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Open Research

What is Open Research

Open Research aims to be more accessible, more reusable, more transparent, capable of reproducibility and promoting greater integrity around the process and greater trust in the results. It is essentially the traditional research process done more openly at every stage in the process. As the Foster website explains " Open Science is about extending the principles of openness to the whole research cycle, fostering sharing and collaboration as early as possible thus entailing a systemic change to the way science and research is done".

Benefits of Open Research

  1. Makes it easier to discover research
  2. Encourages collaboration and sharing from an early stage.
  3. No duplication of effort or data
  4. Traditional research locked behind journal paywalls. Outputs of open research available early and for free.
  5. Free access to material facilitates the rapid dissemination of ideas
  6. Greater dissemination may lead to more citations  and definitely more publicity and attention.
  7. Funders  see the benefits of sharing (as promoted by the Covid 19 pandemic) and are funding open research projects and demanding open access to publications and data
  8. Open access repositories preserve publications and data and help avoid the digital gap in the historical record

Big Questions

The move to open research is ongoing but there are big questions that need to be answered before it goes mainstream.

  1. How will this move impact on  careers, especially those of early career researchers? Currently, academic reputation is based on publishing in high quality journals. Flipping the model to open will involve a new system of incentives, rewards and recognition with more article level metrics being used.
  2. Will institutions implement responsible metrics where the quality of the research is evaluated and not where it is published? Such a evaluation process is fairer and more humane but also labour extensive and expensive to implement.
  3. Will the payment of article processing charges mean only rich institutions can afford to publish?
  4. Are there degrees of openness that should be applied to some projects and what are they? Can a project be classed as coming under open research if it only partially open, can one use the "as open as possible, as closed as necessary "defence?