Why Open Research

Openness is at the heart of scholarly research. Research only reaches its full potential if it is conducted and shared in a transparent, timely and efficient manner, so that various audiences can access, re-use, benefit from and build upon it.

Open research primarily refers to access to publications and research data. However, an open research environment expands beyond that. Adopting open platforms and services, participating in open collaborative projects and engaging with the public are all approaches seeking to engender dialogue across different disciplines and communities, spur innovation and advance knowledge for the benefit of all.

Why Open Access

Open access aims to remove existing barriers to accessing scholarly publications. The aim of open access is to make publications freely available to anyone, without the need for password or a subscription, and with no restrictions in re-using the material.

This has benefits for different communities

  • Scholarly researchers, including students, can access others’ publications even if their institution does not subscribe to the journal. This is particularly helpful for smaller institutions or for researchers in developing countries
  • Open access also strengthens a researcher’s profile. Openly accessible publications are highly visible and widely downloaded. Downloads from SRI Open Access, the University’s open access repository, have passed the 5 million mark. There is ample evidence that openly available publications have a higher citation impact
  • Practitioners, especially in the medical professions, as well as charities and policy makers can have timely access to the latest research to inform their decisions
  • Small companies can speed up the development of products and technologies if they have timely access to relevant research
  • Publishers can set up innovative business models, such as open presses
  • The general public can have access to research in different areas of interest; research that they paid taxes to fund. This includes knowledge useful to patients and their families, who may wish to research options available to them

The societal and economic benefits of open access are increasingly being recognised and supported by governments and research funders. Open access is now an acceptable, and in many cases required route to sharing your research findings.

Why Open Data

The majority of funding bodies view publicly funded research data as a public good produced in the public interest. Making that data open and accessible brings significant benefits, both to the research community and the society which hosts and funds it; benefits such as: 

  • increase the transparency of your findings
  • enables innovative reuse and combination of data for new analyses 
  • reduces duplication of efforts and funding
  • increases the visibility of your research
  • facilitates the education of new researchers and the wider public 


UKRI (formerly RCUK), Wellcome, HEFCE (now closed) and Universities UK published the Concordat on Open Research Data, which describes ten key principles for ensuring that your research data is “openly discoverable, accessible, intelligible, assessable, and usable” by others. 

Research Data Management is an essential building block of good research practice and increases the exposure and impact of your research. It encompasses the entire lifecycle of a research project from planning to sharing to preservation.

RDM offers some big benefits for researchers: 

  • increase the reproducibility of your findings
  • enable other researchers to reuse your data
  • make project handovers easier and more efficient
  • demonstrate your integrity as a researcher
  • increase the impact of your research 

In the short term, RDM makes the research process more efficient and reduces risks of losing important or valuable data. In the long term, it increases the opportunity for reuse and citation of your data while ensuring the longevity of your research outputs.

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

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