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Position statement on Open Research

1. What is Open Research?

Open Research (also known as Open Science) is the practice of applying principles of transparency and rigour to as many stages as possible of the research lifecycle. This practice leads to greater collaboration, reuse, and reproducibility of research findings.

Open Research practices vary across disciplines and include the pre-registration of methodological plans and protocols in advance of collecting data, fully reporting all analyses, and sharing outputs and appendices (e.g., protocols, methodology, analysis code, data, and publications) as early as possible in the research process.

2. Why is Open Research important? 

Open Research practices increase access, transparency, and rigour, ultimately producing better research. It helps sustain a vibrant research community and aligns with the University’s core purpose which is to advance education, knowledge and wisdom for the good of society.

The importance of Open Research is recognised by the number of global community initiatives that seek to drive forward this area such as the Berlin Declaration on Open Access, the Sorbonne Declaration on Research Data Rights, and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

Funders similarly recognise the value of Open Research and are increasingly including openness and transparency mandates as a condition of awards.

3. Principles 

The University supports the principles of Open Research and researchers are encouraged to apply these throughout the research lifecycle. While engagement with the principles is voluntary, the University expects researchers to act in accordance with funder mandates.

Principles: 

  • Pre-registration of research 
  • Transparency in research methodology
  • Public availability and reusability of research data and analysis code
  • Public accessibility and transparency of research communication
  • Data described according to FAIR Data Principles, ensuring that it is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable and publicly available where possible.
  • Using web-based tools to facilitate collaboration.

The University recognises that engagement with the principles will differ across disciplines and projects and may be determined by a variety of factors, eg. commercial potential, industry partnerships, human participant data, publisher requirements. All credible, practical and sustainable means of practising Open Research will be supported by the University. 

The University recognises that engagement with these principles will differ across disciplines and projects and may be determined by a variety of factors, e.g., commercial potential, industry partnerships, human participant data, and publisher requirements. All credible and sustainable means of practising Open Research will be supported by the University.

4. Expectations and support for Open Research

The University has two key expectations of research staff and students: that researchers, in discussion with collaborative partners, build Open Research practices into their research workflows wherever practical, and that research outputs will be as open as early as possible.

Researchers retain the freedom of choice to decide the outlet for sharing their research outputs but are required to take funder policies into account and encouraged to consider Open Research principles when making choices.

To support these expectations, the University will provide:

  • guidance and training for researchers at all career stages, including advice on using open computational tools, sharing outputs, and funder policies.
  • guidance on external tools and systems (e.g., Open Science Framework, GitHub, Docker, Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs)), and access to local systems (e.g., Pure, OA Gateway, ORCID, the University’s Data Repository, Research Data Gateway, Overleaf) to facilitate Open Research.
  • support for sustainable Open Access options

Knowledge exchange, guidance and training will continue to be supported by relevant expert teams (e.g., Library, Research IT, Research and Business Engagement, Information Governance), will be promoted through multiple channels, and will build on existing provision.

The University will engage in discussions locally, nationally and internationally to ensure that development of policies, procedures, and reward structures relating to Open Research aligns with institutional objectives and commitments.

The University is committed to responsible metrics, i.e., using the intrinsic merit of the work (exhibited by academic rigour, innovation and level of scholarship) and not the publishing outlet, when making quality judgements.

5. Monitoring

Institutional and funder policies underpin Open Research and the University will monitor the adoption of Open Research practices by its researchers, to report as required and to inform the design of institutional policies and systems that support Open Research.

Monitoring will include, but not be limited to, the use of internal and external systems and software that support Open Research, for example the University’s research information system (PURE), other approved data repositories, and the use of Open Access funding for publications.

6. Contact

Further information and contact details are available on the Library’s website