Providing feedback and getting help

  • Open a new issue at the datacarpentry/semester-biology repository on GitHub (You’ll have to be logged into GitHub).
  • Provide a clear description of your question, comment, or proposed change in the Title section and use the Leave a comment section for further detail or discussion.
  • Select Submit new issue and the repository maintainers will be notified of your feedback. Thanks!


  • You can also email us at (Though we prefer organizing comments and issues on GitHub, we want to hear from you and we want it to be easy.)

Contributing New Material

We use standard GitHub flow: fork the repository, add or change material, and submit a pull request.

  • From a local GitHub repository
    1. Fork and clone the
      datacarpentry/semester-biology repository on GitHub.
    2. Create a branch from master for your changes. Give your branch a meaningful name, such as fix-typos-in-select-query or add-groupby.
    3. Make your changes, commit them, and push them to your repository on GitHub.
    4. Send a pull request to the master branch of the main repository.
  • From
    1. Click on the Fork button at the top right corner of the datacarpentry/semester-biology repository on GitHub.
    2. Navigate to your forked repository at
    3. Navigate to the file or directory you want to change (like and click on the button to edit.
    4. Make changes to the file.
    5. Commit the changes using the form at the bottom of the edit page. If you are working on your own forked version of the course, you can choose ‘Commit directly to the master branch’. The other option (‘Create a new branch’) is used for a work flow with Pull Requests, which is our preferred way of receiving collaborative contributions.
  • If it is easier for you to send your changes to us some other way, please email us at Given a choice between you creating content or wrestling with Git, we’d rather have you doing the former.


Data Carpentry for Biologists is an open source project, and we welcome contributions of all kinds: new and improved lessons, bug reports, and small fixes to existing material are all useful. Course materials are managed on GitHub to facilitate collaboration on developing this kind of material for university courses. The central component of a flipped computing course is the exercises, so one of the primary forms of contribution we expect will be adding exercises to the existing set. Individual instructors can then select from a rich pool of exercises the set that best fit the topics, languages, and scientific domains they want to cover in the course.

There are lots of great resources for being introduced to the individual concepts being taught in courses like this. Our philosophy is to use and improve these external resources when available instead of creating new versions of the same content. In particularly we actively use Data Carpentry and Software Carpentry workshop materials. However, in cases where the necessary material doesn’t exist elsewhere it can certainly be added to materials/.

By contributing, you are agreeing that your work is licensed using a combination of CC-BY and MIT licenses and may be openly used, modified, and distributed by others.