Open research resources

Open research embodies good research practices by opening up participation in, and access to, the research lifecycle. It covers a wide range of practices and principles related to how research is carried out and enables research to take advantage of technical advances.

Publications, data, protocols and equipment all support dissemination, verification and reproducibility of research findings as well as reuse by, for example, other researchers and industry. Open research has strong links with policies in other areas such as:

  • research integrity
  • research culture
  • digital infrastructure
  • talent and skills
  • research ethics.

On this page, you will find resources predominantly referring to open access and open research data. However, we recognise that open research covers a much broader range of activities than this and new resources will be added as they become available.

Key principles

Open research describes a range of practices relating to the conduct of research and communication of its outputs. By improving access to research outputs according to best practices that enable research to be findable, accessible, reuseable and interoperable (FAIR) researchers have more opportunity to:

  • engage, replicate and accelerate knowledge discoveries
  • benefit society and the economy.

Key principles include:

  • outputs from publicly-funded research should be freely accessible as soon as possible under conditions that maximise reuse to amplify social, economic and research benefits
  • open access to publications and research data stimulates high-quality research by being transparent, opening research to scrutiny and by evidencing research findings
  • sharing of research outputs must conform to all relevant ethical and legal obligations and conform with the principle of being as open as possible and as closed as necessary
  • open research means acting in a manner which considers public value for money and transparency.

UKRI policies

For the new UKRI open access policy, existing research councils policy on open access and supporting guidance, see making your research publications open access.

For the UKRI and research council research data policies and supporting guidance, see making your research data open.

For information on how we are implementing the new UKRI open access policy, see shaping our open access policy.

UKRI has produced information pack about the new UKRI open access policy to support research organisations to engage researchers about the new policy.

Read Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, UKRI Executive Champion for Open Research, outlining the benefits of UKRI’s new open access policy.

Data regulatory guidance

As per UKRI terms and conditions, you must ensure that the research supported by UKRI is carried out in accordance with all applicable ethical, legal and regulatory requirements for data.

The following pages provide guidance for research organisations and researchers.

MRC Regulatory Support Centre.

Provides support and guidance for research involving human participants, their tissues, or data.

GDPR: lawful basis, research consent and confidentiality.

This document provides guidance on complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The aim of GDPR is to ensure lawful, fair and transparent use of personal data.

Data management guidance

Data access statements

Current UKRI guidance on data access statements can be found in our open access policy. UKRI will provide further resources here in due course.

Your research organisations or publisher may have guidance on writing data access statements. Some examples include:

Jisc research data management toolkit

This Jisc toolkit aims to support you by signposting resources from a wide range of websites and organisations, sorted by topic and audience. You can follow a user pathway or browse the website using a research data lifecycle chart.

Copyright and licensing guidance

The following resources provide information on licensing, copyright and intellectual property for research organisations and researchers.

To support our new open access policy, UKRI is also working with Jisc to develop a licensing and copyright guide for researchers, which will be published here in due course.

Copyright and intellectual property (GOV.UK).

Here you will find links to UK government resources which provide an introduction to copyright and intellectual property, information on how to manage copyright and associated exceptions.

Intellectual Property Office online training tools.

Here you will find the Intellectual Property Office’s online training tools for universities.

Concordats and declarations

UKRI supports the following concordats and declarations, which guide good practice in open research and research assessment.

Concordat on open research data (PDF, 180KB).

This concordat will help to ensure research data gathered and generated is, wherever possible, made openly available for use by others in a manner consistent with relevant:

  • legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks
  • disciplinary norms.

San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

UKRI is a signatory to DORA and our guidance for grant applicants and assessors aligns with responsible research assessment practice.

UKRI is updating research assessment processes according to the principles of the seeking to ensure reward of openness and diversity in research.

Last updated: 7 December 2023

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