Open Science in Practice: Researcher Perspectives and Participation

Angus Whyte, Graham Pryor


We report on an exploratory study consisting of brief case studies in selected disciplines, examining what motivates researchers to work (or want to work) in an open manner with regard to their data, results and protocols, and whether advantages are delivered by working in this way. We review the policy background to open science, and literature on the benefits attributed to open data, considering how these relate to curation and to questions of who participates in science. The case studies investigate the perceived benefits to researchers, research institutions and funding bodies of utilising open scientific methods, the disincentives and barriers, and the degree to which there is evidence to support these perceptions. Six case study groups were selected in astronomy, bioinformatics, chemistry, epidemiology, language technology and neuroimaging. The studies identify relevant examples and issues through qualitative analysis of interview transcripts. We provide a typology of degrees of open working across the research lifecycle, and conclude that better support for open working, through guidelines to assist research groups in identifying the value and costs of working more openly, and further research to assess the risks, incentives and shifts in responsibility entailed by opening up the research process are needed.

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The International Journal of Digital Curation. ISSN: 1746-8256
The IJDC is published by the University of Edinburgh
and is a publication of the Digital Curation Centre.