Open Research Statement

University of Birmingham Commitment

The University of Birmingham considers Open Research to be an essential component of our research culture, strengthening our research practices, showcasing publicly funded research and maximising the accessibility and reach of our research in order to benefit wider society.

As well as complying with relevant funder conditions with respect to open access and open data, we strongly encourage our researchers to consider the benefits of adopting open research approaches with respect to all elements of the research process, and to incorporate such additional steps as are appropriate to their discipline.

What do we mean by Open Research?

UKRI describe Open Research (also referred to as Open Science) as follows:

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, re-use and innovation.

The diagram below shows how at each stage of the cycle, open processes can be built in to enhance the research process and share its outcomes widely.

Open research diagram

Figure 1. The research lifecycle. From “The Open Science Handbook” (Open Science and Research Initiative, 2014). Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.

Some of the distinct elements of open research are Pre-registration of research, Open Data, Open source code/software, Open lab notebooks/processes, Open peer review , Open Access, Preprints, Publishing of negative results, Citizen Science, Open Educational resources, and persistent identifiers (PIDs) such as ORCiD (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) which enable research systems to interoperate.  These Open Research processes are as important as ensuring that the outputs of your research are also open (ie Open Access outputs and Open Research Data).  PGR supervisors and Research team leaders should be aware of their responsibility to ensure their students and research teams are aware of open research principles and requirements.           

It is recognised that it may not be appropriate to undertake all such activities with every type of research, especially non-publicly funded research, where there may be IP issues, or research involving sensitive data of various kinds, where GDPR legislation or trusted research principles may apply. There is also a need to take a proportional approach to what is published; for example, it may be more appropriate to make algorithms or software open source rather than a full suite of data resulting from them if this would adequately support reproducibility concerns.

Furthermore, we acknowledge that open research approaches and techniques may add to the burden of the research process, and the University is working to support better the delivery of Open Research – see Resources and Support sections.  If you have any suggestions for improvement, please use the Open Research email address to comment.

Funders and learned societies have widely embraced the principles of Open Research/Open Science - you can view their policies here.

Researchers should ensure they are aware of these expectations when determining how open an approach they intend in relation to specific projects.

Why is Open Research important?

Building Open Research practices into research processes supports Visibility, Transparency, Reproducibility and Collaboration as part of a positive research culture. The benefits of conducting research in an open way are understood to be reproducibility, efficiency public good and innovation.

The UNESCO recommendation on Open Science is the first international standard setting instrument on open science and provides a good summary of the benefits:

Open Science has the potential of making the scientific process more transparent, inclusive and democratic. 

Open Science:

  • increases scientific collaborations and sharing of information for the benefits of science and society;
  • makes multilingual scientific knowledge openly available, accessible and reusable for everyone; and
  • opens the processes of scientific knowledge creation, evaluation and communication to societal actors beyond the traditional scientific community.

Our interconnected world needs open science to help solve complex social, environmental, and economic challenges and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

By promoting science that is more accessible, inclusive and transparent, open science furthers the right of everyone to share in scientific advancement and its benefits as stated in Article 27.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As noted above, major funders have clear expectations with respect to open research, and by building these into your applications you are more likely to be successful.

Resources to help you understand Open Research


The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer has responsibility for overseeing the University’s position, policies and procedures with respect to Open Research, and is supported in this by the Open Research Board (ORB), which reports to the University’s Research Committee. ORB is further supported by an OR Operational Group comprising colleagues from Professional Services.

Existing University policies include the following:


Support and guidance on Open Research are available from colleagues across Professional Services:

Research Strategy and Services: guidance on Open Access and Open Data in grant applications; guidance on Open Access with respect to REF (although no policy decisions have been made about OA and REF2028 as yet); guidance/support on Pure/OA

Library Services: operational support for managing open access compliance; operational support for managing aspects of Research Data Management, Copyright and Licensing

ITS (Advanced Research Computing): operational support for RDM; training in using reproducible data analysis techniques and code sharing platforms.

Legal Services: guidance on any unusual or complex legal issues arising from data sharing etc

UoB Enterprise: as above, especially in relation to IP.