The UKRN Open Research Programme continues to expand and gather momentum. See our May 2023 news update.  Immense progress has been made, thanks to all of those involved. Here is a quick summary and an indication of what’s coming up.


We have released a training schema, with an outline of the status of Programme training in each topic, and a training schedule. Many more training opportunities will be added to the schedule. We are busy discussing these opportunities with potential providers including institutional partners in the Programme; some may already have high quality training they could share to benefit other partners. This is in line with the ethos of UKRN, which is to enable collaboration across the sector to improve research.

As a reminder, this is a train-the-trainer approach that is designed to build institutional and sector capacity and, as a part of that, we will support a community of practice for the trainers that participate in Programme sessions, though we are sensitive that trainers may well be part of other communities as well.

Reward and recognition

Our work here is the “OR4” project – Open and Responsible Researcher Recognition and Reward for open research. OR4 aims are to enable institutions to reform how they recruit, promote and appraise staff, to better recognise open research practices. A very diverse group of 43 institutions, together employing over 80,000 academics across the UK, has now been announced as case studies or members of a community of practice. This far exceeds our expectations (and our plans!), and makes it one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the world. We are staying in touch with international activity such as CoARAOPUS and HELIOS, including via our international advisory group.

The OR4 project released an annual report over the summer, which documented progress until that point.

Sharing and integrating

We will set up a ‘living website’ to help institutions share, adapt and adopt policies and practices from each other. The existing web pages for each partner institution are being updated, and our experience of these will inform how we set up the living website over the next year.

Evaluation design

There are currently three strands of work in this project, which will weave together over the course of the next year. Theories of change have been developed for the Programme, documented in a report released over the summer. These theories will guide our planning and evaluation activities. The findings from the Open and Transparent Research Practices survey have informed the training and OR4 projects and are now being collated to be released as a data publication, along with analysis of the qualitative responses. The next steps here are to explore the potential for more coordination between various open research surveys. An ambitious set of institution-led pilot projects is being designed to develop and test indicators of open research, focusing on open/FAIR data, data availability statements, preregistration and the use of CRediT. Some 15 institutions and at least five third party providers will work together in this initiative, which may well – among other things – help inform ongoing discussions about indicators for the People, Culture and Environment section of the next REF.

Management and sustainability

The Programme has had an uneven start, though much of it is picking up pace now. It has also been unclear in some cases what will happen when, and how institutional partners best participate in the Programme. We are revising the collaboration agreement and our approach to planning to add clarity to the way forward, and to reflect our revised end date of August 2027. Over the next year, attention will also turn to which activities the UKRN communities may wish to sustain, and how that might be achieved.

In the spirit of transparency, to accompany this update we are also releasing publicly our annual report to Research England.

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