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Open Research


What is Open Research?

Open Research is an interchangeable term with 'Open Science'. A widely cited definition of open science is “the idea that scientific knowledge of all kinds should be openly shared as early as it is practical in the discovery process”. There are arguments that open science includes transparency of the research process (ie: making data and tools openly available), increased collaboration by making the research process public and open for anyone to join, and increased efforts to make science more available to the public.

Why Open Research?

Open Research embodies ideas of best research practice by opening access to results, data, protocols and other aspects of the research process. It also includes the use of open source software and open standards that offer unfettered dissemination of scientific discourse. By working in this manner it is likely we will increase reproducibility of research findings by providing full access to the major components of (particularly) scientific research. One argument for Open Research is the findings of medical research are disseminated too slowly under the current system.

Open Research at Cambridge

Open Research has been the subject of a series of blog posts from the Unlocking Research blog at Cambridge. Researchers at Cambridge have expressed interest in this area.

OpenCon Cambridge is a group of interested researchers and administrators across campus who work together as a community to organise an annual satellite event and run an active discussion on the mailing list.

The MRC Cognition and Brain Science Unit organise an annual Open Science day.

Open Research organisations

There are many global organisations working towards an open future.

FORCE11 (Future Of Research Communications and eScholarship) is a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders that has arisen organically to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing. Individually and collectively, we aim to bring about a change in modern scholarly communications through the effective use of information technology.

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) works to enable the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials in order to democratize access to knowledge, accelerate discovery, and increase the return on our investment in research and education. 

OpenCon is aimed at young researchers and is a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information

Enabling Open Scholarship is an organisation for universities and research institutions worldwide. The organisation is both an information service and a forum for raising and discussing issues around the mission of modern universities and research institutions, particularly with regard to the creation, dissemination and preservation of research findings.

The Centre for Open Science began with a single project and is now a team of 50 people supporting a much larger collection
 of communities that are producing tools and services to align scientific practices with scientific values.

International Open Research activity

In Europe:

Similarly there is a proposal for an Australian Open Research Cloud in the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Capability Issue Paper.

The first steps have been taken to build an African Research Cloud.

In March 2015, the Government of Japan released Promoting Open Science in Japan Opening up a new era for the advancement of science Executive Summary Report by the Expert Panel on Open Science, based on Global Perspectives Cabinet Office.

Editorial open requirements

Guidelines for journals are increasingly including concepts of openness. The Transparency and Openness Promotion framework (TOP) contains eight separate editorial guidelines for journals, each designed to be useful across the breadth of empirical disciplines. The guidelines include citation standards, data transparency, code and research materials transparency and others.  Some of these general guidelines require additional discipline-specific explanations. There are some suggestions for how journals implement these guidelines - for example ‘Tools for Transparency in Ecology and Evolution’.

Examples of Open Research

There are some oustanding examples of Open Research in action. The Open Source Malaria research project is guided by open source principles, where everything is open and anyone can contribute.

In HIV research, the HIC Collaborative DataSpace  is a response to the need for “a dramatic shift in the culture and practice of sharing research data.” They create “databases for sharing trial data globally and an insistence on pursuing diverse hypotheses.”


Open Research Newsletter sign-up

Please contact Laura Boxall ( to be added to the mailing list to receive our quarterly e-Newsletter.

The Office of Scholarly Communication sends this Newsletter to its subscribers in order to disseminate information relevant to open access, research data management, scholarly communication and open research topics. For details on how the personal information you enter here is used, please see our privacy policy