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Open Research Handbook: Create an Open Research culture

A practical guide to Open Research

How to foster an Open Research culture

Everyone, from students to professors, can play a role in fostering the growth of an Open Research culture. You can help to establish norms of best practice by exemplifying them in your own behaviour. You can influence your colleagues, your students, and the wider network of your peers. You can speak up for the highest standards of Open Research. On this page we outline some of the things you can do.

Discuss Open Research in your teams/groups

If you are part of a project team, or research group, start (politely) asking questions: What is our policy on data sharing? Does our project have a Data Management Plan? How do we manage and share code? Could we publish our findings as a preprint? Could we pre-register our study design, or submit it to a journal as a registered report? Perhaps you could table a discussion at a team or group meeting.

Teach Open 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 in GitLab; set up a preprint club and run an open peer review exercise.

Use your channels to promote Open Research

Use social media and other research communications channels to publicise your open outputs and discuss Open Research issues. Don't just tweet your articles - tweet your open datasets, and your open source code as well. Start or contribute to a discussion in your network about Open Research issues.

Give the articles you read an Open Research health check

When you read an article, check for a data access/data availability statement: have supporting data and code been shared? If not, and the supporting data are of interest, why not (politely!) ask the corresponding author to share them with you; or, even better, to deposit them in a suitable public repository? Let other people know that data and code sharing is a norm and an expectation.

Promote Open Research through memberships and editorial boards

Use your involvement with research stakeholders (such as learned societies) to promote Open Research activities and policies.

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:

Organise a workshop or training event

Why not invite a member of the Research Engagement team to come and speak to you and your colleagues on a topic of interest? We will be happy to come and talk to you about any of the topics covered in this guide. Is there training that would be of particular interest to you? Let us know, and we may be able to help organise something.

Participate in community initiatives

There are always opportunities to get involved in projects or initiatives to develop open standards and tools that support open practices in your discipline. For example, anyone can join the Research Data Alliance and participate in various interest and working groups developing community standards for data and metadata in specific disciplines.

You can also look out for Open Research-related funding opportunities. For example, the Wellcome Trust disburses annual grants of up to £50,000 from its Open Research Fund to support researchers to develop and test innovative ways of making health research open, accessible and reusable.

Publish an Open Research case study