UKRN is proud to be a founding signatory of the Barcelona Declaration on Open Research Information, launched today. Its aims – to promote transparency and reproducibility in the production and use of research information – align with UKRN’s vision, and with those of international initiatives such as CoARA in which UKRN is also an active member.

The specific commitments in the Declaration are written mainly for organisations that carry out, fund or evaluate research and, whereas UKRN’s role as a network is primarily in promoting system-wide collaboration in support of rigorous research. UKRN member institutions and organisations will make their own decisions on whether to sign the Declaration, but they have signalled through their endorsement of the UKRN position that they are positive about its aims.

As part of its Open Research Programme, UKRN is exploring good practice in monitoring several aspects of open research through a set of ‘indicator pilots’. Some of these pilots involve commercial providers whose research information may not be open (although we are also working with open data providers including OpenAIRE and in discussion with both CORE and OpenAlex).

In the spirit of collaboration, UKRN is using a set of partnership principles to underpin these pilots, and we will ensure that all relevant outputs from the work will be open. The proposed indicator definitions will be released openly. We also mean that they will be designed so that a wide range of solutions can be used to underpin the indicators and, to check this, the indicator definitions will be openly available for scrutiny and engagement as they are developed.

The move toward open research information will take time, in part because this is a change in the culture and priorities of those who use that information, including universities and funders. The Declaration is an important step along that road.