What is open research?
Examples given below are intended as a starting point for developing your knowledge as an open researcher, they do not represent a comprehensive list of resources.
…is usually used to mean the worldwide movement to make scholarly publications available online to everyone regardless of their ability to pay for access. Publications can include articles in academic journals (whether peer-reviewed or not), conference papers, theses, book chapters or monographs. It’s about making research results transparent and available to build on.
Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the Harvard Open Access Project
Without open access, the outputs of research conducted using public money may not be available to that public through restrictions of price, copyright, and other barriers. Funding bodies and other policy-making organisations are increasingly proactive in ensuring that publically funded research is not hidden behind publication pay-walls and are
A great deal is written about open access, but here are just a few related links that you might find useful:
- Focus on Researcher careers in the open research environment
- Open access explained: animated video
- What does publishing open access mean for you as an author? Article from Nature
- Slides on the benefits of open access to early career researchers
- Simple table explaining the green and gold models for open access. From Elsevier
- Concerns about self-archive answered by OASIS
- About semantic enhancement of research articles. Example from David Shotton
- For more in-depth information, try UNESCO’s 2015 guides (learning modules) on scholarly communication, concepts of openness and open access and sharing your work in open access
- Or Peter Suber’s book: Open access
- How open is it? Describes different aspects of open access and the range of approaches taken in academic publishing. From SPARC, PLOS and OASPA
- Directory of open access journals
- Directory of open access repositories.
…is about making raw data from research quickly available to anyone so that they can interrogate and re-use it.
Realising the benefits of open data requires effective communication through a more intelligent openness. From Science as an open enterprise: the Royal Society
Open sharing of data is often appropriate and can be especially beneficial in some areas of research (e.g. the sharing of clinical data which could lead to public impact). On the other hand there may be legitimate reasons for keeping data closed.
Protecting Intellectual Property (IP) rights over data are still vital in many sectors, and legitimate reasons for keeping data closed must be respected. From Science as an open enterprise: the Royal Society
A few related links:
- Infographic from Wiley on how and why researchers are making data widely accessible. Based on 2014 worldwide survey of researchers
- Big data meets old history – amusing 2 minute video from one historian on tackling the data deluge
- LERU short guide on open research data
- Article from the HE Funding Council for England on open data and the UK Concordat on open research data
- DMPonline. Tool offering tailored guidance and examples to help researchers write data management plans. From the Digital Curation Centre.
… are also part of the open research movement. This can include opening access to code and software, scientific equipment or instructions for building it, plus any other tools or services that can promote efficiency in research. Scientists have always shared detailed information on the methods they employ in their research. This is taking the same principle further, because now that’s possible.
Some examples of projects operating in this area:
- Open Science Commons is an approach to sharing and governing advanced digital services, scientific instruments, data, knowledge and expertise that enables researchers to collaborate more easily and be more productive
- GEANT – European collaboration on e-infrastructure and services for research and education
- World Community Grid enables anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet to donate their unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on topics related to health, poverty and sustainability.
…includes taking an openly collaborative approach. This can encompass fostering relationships with and working alongside other researchers, often from other disciplines, taking new approaches such as openly posing research questions online and involving the public in the actual process of research, e.g. citizen science.
- Collaborative Science: web section about collaborative research, interdisciplinary teams, the benefits and potential challenges for researchers plus how to do it well. From Columbia University
- A well-known example of online collaboration to beat unsolved maths problems is the Polymath Project started by Tim Gowers
- The great potential of citizen science. Blog post by Benedikt Fecher looking at the second spring of citizen science
- The Citizen Science Alliance joins scientists, software developers and educators in collaborations to develop, manage and use citizen science projects to further science and the public understanding of science and the scientific process. The related site Zooniverse is for potential citizen scientists
- Call for participants is another advertising platform for academics to recruit study participants.
…is an important aspect of open research and one that is now often a requirement of research funders. It’s about ensuring that the public, often the ultimate funder of research themselves, is made aware of research outputs in a way that they can understand and also knows how to access research outputs and make use of them.
Some related links:
- Public Engagement in Responsible Research and Innovation. European Commission site on benefits and implementation in the Horizon 2020 funding programme
- Concordat for engaging the public with research. From the funders of research in the UK
- National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. UK website covers why and how to engage, who benefits and more
- The report of the National audit of Australian science engagement activities, 2012, recommended more participatory engagement aiming to change behaviours and help decision-making rather than simple one-way communication
- Ask for Evidence is a public campaign that helps people request for themselves the evidence behind news stories, marketing claims and policies.