Open research data is the next key phase in the UK’s open science ambitions – by science we mean a formal approach to knowledge that is rationally explicable and practically applicable. The UK is a world leader in research data, following policies from UK research funders and engagement in support of research data management within UK universities, as well as long established specialised data centres. The academic community has played an important role in developing the research data landscape, particularly with the development of the
Open Research Data Concordat, which for the first time has united the sector around key principles.
Established by the then Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP, the Open Research Data Task Force has examined the opportunities presented though open research data (ORD). Open Research Data (ORD) has the potential not only to deliver greater efficiencies in research, but to improve its rigour and reproducibility; enhancing its impact, and increasing trust from the public in scientific research.
"Realising the potential" is the final report of the Open Research Data Task Force, and is addressed to UKRI and other funders, universities and other research institutions, publishers and learned societies as a call to arms. The report makes recommendations to accelerate the UK's move to open research data.
The Task Force has sought to build on the principles set out in the Concordat on Open Research Data, and to take account of wider moves towards ORD within the international landscape.
Their aims in formulating the recommendations were:
The final report is structured around 5 main themes:
Better incentives, fewer barriers
The recommendations in the report are grouped under these themes.
The investigation of eight institutional and disciplinary examples was commissioned to understand the roles and responsibilities of different organisations and communities in this space. The case studies cover use cases from astronomy, biosciences, digital humanities, crystallography, the Universities of Bristol and Salford, the Natural History Museum and Germany. The full case studies, together with a short summary, are published alongside the final report of the Task Force.
Professor Thomas said of the task force and its work: "I thank all those worked on the Task Force or who contributed to its work. We were tasked with setting out a roadmap for the development of a national open research data infrastructure. It is clear to the Taskforce that the crucial destinations on that map must be: the identification of an active Leadership to coordinate ORD efforts across all organisations and institutions; the establishment of user friendly services to make it easier to publish, manage and locate research data; and the provision of sustainable funding which supports the process of creating and reusing open research outcomes."
Professor Pam Thomas (PVC Research at the University of Warwick) chairs the Task Force. Secretariat support is provided by Dr Caroline Ingran, Jisc.
Professor Carole Goble, University of Manchester
and representatives from Research England, The Wellcome Trust, Universities UK, BEIS and Jisc.
The Task Force will consult more widely or co-opt expertise as required.
This is the first report of the Open Research Data Task
Force. The report provides a thorough overview of the infrastructure that
supports open research data in the UK and abroad. It details the policies that
have been implemented by research funders and universities themselves; the
technological platforms and tools developed at local, national and
international levels; and the cultural challenges that are still present across
different disciplinary research groups. The report has been reviewed and
discussed by members of the Open Research Data Taskforce who represent HEFCE,
RCUK, Wellcome Trust, UUK, Jisc, BEIS, academics from a number of disciplines
and champions of open research data.
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