The University of Huddersfield and its funders are committed to supporting Open Research within a global research environment. The approach supports open access publication of research and datasets, is informed by the Concordat on Open Research Data and aims to make research more transparent and collaborative. In support of Open Research the University has an Open Access Policy and a Research Data Management Policy.
Open Access is the mechanism by which scholarly publications are made available online to everyone regardless of their ability to pay for access. Publications can include articles in academic journals (whether peer-reviewed or not), conference papers, theses, book chapters or monographs. It’s about making research results transparent and available to build on. Funding bodies and other policy-making organisations are requiring that publically funded research is not hidden behind publication pay-walls and have policies to that effect.
Open Data is about making underpinning research data publically available so that it can be interrogated and re-used. Open sharing of research data is often appropriate and can be especially beneficial in many areas of research (e.g. the sharing of clinical data which could lead to public impact). Datasets from research carried out at the University of Huddersfield are made publically available through the Huddersfield Research Portal. To maximise accessibility and reuse of the datasets shared we endeavour to store the data in accessible file formats (open formats) with adequate annotation and with instructions as how it is to be used. Licenses may also be applied to determine future use.
Open platforms tools and service are also part of open research. This includes opening access to code and software, scientific equipment or instructions for building it, plus any other tools or services that can promote efficiency in research. For example, our chemists deposit the outcomes of their research into molecular structures into the Cambridge Structural Database which is the world’s repository for this type of data. The CSD can be accessed as free service to view and retrieve structures through the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC).
An open approach to conducting research includes taking an openly collaborative approach. This encompasses developing relationships with and working alongside other researchers, often from other disciplines.
Public engagement is also an important aspect of open research and is often a requirement of research funders. It is about ensuring that the public, often the ultimate funder of research themselves, is made aware of research outputs in a way that they can understand and also knows how to access research outputs and make use of them.
In both 2016 and 2017 around 3000 members of the public engaged in European Researchers’ Night hosted by the University and were able to take part in workshops, demonstrations, talks and live research projects. The many science topics included colour chemistry, the use of molecules in developing a cure for cancer and the secret world of microbes. There was also a live virtual tour of the famous CERN facility and an exploration of human evolution.