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OA Week Day 3: Open Access Week Blog Post – REDF Project

Chloe Webster-Harris

Chloe Webster-Harris, Project Administrator

The University of Wolverhampton is part of the UKRN Open Research Programme (REDF Project) funded by Research England running from 2021-2026. This project involves 18 institutions including Wolverhampton and is designed to accelerate the uptake of high-quality open research practices such as Open Access publication, preservation and sharing of data, code, and materials supporting research results, use of digital tools to make research methods open and reproducible, and the pre-registration of study designs and use of results-blind reporting mechanisms to increase transparency and counter publication bias. To do this, the project aims to provide open research training to all researchers at the university, encourage institutions to share practice, and assess engagement with open research practices.

The project will develop and deliver innovative, multi-institutional, high-quality training in open and transparent research practice by providing introductory ‘train the trainer’ training to 10 members of staff (likely a mix of researchers and professional services staff) who will deliver a programme of open research training to research and professional service staff. The training will be specific to individuals’ research discipline. Training in key transferable open research skills is central to ensuring high levels of interoperability of researchers across institutions, and to supporting high-quality research at all career stages. Those training others in open research practices will also reap benefits in their career and research within the UK.

Creating and distributing a framework for ongoing evaluation of institutional practice and learning in open research, leading to the embedding of a culture of continuous research improvement is also on the project’s agenda. The main activity is a survey of researchers, which aims to assess engagement with open research practices, training priorities, and understanding of institutional support for open research. These evaluations will provide insight (baseline, benchmark, measure of progress) to institutions and, at an aggregate level, to the UKRN community and more widely.

The final aim of the project is to share effective practice among partner institutions and across the sector as well as promoting the alignment of incentives embedded in institutional practice to drive uptake of open research. Those leading programme work in this area currently propose to develop a self-assessment toolkit to enable institutions to assess their policies and procedures and identify opportunities to make improvements. This will be relevant to policies and procedures related to recruitment, appraisal, and promotion. A web tool is currently being developed which will enable institutions to share materials, case studies, etc., either restricted to the UKRN community or open more widely.

Open research is important. It ensures transparency across the research lifecycle, promoting rigour, reproducibility, and public trust in research. The hope is that this project can embed high-quality open research practices across institutions, which will lead open research practices to be taken up across the wider higher education sector. Institutions will benefit from training and sharing ideas on improvement and the UK can remain a world leader in promoting and practising open research. 

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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