Back Back

Share more of your research faster with Octopus

An octopus swimming at the bottom of the ocean

Our first post is from Sarah Dar, Scholarly Communications Officer in the University Library.


Launched by JISC a year ago in partnership with the UK Reproducibility Network and Research England, Octopus is a platform that provides a new way for researchers to disseminate their research. Its aims are grand- to be “the new primary research record”- and it prides itself on being transparent and providing recognition for contributors at all stages of the research process.

Octopus’s reason for existence is to solve longstanding issues with the research publication and dissemination process, such as the length of time taken to publish, problems of reproducibility and publication bias, as well as issues with discoverability and accessibility.

Building upon the practice of pre-registering studies which is common in some scientific disciplines like psychology and medicine, Octopus allows for the separating out of different stages of research for publication and sharing. It thus aims to provide a fuller account of research by providing opportunities for researchers to share outputs at different stages of the research process and to gain recognition for their contributions at each of these stages.  

Eight ways to publish

Researchers can publish eight types of publication in Octopus:

  • Research problem
  • Rationale/ Hypothesis
  • Method
  • Results
  • Analysis
  • Interpretation
  • Real-world application
  • Peer review

These smaller publication units allow for a more accurate reflection of who has contributed directly to each part of the process and provide a fairer way of acknowledging the specialist roles and contributions of individuals. Since every publication type is citable (they are all given a DOI) authors can be credited for every contribution they make.

The creators of Octopus argue that publishing in this way promotes research integrity. The variety of publication types helps to remove the incentives that lead to publication bias and questionable research practices because each part of the research process is now treated independently, not on how much it supports a hypothesis or theory.

Whilst the publication types linked together in Octopus’s structure are most closely aligned with the scientific research process, the creators of Octopus emphasise that researchers from all disciplines are welcome to use the platform.

Authors retain copyright of their publications in Octopus but can choose a licence to share their work on the platform. If you decide to share your work on Octopus but are unsure of which licence to choose, the scholarly communications team can provide advice guidance on your options.

Free to publish and free to read

One of the great things about Octopus is that the platform is free to use- it’s both free for authors to publish and free for anyone to access the research. Researchers wishing to publish on Octopus just need to create an account via their ORCID.

Another key feature is that it is fast- the platform has been designed to share research as quickly as possible. Priority is established immediately, so there is no fear of being scooped.

For the creators of Octopus, the platform co-exists with other dissemination outlets “like a ‘patent office’ to record who has done what and when, and ensure the quality, integrity and accessibility of all primary research, in full”. Publishing in Octopus doesn’t mean researchers can’t publish their work in a journal too- there is more than enough room for multiple outlets to provide a fuller picture of people’s research.

Discover more

To find out more about sharing your research on the platform, take a look at the Octopus website.

Edinburgh ReproducibiliTea have made available a recording featuring Alexandra Freeman, the creator of Octopus, and Tim Fellows, Octopus’s product manager. They cover more background about the platform and provide a demonstration of how it works.


Image courtesy of rawpixel, CC0

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

Share this release