Open research

Open research, also widely referred to as open science, relates to how research is performed and how knowledge is shared based on the principle that research should be as open as possible. It also enables research to take advantage of digital technology.

Transparency, openness, verification and reproducibility are important features of research and innovation. Open research helps to support and uphold these features across the whole lifecycle of research – improving public value, research integrity, reuse and innovation.

Open research also helps to support collaboration within and across disciplines. It is integral to a healthy research culture and environment.

All of this is underpinned by open research policies, practices and procedures that support those undertaking research. They raise awareness of expected standards and behaviours and promote wider systems changes for the benefit of the whole community.

The role of UKRI

Open research is integral to UKRI’s mission to deliver economic and social benefit. Accessible, transparent, reproducible and cooperative research:

  • underpins quality and efficiency in the research process
  • ensures research outputs are readily shared.

Our ambition is to lead improvements through policy, practice and technological innovations to achieve an open research system that operates internationally.

To do this we will:

  • support the adoption of open research through collaboration and alignment with national and international partners
  • support the transition towards an open and transparent research system and address key challenges – by developing policy, rewards and incentives to achieve open research and the necessary digital research infrastructure
  • ensure open access and open research data – two key aspects of open research – are core priorities.

Our main activities

Open access

UKRI published its new open access policy for research articles and academic books in August 2021. The policy aims to make published outputs of UKRI-funded research widely and freely accessible, under conditions that allow maximum reuse.

You can find:

Open data

UKRI is updating its research data strategy. We are taking a leading and coordinating role in overseeing the development of open research data policies, infrastructure and services, as outlined in our long-held research data commitments and highlighted in the final report of the Open Research Data Taskforce (GOV.UK).

UKRI aims to achieve open research data that is ‘findable’, accessible, interoperable and re-useable, (the FAIR Data Principles).

You can find:

Responsible research assessment

UKRI is a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment.

We are updating research assessment practice according to the principles of the seeking to ensure reward of openness and diversity in research.

Working internationally

Working internationally is important in achieving openness and transparency in research. Examples of our activities include:

  • being a member cOAlition S, along with a number of other national research funders and foundations, with the support of the European Commission. The coalition aims to help provide full and immediate open access to research publications
  • working with Science Europe and its members on activities to promote and develop open access, open data and responsible research assessment
  • engaging with a range of international open science and data initiatives such as:

Contact us

Ask about UKRI’s work on open access, open data and responsible research assessment


Ask about the current research councils open access policy and block grant


Last updated: 9 July 2024

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