Open Research

Open Research is the practice of researching in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute throughout the research process, from making hypotheses, lab notes and research data freely available, continuing through the peer review and open access publication processes, to the further dissemination of knowledge through freely available software and open educational materials.  All research items should be made freely available under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods.

Aston University Open Research Statement

What is Open Research?

Openness in research is about more than policy compliance: it is the establishing and enacting of good practice across disciplines that allows knowledge to be accessible throughout the research lifecycle. By supporting the availability of research data, processes and outputs, Open Research fosters collaboration, transparency, and reproducibility so that the benefits of scholarly research can be shared with everyone.

This is in line with Aston’s values and commitment to deliver research that changes lives for the better through collaborations between students, academic staff and industry leaders. To facilitate that mission, Aston University is committed to making research “as open as possible, as soon as possible” to best serve public society, industry and our beneficiaries. 

What is included in Open Research?

Open Research is a holistic practice, supported by digital technologies and a people-centred culture. It can include: making your articles available Open Access through publication and/or through our repositories; making your datasets and associated documentation available through repositories; preregistering studies; Open Peer Review; using open notebooks; sharing Open Educational Resources and engaging in and fostering Citizen Science initiatives.

Not all research can be made open because of ethical, commercial or legal considerations. This Open Research Statement signals a move at Aston University from a risk-averse, closed-first approach to a risk-informed, open-as-possible approach.

How are Aston staff and students supported in Open Research Practices?

Aston University is committed to supporting students and staff in developing and enhancing their Open Research practices. The Open Research Team, based in the Library, is available to help and offers a range of advice and training. They:

  • Engage with Open Research developments to make sure current best practice is followed alongside of global developments and policy changes
  • Support Open Research infrastructure (repositories for publications and data, long-term preservation)
  • Promote Open Access through green routes/self-archiving, Read & Publish deals, and administer the UKRI open access block grant fund
  • Offer support and guidance on policies and practices
  • Deliver training sessions for students and staff
  • Encourage staff to promote Open Research practices in teaching and supervision

The Open Research Team can support you in exploring options in sharing your research practice at difference stages of the process, with respect to different disciplinary norms and practices. This includes:

Further work is being done to support the following areas in the future:

  • Electronic Notebooks 
  • Citizen Science 
  • Open Educational Resources 
  • Support for alternative models of publication
  • A hub of online tools and services that support Open Research

In addition to the Open Research Team, other services at Aston University (such as RKE, AURIO and Legal Services) can also assist researchers in their journey to Open Research.

What practices should Aston staff and students undertake to facilitate Open Research?

Aston has policies in place to support Open Research, including: Open Access Policy Research Data Management Policy Research Publications Policy Responsible use of Research Publication Metrics Policy

Staff and students are encouraged to engage with Open Research beyond basic policy compliance through:

  • Practicing and teaching good open research habits 
  • Making data and methodology as open as possible, using FAIR principles 
  • Making software/code freely available, especially if it is essential to reproducing results  
  • Making outputs open access 
  • Making educational materials freely available 
  • Pre-registering your research >
  • Joining an Open Research Working Group and/or Aston’s local branch of the UK Reproducibility Network
  • Practicing open peer review and/or publishing in venues with open peer review
  • Using persistent identifiers for yourself and your outputs, e.g. ORCIDs and DOIs 

While different disciplines will engage in Open Research practices in different ways, Aston University believes that these practices will highlight the original, rigorous and impactful research being undertaken across the university.

Contact the Open Research Team

Dr Leigh Stork
Open Research Manager
openaccess@aston.ac.uk

Fred Flagg
Open Research Specialist
openaccess@aston.ac.uk

Daniel Rooney
Open Research Data Specialist
researchdata@aston.ac.uk

Kikachukwu Paula Oluonye
Open Research Assistant
openaccess@aston.ac.uk

To schedule group or one-to-one training on Pure or to discuss any questions you have about open access or open research, contact openaccess@aston.ac.uk, or for research data and related questions and training, contact researchdata@aston.ac.uk