Research Culture Workshop: Towards Open Research

As part of Newcastle University’s Research Strategy, we are evolving our research culture in collaboration with the whole research community. We invite the research community across career stages, job families, and disciplines, to join this first Skills Academy Research Culture workshop: Towards Open Research.

The workshop will invite participants to consider open research practices and reflect on how they and the university can move towards a culture of more open research. In this workshop, we will consider open research principles and practices that increase transparency and rigour and accelerate the reach of our research.

Open research describes approaches to increase openness throughout the research cycle, including collaborative working, sharing and making research methodology, software, code, data, documentation and publications freely available online under terms that enable their reuse. Open research thereby increases the transparency, rigour and reproducibility of the research process and so can promote inclusivity, accelerate impact and improve public trust.  However, understanding and adopting open research practices can be challenging. This workshop therefore will explore strategies for culture change here at Newcastle University.

Workshop Details

Date: Thursday 30th September, 10.00 – 12.00.
Venue: Online.
Facilitators: Chris Emmerson and Steve Boneham.


  1. Introduction to open research
  2. Researcher perspectives on open research:
    1. Melissa Bateson – Professor of Ethology – Biosciences
    2. Greg Mutch – NU Academic Track Fellow – Engineering
    3. David Johnson – PhD Researcher – History, Classics and Archaeology
  3. Comfort break
  4. Breakout groups

    To discuss how the university can move towards a culture of open research by considering core aspects of the Center for Open Science strategy for culture change

    1. Systems and tools – what systems and research tools are needed to facilitate open sharing and documentation
    2. Support and training – what research support and training researchers require to undertake open research activities 
    3. Recognition and rewards – how open research behaviours can be encouraged, recognised and rewarded
    4. Policy – the role policy changes and interventions that require change to occur in open research practices at Newcastle

4. Reflections and next steps

*** This event is now fully booked. Please email should you wish to discuss future Open Research events. ***

Secondary Data Is Out There

To researchers’ credit across the globe the amount of data being shared is growing and this will only increase over time as open research becomes ubiquitous. There are significant benefits to data sharing including increased rigour, transparency, and visibility.

But this post isn’t going to get blogged down in the benefits of data sharing as it is a path well-trodden. Instead, let’s consider that as researchers have been archiving and sharing data in archives and repositories there is a rich source of material that can be accessed, reworked, reanalysed and compared to recent data collections.

This secondary data analysis is a growing area of interest to researchers and funders, with the latter having calls focusing solely on reanalysis of data (e.g. UKRI). Accessing historic data also allows for research to be undertaken where costs are prohibitive, data is impossible or difficult to collect, and, possibly, reduce the burden on over researched populations. With the continuing challenges with collecting primary data during the pandemic there might not be a better time to consider what data is already out there.

And it is not only research that can benefit but also teaching and learning. Archived data sources can be accessed to introduce students to a fantastic range of existing data and code. Using secondary data can free students of data collection allowing them to focus on developing skills of research questions and analysis.

Based on data from as of April 2021 there are over 2600 data repositories available for researchers to archive data, up from 1000 in November 2013. This isn’t a completely exhaustive list but is close enough to give an idea of the scale. Amongst these is our own data.ncl that now houses over 1200 datasets shared by university colleagues from across all disciplines and collected using a variety of methods and techniques.

However, finding the right dataset for your latest research project or teaching idea isn’t always straightforward. To help with that I have created guidance on how to find, reuse and cite data on the RDM webpages.

I would also be very keen to hear from users of secondary data to create case studies to inspire colleagues on this approach. If you would be interested in sharing your approach and experience, then please do get in touch.

Image Credit: Franki Chamaki on Unsplash