Opening access to results, data, methods, and other research outputs
What is open research?
Open research is a set of principles and practices that prioritize openness, transparency, and collaboration across the entire research cycle.
Advocates of open research believe that all research outputs should be freely available and reusable to support reproducibility and equal access to knowledge. This includes the final research article and the underlying data, methods, software, and code. Licenses such as Creative Commons can be applied to these research outputs to allow for reuse and proper credit for the original author.
In STEM disciplines, open research is often referred to as ‘open science’. However, open research is inclusive of the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Arguably, research in any discipline can achieve its maximum potential impact when it is disseminated as widely as possible.
Open research goes beyond open access. To publish your research openly and reach a wider readership, it’s important to understand all aspects of openness.
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Open access (OA) is a publishing model that provides immediate, permanent, and free access to scholarly research published online so that anyone can read and build upon the research.
Unlike the traditional ‘pay to read’ publishing model, the open access ‘pay to publish’ model allows readers to access scholarly information without having to pay a subscription fee. Instead, if authors choose to publish open access, they may be required to pay an article processing charge (APC).
Open data is data that is available for everyone to access, use, and share. For researchers, this refers to any information or materials that have been collected or created as part of your research project.
Open data includes both quantitative and qualitative data. This means that researchers across any discipline likely have research data to share. Examples of data include survey results, gene sequences, software, code, primary source materials, and even audio files.
Open peer review is the term used to describe any peer review model where aspects of research evaluation are publicly available. Some of the most common hallmarks of open peer review include open identities, open reports, and open participation.
Open peer review might take place before or after publication, depending on where you publish. Open peer review advocates argue that transparency in the peer review process makes it easier to know if research can be trusted.
Open source software (OSS) is publicly available under an open access license that allows other researchers to freely access, reuse, modify, and redistribute your research software and its source code.
OSS enables collaboration across the research community, gives greater context to research results, supports reproducibility, and allows researchers to improve and reuse the software in future research.
Reproducibility is the degree to which the results of an experiment can be reproduced by different researchers, at different locations, with different instruments.
Research is reproducible when other researchers can achieve the results again with a high reliability. Reproducible research requires a detailed description of the methods used in the study, as well as all the underlying data and code, to be openly available.
Research impact is a demonstrable contribution that research makes to the world. There are many kinds of research impacts, including social, policy, cultural, and attitudinal, to name a few.
Open research has changed how researchers can demonstrate their academic contributions and impact. With a broader range of research outputs available to publish and repositories to openly store data, code, and software, it is easier to get credit for your work.
Open access mandates are policies adopted by a research institution, funder, or government that requires researchers to make their research openly available. Typically, researchers can comply with the mandate by uploading their final article to an open repository or publishing in an open access publication.
While the specifics differ between mandates, many open access mandates request that researchers share the underlying data associated with their research article.