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Open Research

What is Open Research?

What is Open Research?

Open Research, also known as Open Science or Open Scholarship, refers to "various movements and practices aiming to make multilingual scientific knowledge openly available, accessible and reusable for everyone" [from UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science (2021). Growing out of the movement to Open Access to research publications, it seeks to extend the benefits of transparency to other areas of the research process. 

“Open research, or open science, aims to open up access to all parts of the research process (e.g. methods, results, publications, data, software, materials, tools and peer reviews) across academic subject areas to increase collaboration, disseminate knowledge, improve transparency and reproducibility of research, and support research integrity.”

[Definition from Open Research Europe]

Open Research in Ireland

Much work has been ongoing at national level through the National Open Research Forum, NORF. This has culminated in a National Action Plan (2022) and a series of nationally funded projects which will advance the structures, skills and systems to support Open Research. These projects are built around Goals and Actions across three themes:

  • Establishing a culture of open research
  • Achieving 100% open access to research publications
  • Enabling FAIR research data and other outputs


The European Commission has often been leading the way, and has been framing its policy, and the requirements for Horizon Europe, around eight ambitions for open science since 2016:

  • Open Data: FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable data) and open data sharing should become the default for the results of EU-funded scientific research.
  • European Open Science Cloud (EOSC): a ‘federated ecosystem of research data infrastructures’ will allow the scientific community to share and process publicly funded research results and data across borders and scientific domains.
  • New Generation Metrics: New indicators must be developed to complement the conventional indicators for research quality and impact, so as to do justice to open science practices.
  • Future of scholarly communication: all peer-reviewed scientific publications should be freely accessible, and the early sharing of different kinds of research outputs should be encouraged.
  • Rewards: research career evaluation systems should fully acknowledge open science activities.
  • Research integrity & reproducibility of scientific results: all publicly funded research in the EU should adhere to commonly agreed standards of research integrity.
  • Education and skills: all scientists in Europe should have the necessary skills and support to apply open science research routines and practices.
  • Citizen science: the general public should be able to make significant contributions and be recognised as valid European science knowledge producers.

More broadly, in late 2021, 193 countries agreed to abide by common standards for Open Research outlined in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.


Policies list

Most organisations have a position on Open Access and FAIR Data, and increasingly policies and strategies are also covering broader aspects of Open Research. Here are a selection of policies across these areas.


RCSI Open Access Policy 2018

RCSI Research Data Management Policy 2018

Publishing for Impact (2021) (RCSI network details required to view)


NORF (National Open Research Forum): National Action Plan for Open Research (2022); National Policy Brief Series (2021); National Open Research Landscape Report (2021); National Framework on the Transition to an Open Research Environment (2019)

Health Research Board (HRB)

Irish Research Council (IRC)

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)


EU Open Science policy

Open Science in Horizon Europe

UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

Plan S

US White House Office of Science & Technology

Wellcome Trust

University Groups:

European University Association

LERU – Open Science and its role in universities

LIBER – Open Science Roadmap