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Research support

Helping you to undertake and publish your research, and maximise its impact.

Open Research

Open Research (OR) is the practice of research that enables others to collaborate, validate and contribute by removing barriers to results, data, protocols and other aspects of the research process. It concerns extending the principles of openness to the whole research cycle. Open Research is an interchangeable term with 'Open Scholarship' and ‘Open Science’. 

Open research is increasingly expected by research funders, and is supported by organisations including UKRI, the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission. It is also of relevance to the general public, who are able to freely read a greater proportion of global research outputs thanks to the open access publishing movement. Central to the OR movement is creating a responsible research environment valuing equality, diversity and inclusion.

The goals of open research are to:

  • support dissemination, interpretation, and re-use of research.
  • promote research rigor, reliability, and reproducibility.
  • allow others to validate and contribute to our research.

Open research allows us to serve the public interest by:

  • enhancing trust in research outputs and institutions.
  • promoting the widest possible access and public benefit of research.
  • supporting collaboration and impact.

Watch this short film from the Royal Society for a quick introduction to the principles of open research. It explains what it is, why it's important and the various ways it can be implemented.

The UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science sets out the core values of open research:


  • Quality and integrity
    Ensuring that science is high-quality and scrutinized by bringing together different sources of knowledge and making evaluation of scientific methods and outputs more transparent and accurate.
  • Collective benefit
    Recognizing that science is a global public good that belongs to all of humanity.
  • Equity and fairness
    Ensuring equitable, fair, and reciprocal access to science for all producers and consumers of knowledge, regardless of their location, nationality, race, age, gender, income, socio-economic circumstance, career stage, discipline, language, religion, disability, ethnicity, migratory status or any other grounds.
  • Diversity and inclusiveness
    Embracing diversity of knowledge, practices, workflows, languages and research topics and outputs.

An agreed set of guiding principles help uphold these values and make open research a reality.

  • Transparency, scrutiny, critique, and reproducibility
    To reinforce the rigor of scientific results, enhance the positive impact of science on society and increase society’s ability to solve complex interconnected problems.
  • Equality of opportunities
    To ensure that all scientists and those with an interest in science have equal opportunity to access, contribute to and benefit from science, regardless of origin or circumstance.
  • Responsibility, respect, and accountability
    To be responsible for and aware of public accountability, potential conflicts of interest, intellectual integrity and the possible social or ecological consequences of research activities.
  • Collaboration, participation, and inclusion
    To ensure that scientific collaborations transcend the boundaries of geography, language and resources, and include knowledge from marginalized communities to solve problems of great social importance.
  • Flexibility
    To acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all way to practice open science and to encourage different pathways to practicing it while upholding the core values.
  • Sustainability
    To be as efficient and impactful as possible by building on long-term practices, services, infrastructures and funding models, to ensure participation of scientists from less-privileged countries or institutions.

Open research:

  • demonstrates your research is robust.
  • helps other researchers to reproduce your results.
  • helps other researchers to avoid repeating research.
  • ensures you retain access to your own work in the long term.
  • enables faster dissemination and impact, helping to raise your research profile.
  • extends the reach and impact of research outside academia.
  • increases opportunities for collaboration.
  • increases chances of citations.
  • Open access for outputs. Endeavour to make as much of your research output as open as possible, as early as possible. Cranfield’s Institutional Rights Retention Policy should help you to do this, and be aware of the publisher deals that assist you in making your work accessible to everyone. Remember to assign a suitable Creative Commons licence that supports sharing and reuse. Ensure your work is uploaded to the university repository.
  • FAIR data.  Data should be FAIR and openly available when legally, ethically, and technically possible, as well as referenced via a data availability statement within your associated publications. As with your publications, remember to assign a suitable Creative Commons or software-specific licence that supports sharing and reuse. Ensure your research data is uploaded to the Cranfield research repository or an appropriate discipline or funder repository.
  • Transparency. Transparency builds trust and accountability, and makes the University a trusted, respected and valued partner in society. Ensuring that your research methodology can be examined in detail enables others to gain a deeper understanding of research results and integrity. 
    An open approach to conducting research enables a collaborative and inclusive approach with researchers across disciplines and sectors, including the public who can contribute to the research process themselves through citizen science. 
    Ensure all research contributors are openly acknowledged through a CRediT author statement or equivalent.
  • Supportive environment. Help to build a supportive sharing research environment both locally and globally. Share your work, your ideas, your enthusiasm, and don’t forget to share your ‘failures’ too! Help your colleagues to resist perverse incentives and unhealthy pressures in research culture which can compromise research quality. Be aware of the perils of predatory publishing and know how to avoid them.