This blog post is a five-minute guide to open research and its benefits, with examples, tips and further reading. It was inspired by an invited presentation for the Australian Library and Information Association’s (ALIA) Mentoring Scheme.
Open research for information professionals isn’t just for those who work in academia, it’s for all of you in schools, public libraries, academic libraries, wider GLAM institutions, government, industry and everywhere else. I’m an open researcher, which means I share my articles, my presentations, my interview guides, my research data and my reports freely with everyone. This blog post and the accompanying slides are shared under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence, which means they can be shared and adapted by others, with attribution.
What is Open Research
Open research or open science is all about being open throughout the whole research cycle, not just at the end with a journal article or report. Some of these ways are …
- Open access which is sharing research outputs without cost to the reader
- Open data is sharing data openly for others to potentially reuse – for example maps, statistics, scientific research data, survey responses and interview transcripts
- Open code and open software are sharing code and software created in research projects
- Open methods means sharing how you carried out the research – for example lab protocols, or how data was collected or analysed
- Open peer review – the traditional peer review model is blind reviews which are only seen by the author. Open peer review makes the reviews, reviewer and author identities and communication publicly visible.
Open Research Benefits
Open research has clear benefits. You can:
- Reach more people in your communities
- Share more widely with other communities internationally
- Make it easy for others to reuse your work
- Show your skills, your commitment and reputation for open research.
More and more research funders are now mandating open data and open access, so being an open researcher can make it easier to meet these requirements.
Open Research Examples
Here’s some examples of open research from a project I finished this year, where I interviewed six artists, writers, film and theatre producers at Curtin University about how and where they share their creative practice research. There were a few similar projects underway when I started, so I decided that sharing my literature review would be a good way to contribute to open research (and hopefully save the other project teams some time and effort). This literature review has been downloaded 125 times in the last 8 months.
The ‘Metadata Findings from Card Sorting Activity’ includes sample cards for a card sorting research method, and I shared the interview questions. Both of these research outputs have a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence so that anyone can reuse them in research with their communities.
The practical guide for researchers on how to share their creative practice research online has been downloaded 252 times, because it’s freely available (rather than being restricted to Curtin University researchers only).
Open Research Tips
After nearly a year of being an open researcher, I’ve learned from my mistakes!
- Talk to your team/collaborators/manager at the start of the project about how you want to make your research open – which parts and where will you share them.
- Think about who you want your message to reach, what do they read? Are you doing the research just for other researchers, or is it for your community and other communities to benefit from. Remember that lots of people do not have subscriptions to academic journals.
- Build sharing into data collection consent, this means including asking for consent for open data in your project planning and ethics application if you need one (see below for sample text for a consent form).
- Allocate time for deidentification and tidying up of open data. It can take hours to carefully review data so that it can be shared as open access.
- Allocate time for reviews of reports whether it’s by someone on your team, a manager, or someone at a similar place of work.
- Help others to find and reuse your work by describing it with as much metadata as possible – this means including the authors, date, contact email, keywords and license either inside your research output or in the repository where you share from.
- Use Creative Commons licenses to show if your work can be shared and adapted, for example a CC BY 4.0 licence allows others to copy, reuse and even translate your work.
- Use a free repository such as Zenodo to preserve your research, get a DOI, and share as open access (thank you Zenodo for supporting open research).
Quigley, N. (2022). Free open access for early career researchers. https://neevq.wordpress.com/2022/02/10/free-open-access-for-early-career-researchers/
University of Melbourne. (2022). What is open research? https://unimelb.libguides.com/openresearch
Creative Commons licenses
Sample Consent Form
I do/I do not:
- consent to my interview being audio-recorded
- consent to my deidentified quotations being:
- used in any publications arising from this research
- shared in a publicly available data set
Any quotations shared will not be personally identifiable.
Australian Research Data Commons. (2022). Working with research software. ARDC. https://ardc.edu.au/resources/working-with-research-software/
Crotty, D. (2021, February 25). What’s next for open science—Making the case for open methods. The Scholarly Kitchen. https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2021/02/25/whats-next-for-open-science-making-the-case-for-open-methods/
Open Knowledge Foundation. (2022). The Open Data Handbook. https://opendatahandbook.org/
Open Knowledge Foundation. (2022). What is open? https://okfn.org/opendata
PLOS. (n.d.). Open peer review. PLOS. Retrieved April 19, 2022, from https://plos.org/resource/open-peer-review/
Quigley, N. (2022). Open Research: A Five-minute Guide. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6470096
Quigley, N. (2021). Increasing the visibility of creative practice research outputs (NTROs): Literature review. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5336401
Quigley, N., & Montgomery, L. (2022). Repository and Metadata Guide for Creative Practice Researchers. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5860641
Quigley, N. (2021). Increasing the Visibility of Creative Practice Research Outputs: Metadata Findings from Card Sort Activity. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5774660
Quigley, N. (2021). HRE 2021-0515 Research Data: Interview Guide. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5774543
Quigley, N. (2021). HRE 2021-0515 Research Data: Interview Transcripts. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5774508
Quigley, N, Montgomery, L, & Neylon, C. (2022). Creative Practice Research Outputs: Opportunities for Curtin University. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5935316