Open research encompasses the entire research process, to make all aspects of the research cycle accessible. This extends the established ways to share your research of making publications open access and making the underlying data available.
Open research could include results, software and code, methodology, protocols and documentation, as well as publications and data. Other open research initiatives are study preregistration, use of preprints and open peer review. In the arts and humanities, open research will take many forms and may include sharing digital humanities methods and tools, reflections on your research practice, notes, audio-visual materials and annotated bibliographies.
Funders including UKRI and Wellcome recognise the value of open research. Both have policies emphasising open research practices. The principles of open research are applicable to all disciplines. Open practices will vary depending on the nature of research.
Research should be “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. Some research outputs cannot be openly available due to ethical, legal or commercial restrictions.
The basic principles of open research are to:
- make publications available open access
- make underlying data relating to publications openly available
- share protocols and methodologies
- share software and code
- share negative results to prevent unnecessary repetition of research
- establish rights for (archival) source material to be digitised and shared where possible
- apply appropriate licences to your open material eg Creative Commons
- use persistent identifiers consistently throughout your workflow eg DOI and ORCID
- exploit online tools to aid collaboration including blogging, social media, altmetrics, pre-print servers.
For some researchers, practicing open research is already second nature. Others may feel it adds another stage to the research process, but there are significant benefits for you and the research community.
Practicing open research:
- demonstrates your research is robust
- helps other researchers to reproduce your results
- helps other researchers to avoid repeating research
- ensures you retain access to your own work in the long term
- enables faster dissemination and impact, helping to raise your research profile
- extends the reach and impact of research outside academia
- increases opportunities for collaboration
- increases chances of citations.