Open research (also referred to as open science) centres around processes and systems that promote the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research. The open research strategy is a model to ensure fair distribution of knowledge and encourages collaboration. There is a large body of literature for the citation advantage of open access articles. Thing 7 will explore resources about the open research movement and its importance.
Open research is important because it makes publicly funded research accessible to the public, can reach everyone who needs it, and improves research by enabling scrutiny of data and methodology.
Three key areas of open research are:
- Pre-registration of experiments
- Public sharing of research data
- Open access publishing
Visit the Wellcome Trust’s Open Research website to learn about their position on and support for open research.
Pre-registration of experiments is an important part of open research. Read “More and more scientists are preregistering their studies. Should you?”, by Kai Kupferschmidt, to find out how open research can improve the quality of research and research findings.
Sharing data is another of the key aspects of open research and is increasingly being mandated by institutions, funding agencies, and publishers around the world. Particularly in the sciences, sharing data can “lead to greater collaboration, increased confidence in findings and goodwill between researchers”, as outlined in “Data sharing and how it can benefit your scientific career”. On the flip side, for some of the pitfalls of data sharing, watch this short video: “Data sharing and management snafu in 3 short acts”.
Consider: What are the differences between the gold and green routes of open access publishing? What are the advantages of publishing research open access?
Explore some of the tools that help researchers open up their research outputs, from publications to software and data.
The Open Science Foundation (OSF) platform enables researchers to make their papers, research materials, and data publicly available.
Watch the short video “Getting started with the Open Science Framework” for an introduction to the OSF tool. What are some of the research tools that the OSF incorporates in its workflows?
To make their data easily accessible, researchers can deposit it in a dedicated data repository. Data repositories can be either discipline-specific or generalist. Explore the repositories indexed in the Registry of research data repositories.
Exercise: Go to Registry of research data repositories. Enter “geoscience” in the search box, then use the filters on the left to narrow your results.
Consider: Which repositories are used by researchers in your institution? Does your institution have its own data repository?
You can find a journal’s open access policy using Sherpa Romeo. It provides summaries of publisher copyright policies to help researchers determine if they can make a version of their research outputs openly available via subject or institutional repositories.
Exercise: Go to Sherpa Romeo and enter “Acta Ecologica Sinica” in the journal title search box. What are the open access options for the journal? How easy is it to understand the various pathways to or versions of OA using this tool? Note that the publisher imposes an embargo period for some open access options, how does this restriction impede the goals of open research?
Increasingly, researchers are sharing and citing software and code. When these “alternative” outputs are not cited correctly, citation tracking tools may not be able to link the citation to the author. CiteAs is a new tool that helps researchers cite software and other outputs correctly to ensure the creator gets credit for sharing their work.
Exercise: Go to CiteAs.org, copy and paste the URL “https://github.com/djnavarro/newproject” in the text box, press “Enter”. The tool returns the recommended citation, you can also select a preferred referencing style.
Finally, you can use the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to find open access journals and articles. Unpaywall is another important initiative for providing open access to academic papers. Read “How Unpaywall is transforming open science“. How is Unpaywall “transforming open science”?
The research community’s response when COVID-19 began spreading rapidly around the world is an excellent example of open research in action. Much of the research on this novel coronavirus has been made openly available in order to assist and accelerate the global scientific response to the pandemic.
- Read “Open science takes on the coronavirus pandemic” for an account of public data sharing, who uses the data, and why.
- Read “Open science: after the COVID-19 pandemic there can be no return to closed working” for an account of how open research infrastructure has made rapid data sharing during the pandemic possible.
- Finally, read “Science publishing has opened up during the coronavirus pandemic. It won’t be easy to keep it that way”, which discusses lessons from the pandemic in terms of open publishing.
Consider: What role has open research played in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic? How have open research practices assisted in understanding COVID-19 faster than during past outbreaks of such viruses (e.g. during the SARS epidemic)?