Swansea University promotes a culture of open research. The aim of open research is to make the methods and results of research as open as possible, as early as possible. This increases the benefits and efficiency of research by allowing others to engage with, benefit from, and even reproduce the results.
We believe that making our research material as open will serve our public mission in the sharing of knowledge and will generate opportunities for collaboration and impact. This can include:
Swansea University recognises that this is an evolving area and encourages initiatives to open up our research.
This can be done either via the publisher (Gold Open Access) or through deposit in the Research Information System (RIS), the University’s publications system (Green Open Access), under a suitable open licence. Monographs as well as articles can be published by Open Access means in the repository, Cronfa.
If you collect or create primary data that support your research findings, make them FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable) by depositing them in a data repository under an open licence, in usable formats and with appropriate documentation and metadata, and cite the data using the DOI or other unique identifier in your publications. If no suitable subject or funder data repository is available, Swansea University has a community on the Zenodo service.
If you create research software or write code to perform data analysis, preserve and release the (commented, documented) code under an open licence using a data repository or code repository platform (e.g. the University's Zenodo Community or GitHub), and cite the code in your publications, by version and using a DOI or other unique identifier where possible.
If you create an open web resource, such as an online database or a digital collection, implement it using open standards (e.g. following Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines) and sustainable infrastructure to optimise its usability, and archive the content and resource documentation to a suitable data repository for long-term preservation. Swansea University has a community on the Zenodo service.
Use a preprint server or open journal submission system to get your research findings into the public domain as soon as possible. (If you are using a preprint server make sure that your journals of choice allow posting of preprints: you can check journal/publisher policies at SHERPA RoMEO).
If you create a dataset or software that is a substantial output in its own right and has the potential to be re-used, publish a peer-reviewed data paper or a software paper to advertise its value as a research resource and garner citations.
Explore the potential of online workflow and collaboration tools, such as Electronic Lab Notebooks, open-source and citizen science platforms (e.g. Jupyter and Zooniverse) which can enable you to share your methods and materials, open up new research possibilities, and allow stakeholders to contribute to the design and implementation of research.
If you are responsible for teaching, introduce your students – undergraduates as well as graduates – to the concepts and practices of Open Research. For example: explain why Open Access, and data and code sharing are important; use open data in your teaching and exercises; ask students undertaking experimental projects to pre-register their hypotheses and study designs; teach reproducibility by setting an assignment to replicate a published study; get students learning programming to set up an online code repository; run an open peer review exercise.
If you undertake empirical research, pre-register your hypotheses, study design and materials using a public registration platform such as the Open Science Framework or consider publishing your study as a registered report (an empirical journal article in which methods and proposed analyses are peer-reviewed and the results accepted for publication prior to research being conducted).
You can do this either by submitting to journals/publishers that operate an open peer review process, or by reviewing for these journals and posting your reviews online.
Sherpa/Romeo - publisher and journal open access policies.
For example, help to develop open standards and tools that support open practices in your discipline; use your public profile and involvement with research stakeholders (such as learned societies) to promote Open Research activities and policies.
Join the Open Scholarship Forum at Swansea by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you sit on the editorial board of a journal, consider tabling these issues for discussion if policies have not already been debated or adopted: introducing a data and code availability policy (see example); introducing an open peer review submission system and preprint-friendly policy; offering a registered report option; converting the journal to a fully Open Access model, if it is subscription-only or hybrid Open Access.
Why do I need to take this extra step to make my research open?
Two-thirds of scholarly publications are hidden behind paywalls. This means that not only are members of the public not able to access research many researchers are unable to as well. If your institution doesn't subscribe to a journal you have submitted to, you could even be blocked from reading your own research.
Many outputs of the research process are valuable but underused and undervalued, and are not made available for re-use. This is especially true of research data and software. Re-using data can save a lot of time and money, and we are wasting it.
Poor rates of reproducibility are getting more attention in academia recently A survey conducted by the journal Nature in 2016 found that over 70% of scientists had been unable to reproduce the work of others, and over 50% could not reproduce their own experiments! This represents a massive waste of resources, and in areas such as medical and pharmaceutical research seriously depresses the development of effective treatments.
Research publication is a lengthy process, with some results and articles taking years to get through the submission system and assigned to a particular journal volume. This can slow down individual productivity, scientific progress, and have a negative effect on your morale. An exception to this can be seen in Emergency responses to Zika, COVID-19 and Ebola outbreaks, where research organisations and funding bodies have shared their research findings and data in an effort to aid effective response. This begs the question, why can't we share research and data more effectively without the pressure of a public health emergency?
Acknowledgement: Some parts of this LibGuide is derived and adapted with permission of University of Reading Research Engagement Team.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
We are currently waiting for the translation of the new guide into Welsh (April 2021). Our older guides are available in Welsh from the LibGuides index.