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Open Research: a Practical Guide


This Practical Guide provides helpful support and links to recommended external resources for a range of open research practices.

Information iconThis is a practical guide offering an introduction to open research methods which can be applied at different stages of your work. This guidance is intended for researchers of all levels, and across all academic disciplines.

What is open research?

open signThe University's Open Research Statement outlines the core idea behind open research: "all aspects of the research cycle should be shared and accessible where possible. Research should be as open as possible, as closed as necessary."

Openly accessible publications and data are more frequently read, re-used and cited than those behind a paywall. Crucially, they are more accessible to a broader audience of readers who do not have access to academic libraries and subscription content. Open research also provides new opportunities for collaboration on a global scale and promotes the reliability and validity of your research by allowing others to reproduce or replicate the work.

Covid-19 virus cartoon

Open research practice has taken a key role during Covid-19, and this guide includes information on how different open methodologies have helped to disseminate valuable research related to the pandemic.

Wellcome Trust released a statement at the start of the pandemic, signed by many publishers and organisations around the world, which called for Covid-related research to be shared widely and rapidly. SPARC Europe have also put together an extensive set of resources to showcase open research initiatives and discussions in the current crisis.

'Open research' or 'open science'?

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but are based on the same principles of collaboration and accountability. Open research is relevant to all researchers (not just scientists), but its applications will differ between disciplines.


"Researchers around the world, in all disciplines, store, share and reuse their outputs with the wider community, so everyone can access knowledge and insights much sooner, helping to advance their work and support reproducibility" - Wellcome Trust

Further help

York Open Research logoOur York Open Research Community of Practice brings together researchers, support staff and advocates from across the University to discuss open research and provide support in different practices. 

Our wiki space contains information about the York Open Research Advocates network, as well as case studies, events, and related groups across the University.

We have created a York Open Research Slack channel where staff and postgraduate students can share expertise and ask questions. 

You can follow York Open Research on Twitter (@UoYOpenRes) for the latest discussions, updates and recommended resources for open research practice across all disciplines.

Central support is also provided by the Open Research team, who provide guidance and training on different aspects of open research practice (see below).

Training sessions for postgraduate researchers and staff

The Open Research team offer training to postgraduate researchers and staff through the Research Excellence Training (RET) programme.

To book a session go to: SkillsForge - Postgraduate Researchers or LMS - Staff (login required)

Autumn Term sessions

You can also contact the team by email to:

  • ask a question
  • request training for your department, research group, staff and/or postgraduate researchers

Alternatively, book an Open Research Online Appointment to discuss your individual needs.

Further resources

Stack of books

Throughout this guide there are external links to additional reading and guidance on specific aspects of open research practice.

These are some general sources of information and support which may also be of interest: