Open research, or ‘open science’ as it is also known, includes openness throughout the research cycle. This means that researchers work collaboratively, sharing knowledge and experiences throughout their processes. This includes making methodologies, software, code, and research findings freely available online.
Open research therefore has several strands, depending on the stage of research. Open access usually refers to publications, but generally means that something is freely available to access online, without paywalls. Open data is often used to talk about the underlying data which has been made available. Data can sometimes be a bit more complicated to make open, as it might need anonymising if human participants are involved, and permission needs to be sought before collecting data.
Open research has wide-ranging benefits. At the core of the open research movement is the idea of fairness, and allowing society as a whole to access scientific research, not just those with paid access. This is especially important for publicly funded research, and in developing countries.
Making research more transparent and accessible also allows greater reproducibility in research. When research can be successfully reproduced, this leads to more reliable science, and open research offers a great opportunity to achieve this.
Open access publications have also been found to have higher usage. Publishing openly therefore helps to boost your research profile, and increases opportunities for collaboration. This means open research increases the visibility of both your research, and your institution.
Open research is a crucial movement in the scholarly landscape, with wide-ranging benefits felt throughout the world. Through enabling unlimited access to scientific processes and findings, important research findings are made available to everyone.
This Ted Talk summarises some of the underlying incentives for moving toward open research.
Throughout this guide, different elements of open research will be explored in more depth.
Open access: An introduction to open access, including explanations of the routes to publishing open access, and the benefits of open access.
Open access publishing: Information about current opportunities to publish open access with no added fees, including the University's deals with publishers, and links to our institutional repository.
Open access content: Discover some of the best ways to find open access content either for your own research, or to add to your reading lists.
Open education: Information about the importance of open education, and things to consider when using and creating open educational materials.