the flexibility to work from different geographic locations with some basic requirements. Employees must commit to participate remotely in daily team scrums, have reliable Internet access to participate in video conference calls as needed, commit to work within mostly normal Eastern business hours schedule, and commit to be in the office to meet with the team in-person at an interval agreed upon with their supervisor. Remote work arrangements will typically begin as a 6-week trial period with a formal review and decision whether to extend and if any changes to the agreement are necessary. All part-time and full-time regular staff are eligible, though the responsibilities of some positions require being on-site. COS will aim to be flexible and accommodate requests when possible. Employees are responsible for providing their own remote work space and equipment, beyond their COS-provided laptop. COS expects that costs to accommodate a work space, such as personal Internet access or cell phone costs for connecting with those in the office, a large screen display, or renovations for the home office, will be the responsibility of the employee. Any costs associated with remote work that are expected to be covered should be discussed in advance to ensure alignment between employee and organization expectations. Remote agreements are part of an ongoing performance management approach, and can be changed at any time, at the manager’s discretion.

Professional Development

As part of COS’ commitment to allow employees opportunities for professional development, COS offers an additional 2 days a year off (in addition to PTO) for employees to attend a conference, take a class relating to their field, or attend other professional development opportunities relating to their field. Where such opportunities are particularly aligned with job relevant professional development, COS will consider proposals for financial support toward attendance or particpation. If travel support is also being provided from other sources, this must be disclosed with the request. Support will be adjusted accordingly, to account for other assistance being provided. The COS Travel Policy will be followed when booking accommodations for Professional Development. The process for requesting financial support is:

  1. Employee identifies a PD opportunity. The sooner the opportunity is requested, the better. Opportunities that are not identified prior to the event are not eligible for reimbursement.
  2. Employee completes the google form, providing additional information on the opportunity, including: overview of the opportunity, location, organizer’s contact information, registration deadlines, cost estimates for: airfare, group transportation (please use this), conference fees/registration, mileage (if driving), lodging, and justification for why PD should be approved, including how it will benefit your skill development, and COS as a whole. Please note that meal per diem is not provided.
  3. Human Resources reviews and confirms all information is correct.
  4. Request is sent to the employee’s manager/director for review/approval, who will assess based on departmental budget.
  5. If the request is not approved, your manager/director will let you know.
  6. Upon approval, employee will coordinate with HR and Operations Manager to book the opportunity.
  7. After attending the PD session, the employee will share what they have learned during an upcoming lunch talk.
  8. Each opportunity will be vetted for fit and alignment with the work and goals of COS, as well as available funds. Please also note that funds can only be approved for use within the fiscal year, ending December 31st.

Health Insurance (full-time regular employees)

COS offers health, dental, and vision insurance for employees their spouse, and dependents. Coverage will begin on the first day of the subsequent month in which employee is hired (i.e., hire date 06/15 - Insurance coverage will begin 07/01).

COS covers 100% of employee premium and 50% of all dependent coverage costs under the base plan. COS offers the option to buy up into the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthkeepers Platinum OAPOS and Platinum PPO plans. Employees will be responsible for paying cost difference between the two plans for both their individual coverage and any dependents under the Platinum OAPOS and Platinum PPO plans. These costs will be deducted from the employee’s paycheck pre-tax on a bi-monthly basis.

Open enrollment for the health insurance plan is in November of each year.

Upon separation from COS, COBRA is extended for a maximum of 18-months/1.5 years. Under this continuation, former full-time and part-time regular employees can remain on the COS insurance plan, but are responsible for paying for the entire health insurance premium for themselves and their dependents by the 15th of each month. All payments will be managed through Zenefits, with COBRA complete acting as third party administrator. Additional information will be supplied during the time of separation through Zenefits.

Additionally, COS offers health, dental, and vision insurance for domestic partners. To qualify as a domestic partnership, the following terms should be met:

  1. You are in a committed but unmarried relationship with a partner of the same or opposite sex for at least 6 months
  2. Neither person is married to someone other than the domestic partner and neither person is in a domestic partnership with another person
  3. You and your partner are jointly responsible for basic living expenses, such as food and housing costs. COS may require documentation of a domestic partnership, (e.g. a bill with both employee and domestic partner listed, common ownership of property, driver’s licenses showing a shared address, etc.)

Domestic partners are not a qualified beneficiary, which means they are not offered COBRA benefits when the member or the partner leaves the plan, and employee cannot pay the premium deductions on a pre-tax basis for their domestic partner.

Vision Insurance

COS will cover 100% of full-time employee and all dependent premium costs under Anthem’s Blue View Vision plan and and 50% of all dependent premium costs. Vision insurance coverage will begin on the first day of the subsequent month in which employees are hired (i.e., hire date 06/15 - Insurance coverage will begin 07/01).

Open enrollment for vision insurance is November of each year, with an effective date of December 1st.

Dental Insurance

COS will cover 100% of employee premium costs and 50% of spouse and dependent coverage under the Principal Dental Insurance plan.

Open enrollment for dental insurance is November of each year, with an effective date of December 1st.

Vanguard 401(k)

COS full-time regular, and part-time regular employees are immediately eligible to participate in the company’s 401(k) plan. COS offers a matching contribution of 100% up to 3% of pay and another 50% up to 5% of pay (the full match will be 4% if participants elect to defer 5%).

Full-time regular and part-time regular employees will be automatically enrolled into the plan at a traditional, elective deferral rate of 6%. Employees are able to modify their elective deferral rate at any time on the Vanguard employee portal.

Despite automatic enrollment into the plan, employees are still required to self enroll at the Vanguard website to set up their individual investment elections.

To enroll and set up your investment elections visit, To view the current investment lineup visit,

Employees may choose to participate in the plan at anytime or to withdraw their participation from the plan at anytime.