Open research in social sciences and humanities

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Discover the benefits of open research in social sciences and humanities

Watch our webinar with Kath Burton and read our Q&A to uncover why open research in social sciences and humanities is the way forward

In June 2022, Kath Burton hosted a webinar discussing the importance of open research in social sciences and humanities (SSH). She covered the main concepts of sharing data, sharing materials, methods and code; preprints; as well as open peer review. Indeed, she helps to explain the entire research cycle from initial idea to publication. You can watch the full recording of the event by clicking the video below…

We interviewed Kath to discover what you can expect from the webinar above…

So, Kath, first and foremost, can you tell us what open research means to you?

  • I tend to think of open research as a set of practices and principles that increase the impact of research. Open research is widening access to, making connections between, and encouraging the re-use of multiple parts of the research cycle. For social sciences and humanities, open research practices offer a way to move the conversation beyond open access business models. [These practices] explore the value of sharing and re-using research for greater impact and engagement.

Why is it important to make open research in social sciences and humanities accessible in this continually evolving digital era?

  • That’s a really interesting question. I might just take a moment to unpack it. Digital tools in the open research workflow [are] certainly being encouraged as a way to blend the digital with the accessible (see the OSF’s useful guidelines on this). But there are behavioural, even analogue, facets of open research that are crucial to the development of open research: humans. As the research cycle is opened up, research communities and providers [must] collaborate to maintain high ethical standards within a constantly evolving digital landscape. For me, that means focusing on open values. For example, accountability, collaboration, peer review, and trust to ensure that open [research] combined with digital is good for the people who are producing and consuming that knowledge. 

Open research can enhance the entire research workflow, helping researcher and librarian to collaborate more on enhancing the visibility and discoverability of research

– Kath Burton

How can open research practices support work carried out by social sciences and humanities researchers?

  • Getting a handle on your research data. [Also,] acknowledging that your research practices are producing unique materials associated with your research question. [This] is a great way for SSH researchers to get started with open research. As part of the STM Research Data initiatives, T&F and F1000 have been working with other publishers to [investigate] data sharing in the humanities. We know there are challenges. [But] there are useful solutions. Publishers can work together to support the benefits of data sharing for SSH participants. You can read more about that initiative on the F1000 blog here.

What can researchers gain from making their work more open?

  • In very simple terms, the ability to share more knowledge with others. By following some of the principles and practices, open research can enhance the entire research workflow. It can help researchers and librarians to collaborate more on enhancing the visibility and discoverability of research. The benefits of open research for stakeholders including researchers, funders, and the general public [can be found] on the Openaire site (including a useful taxonomy for open science). The Foster Open Science toolkit is also a great way to dig into the practicalities of doing open research. For SSH communities, open research may feel a bit unfamiliar, but understanding the basic principles and practices could be a great way to develop awareness as the [publishing] landscape shifts.

Open Research Insights

All the latest updates, insights, and information to help your institution choose open research – direct to your inbox each month.

Finally, why is it important for people to watch the open research in SSH recording above?

  • We cram a lot into a short presentation! I’d really encourage anyone to listen in, especially if you are interested in the following:

  • Tactics for increasing the transparency of your research
  • How to enhance FAIR sharing of research data – especially use and re-use of research
  • Considering when to open up your research across all parts of a project cycle
  • What you can do to gain more recognition for your research
  • Which open research practices are being integrated into publisher platforms
Portrait of Kath Burton, portfolio specialist in social sciences and humanities.

A little bit about Kath…

Kath Burton (she/her) specialises in development for the SSH portfolio at Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

With over 15 years’ experience working in scholarly communications, Kath has worked in a variety of publishing roles from commissioning and programme management to designing and implementing effective publishing strategies for scholarly societies and journal editorial teams.

Kath’s main area of focus is to discover new opportunities for digital, open, and public humanities using human-centred design techniques. She is deeply embedded within research and practice communities. She co-leads the Publishing and Public Humanities working group.

There is a huge range of information out there and we’re here to help…

For more information and resources on open research in the SSH community, click the links below.

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