Research Innovation Enterprise

The importance of open data and research – Coronavirus

Why open research?

Making research results open is often requirement for research funders and Universities. Open research is a way of allowing:

  • Others to use your data-sets to validate your findings or reused by researchers in other fields for different purposes
  • Demonstrating responsible use of public resources to fund research.
  • Supporting the responsible communication of research results.
  • Make your research outputs more visible – Data is available for discovery and re-use by yourself and others in the future

However, it can also be used to respond to social challenges in times of emergencies. The current Coronovirus outbreak is a great example of how the research community is coming together to ensure that the World Health Organization (WHO) has rapid access to emerging findings that could aid the global response.

The Welcome Trust published a Press release on 31 January 2020 calling upon the research community to work together to make research open on this topic and to apply the principles of this statement to similar outbreaks in the future where there is a significant public health benefit to ensuring data is shared widely and rapidly.

They have called on researchers, journals and funders to ensure that research findings and data relevant to this outbreak are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response and help save lives.

  • all peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the outbreak are made immediately open access, or freely available at least for the duration of the outbreak
  • research findings relevant to the outbreak are shared immediately with the WHO upon journal submission, by the journal and with author knowledge
  • research findings are made available via preprint servers before journal publication, or via platforms that make papers openly accessible before peer review, with clear statements regarding the availability of underlying data
  • researchers share interim and final research data relating to the outbreak, together with protocols and standards used to collect the data, as rapidly and widely as possible – including with public health and research communities and the WHO
  • authors are clear that data or preprints shared ahead of submission will not pre-empt its publication in these journals


Making research open at Edinburgh Napier University:

Making research open is not restricted to events such as Coronovirus. You can make any of your research open for any discipline by the following mechanisms:

Publishing in fully open access Journals

Depositing your Author accepted manuscripts in Worktribe

Publishing preprints

Making research data sets open* in Worktribe or other repositories

*you need to check if it is appropriate for data to be fully open. In some cases only the metadata about the data should be fully open, but others will know the data exists and be able to make a request to access the full dataset.

More information:

University Open Access policy

University Research Data Management policy

University Open Access blog

University Research Data Management information including sharing data 

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