Open Science

Issue Overview


“An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented good…” The opening line of the  Budapest Open Access Initiative declaration, the published February 14, 2002 and commenced this “Open Access” movement in science.

It’s been sixteen years since the call to provide open access to publications, which SPARC defines as “free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.”  Since this movement started,  the demand for open access to publications has evolved into the demand for open access to many other research outputs such as research data, code, and materials.  Collectively, this is called “Open Science.”


HRA member organizations are involved in a number of ways in this effort to provide open or public access to publications, some groups  have been at the forefront of this movement. HRA now has its “Open Science Task Force,” to learn and determine best practices and adopt appropriate polices. The Task Force aims to figure out how much more effectively could science and health be advanced if there was a requirement for immediate access to research results.

For example, some HRA members align with National Institute of Health’s Public Access Policy (implemented in 2009) which requires investigators to submit manuscripts to the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) PubMed Central, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the date of publication.  Meanwhile, other HRA member organizations believe that the 12-month embargo is too long.


Some funders who have implemented strict policies requiring open access to publications and/or to data have created their own infrastructure (including the NIH and the Gates Foundation), which is not feasible for most nonprofit funders.  To provide that infrastructure, the HRA has created HRA Open.

A web-based service, HRA Open promotes open access and enables awardees to link funding to their research outputs. A collaboration among the HRA, the NLM and Figshare, it enables awardees to deposit peer-reviewed publications into PubMed Central using the NIH manuscript Submission System.  It goes one step further by providing an additional space to upload and share other materials related to their project, including figures, datasets, preprints, presentations, and other research outputs.  HRA Members have recognized the value of sharing data and have formed a subgroup of the Open Science Task Force called the Data Sharing Working Group.


Another effort HRA members are involved in is the Open Research Funders Group.  The ORFG is a partnership of funding organizations committed to the open sharing of research outputs.  Several HRA-member organizations are full members, and HRA is an associate member.

The group developed the resource “Incentivizing the sharing of research outputs through research assessment: a funder implementation blueprint” which helps funders encourage researchers to share their research outputs (articles, data, code, materials, etc) by providing templates and other guidance to help funders.

Guidance includes:

  1. change the perception that publication in high-impact journals is the only metric that counts;
  2. provide demonstrable evidence that, while journal articles are important, we value and reward all types of research outputs; and
  3. ensure that indicators like the venue of publication or journal impact factor are not used as surrogate measures of quality in researcher assessment.