Open Research

Open Research (which may also be referred to as Open Science or Open Scholarship) aims to increase openness and transparency across all parts of the research lifecycle.

It is considered to be beneficial to all involved in the research process, from funders, to researchers, to policymakers, and to society as a whole.

Imminent availability is one of the core facets of open research i.e. that as much openness as possible is achieved as early as possible. This ensures that others can others can engage with, learn and benefit from the research at the earliest opportunity.

A wide range of activities come under the umbrella of Open Research, as shown in the diagram below:


Open Research encompasses openness in terms of platforms, tools and software that increase the transparency of research methodologies and processes, and also in terms of widening participation (e.g. citizen science) and extending the reach of your research (e.g. public engagement).

Whilst the concept of Open Research encourages openness throughout the whole research lifecycle, the emphasis is most often on open access (in relation to publications) and open data (in relation to underlying research data). Further detail in relation to these areas is provided below:


Open access refers to free, unrestricted online access to research outputs such as journal articles and books.  Open access maximises the visibility, availability, and potential impact of your research output and can lead to increased citations. 

The Open Access Library Guide explains what Open Access means, what difference it makes and what routes to Open Access are available to you in DCU.

The routes to Open Access involve publishing in a journal or with a publisher who makes the output openly available (with authors often paying Article Processing Charges (APCs)) and/or depositing a copy of the output to an open repository.

Certain funders require outputs stemming from projects they have funded to be made open access immediately (i.e. without embargo). It is important to be cognisant of funder requirements in this regard when applying for funding as budget may be required for APC fees.

DCU staff are encouraged and supported to deposit all journal articles, conference items, books, and book chapters into DCU’s Open Access Institutional Repository DORAS DCU Library can provide guidance and assistance in relation to deposition.   

DCU (via the IReL consortium) have also entered into Open Access Transformative Agreements with a large number of publishers to facilitate DCU authors to publish Open Access (Gold) without paying an Article Processing Charge (APC).

Below are several additional resources that you may find useful in relation to Open Access:

  • ORCID – Unique identifiers such as ORCID are key to maintaining an open science system.  Further guidance on populating and maintaining an ORCID can be found in the DCU library ORCID Libguide.
  • DOAJ - Directory of open access journals can be a useful resource to identify open-access peer-reviewed journals. 
  • SHERPA/RoMEO - A useful resource that provides information about publisher open access policies and provides summaries of publisher copyright and open access archiving policies on a journal-by-journal basis.

With the concept of Open Research gaining increasing momentum, many funders now encourage researchers to publish their research, along with the underlying data, using an open platform. 

Just as explained in the open access section above, sharing your research data can increase your impact due to the wider reach and collaboration that is integral to these platforms. 

In order to increase the usability of your research data, researchers are encouraged to make their data FAIR, i.e. findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. 

Several funders require that the research data produced in their projects is based on these FAIR principles and some provide additional funding to facilitate this.  The following units can assist in with your data management planning and data-related queries:

  • If you are applying for funsing, the Research Support team can assist you with determining if open data is a requirement for your funder or not. 
  • DCU Library can provide advice and assistance with ensuring that your data adheres to the FAIR guidelines.
  • The Data Protection Unit can provide guidance in relation to ensuring that data that should be protected is done so appropriately. 
  • DCU Invent can provide guidance in relation to whether certain data should be protected in relation to commercialisation activities.  

Included below are resources that you may find useful in relation to FAIR Data:

The Open Research Landscape

Many funders (both national and international) are now endorsing open science practices, and in some cases mandating that outputs (& associated data) of the research they fund be made openly available. In the next programme of EU funding, Horizon Europe, it is expected that Open Science will be incentivised to ensure it becomes modus operandi for research.

The National Open Research Forum (NORF) has developed a National Action Plan for Open Research. The plan serves as a roadmap for the implementation of open research across Ireland and is structured according to three themes: Establishing a culture of open research; achieving 100% open access to research publications; and enabling FAIR research data and other outputs.

Also working towards an open research environment are cOAlition S (an international consortium of research funders who have launched Plan S, an initiative for open access publishing) and Science Europe’s Working Group on OA.

Some key funder requirements in terms of Open Research can be found via the links below: