In April 2016 we started exploring whether open research should be one of Wellcome’s strategic priorities.
The team working on this area expect to take recommendations to our Board of Governors in April 2017.
On this page
Why we’re looking at it
There’s a strong and growing consensus on the value of making research outputs – including datasets, publications and code – widely and rapidly available.
Making research more open means that other researchers can build on findings and generate new knowledge. This helps to speed up scientific discoveries and ultimately improve health.
While significant progress has been made in the last decade, there are still a number of challenges:
- infrastructures and tools need to be built and sustained to help researchers store, access and use the vast quantities of data generated by research
- different research fields are at very different stages in terms of sharing data and other research outputs
- the way that research is assessed at the moment means that researchers who lead the way in making their findings accessible aren’t always provided with adequate incentives or recognition
- data sharing must be developed in a way which is equitable, ethical and transparent, and which benefits research globally
- there’s a shortage of specialist data scientists and a need to develop the data management skills within the broader research community
- new and more cost-effective publishing models are needed to support greater open access.
We’re well placed to explore what could do in this space because:
- we’ve been a leader in efforts to make research more open and accessible for more than a decade – from brokering the immediate sharing of the human genome sequence to becoming the first funder to introduce a mandatory open access policy
- our work on data sharing and open access means that we have the expertise, and crucially the partnerships, needed to drive reform in open research
- maximising the value of research outputs is central to our mission to improve health.
What we’re doing
Since April we’ve been assessing our activities on open research, and looking at what other funders are doing. Over the coming months we’ll map out how we might be able to make a difference. This will be based on:
- a survey of our researchers to find out what they think about open research, how they practice it, and some of the barriers they face
- a number of reviews we’ve asked experts to put together, which focus on key challenges for open research, including how to improve:
- the development of the Wellcome Open Research publishing platform – a new way for our researchers to rapidly publish and share their results
- exploring how we can build on our support for clinicalstudydatarequest.com to expand access to clinical trials data
- working with ASAPbio to explore how preprints could speed up the sharing of results.
Who’s working on it
- Robert Kiley, Lead
- David Carr, Programme Manager
- Hannah Hope, Open Access Project Manager
- Jennifer O’Callaghan, Clinical Data Sharing Manager
- Aki MacFarlane, Research Analyst
We’ve also set up an external group of expert advisors who are helping us with our work:
- Robin Allshire, Professor of Chromosome Biology, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh
- Rolf Apweiler, Director, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)
- Noel Buckley, Professor of Neurobiology, University of Oxford
- Aled Edwards, CEO, Structural Genomics Consortium
- Mike Eisen, Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development, University of California, Berkeley
- Ottoline Leyser, Director, Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge
- Kenji Takeda, Solutions Architect and Technical Manager, Microsoft Research
- Tom Williams, Professor of Haemoglobinopathy Research, Imperial College, London
If you have any questions, contact the team: