How can librarians support open research?
Discover 3 simple ways in this blog post.
The role of librarians in the open research landscape is changing, partly because of the increase of policies encouraging open research practices.
Open research prioritizes openness, transparency, and collaboration throughout the research cycle. But as researchers are required to navigate the increasing policies and funder requirements (to make their research open), they often need more support.
This is where their institutions and librarians can make a real difference – but how? In this blog post we cover 3 simple ways that librarians can support open research at their institution.
1. Seek out resources to build knowledge at your institution
Researchers face various challenges whilst trying to meet funder requirements, when making their research open. Some of these challenges come from a lack of knowledge about open research processes, as our poll indicates. Fortunately, this is where researchers’ institutional librarians can help.
Librarians have the opportunity to build their faculty’s knowledge around open research practices and processes. A useful place to start is by finding concise resources, and sharing these with researchers. This will also help you to grow your own knowledge of open research as a librarian.
In our webinar, the panelists discussed how (in the last few years) researchers are increasingly turning to their library for support. The requests for support include tools and workshops to assist with data management, funder requirements, and best practices.
To meet this demand, libraries could:
- Build a bank of open research information
- Have an available list of educational content for their faculty
- In the long term, create custom institutional guides on open research topics
Interested in how other institutional libraries are approaching open access in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)? Read the librarian interview discussing open access in SSH.
2. Advocate the benefits of open research, and the need for practical support for researchers
Often, a lack of institutional support and funds can negatively affect researchers when they are publishing open research.
Librarians have an important role in encouraging their institution to make open research a priority, and deliver practical support to their researchers.
Our webinar panelists discussed how researchers are increasingly asking librarians for assistance to meet funder mandates, and are asking more questions about the openness of research and the barriers of paywalls.
As a librarian you should be prepared to advocate for your institution’s demand for open research and highlight its many benefits. This will help build researchers’ confidence in their institutions’ evolution of open research.
Some benefits of open research
- Open research supports research transparency and reproducibility.
- Research that is shared openly can be built upon quickly by other researchers; this has been important in accelerating the pace of COVID-19 research. This means that open research allows institutions to maximize their investment into data collection and research.
- Enabling research to be published so that it is accessible to anyone, anywhere, democratizes information, and boosts public understanding of institutional research. This also increases trust in research findings.
3. Find innovative solutions to help your institution embrace open research publishing practices
To help researchers publish openly and share data more easily, librarians could work with them to understand their specific barriers. It could also be useful to collaborate with other faculties to understand if their researchers are facing the same challenges. Doing this could help find the right solutions for your researchers’ needs, and even expand their open research publishing options.
One way this could be approached is by creating institutional platforms, such as a repository capable of hosting (and making open) data sets and other materials. These would be useful resources to share across faculties to drive open research at your institution.
However, it is important to remember there are a few limitations if you were to rely solely on repositories to support open research.
- They are often only accessible to staff at the institution, so there is a lack of opportunity to share contents with external researchers and the public to get their insights.
- Researchers may rely on librarians to upload their research outputs to a repository, meaning an increased workload for librarians.
- Many repositories are lacking in uploads of articles, chapters, and books, so librarians may need to seek an efficient institutional platform to protect their workload.
Librarians can also help their institutions to recognize, showcase, and reward high impact data sets which have been shared openly and reused by other researchers. Librarians who work with bibliometrics can help develop their institution’s understanding of the impact of their research and shared data, especially if more outputs across the research lifecycle are being openly published. This activity can encourage open research practices and help institutions incentivize open practices.
Want to learn more about how you can support your institution’s researchers to publish openly?
Book a meeting with F1000 today to learn more about the open research publishing solutions available.