Major boost for consortium working to improve open research in UK

A consortium of 18 UK universities including Keele has been awarded funding to accelerate the uptake of open research practices across the UK academic sector.

Open research—the practice of freely sharing as much of the research process as possible—ensures transparency across the research lifecycle, promoting rigour, reproducibility, and public trust in research. The benefits of open research practices for improving the quality and integrity of research have been widely documented, and are recognised by the UK Government R&D Roadmap as contributing to improving the culture of research.

The UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN), which Keele is a member of, is working to improve the quality and reproducibility of UK research by encouraging universities to embed the principles of open research into their practices, and has been awarded £4.5m collectively to work together and find ways of doing this.

The funding, awarded by Research England and UK Research and Innovation, will be used to find ways of growing and embedding open research within the practice and culture of UK institutions, with a view to improving overall research quality by encouraging researchers to incorporate this into their ways of working as a standard practice. The funding will primarily support the development and evaluation of high-quality training material and assessment of institutional best-practice.

The project is worth a total of £8.5m over five years, including this £4.5m from the Research England Development (RED) Fund.

Dr Jim Grange, Keele University’s UKRN Institutional Lead and Lead for Research Integrity and Improvement said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award. Open research is central to our mission to accelerate the advancement of knowledge and to produce research of the highest quality and integrity. This important project will allow us to collaboratively build and evaluate training of the highest quality with the aim of sharing best-practice across the UK sector.”

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, added: “We know that increasing the transparency of the research process supports higher standards of research integrity, and drives up the quality and reach of research. Research England has supported the UK Reproducibility Network since its inception. We are delighted to fund this project, which will enable the network to scale up its activities, and accelerate the uptake of open research practices across the sector.”