Policy frameworks provide the foundation for institutions to establish or build institutional open research or open science practice and culture. Institutional open research policies or position statements vary in scope, intent, and purpose as each is underpinned by the institution’s infrastructure, strategy, and culture.
Factors that can impact on policy content include the institution’s:
level of commitment to open research principles
preferences for particular pathways or processes to open research
rights retention requirements
approach to policy generally, including
the amount of operational detail contained in policy
the degree to which included policy elements are either mandatory or encouraged.
Policies also vary in the scope of inclusions. Some policies deal exclusively with traditional research outputs and others make provisions for a wider range of outputs such as research data, software, code, and educational materials.
At the time of publishing, within the Australian context, most policies related to open research are open access policies centred around free and open access to research outputs. They tend to focus on the use of institutional or external repositories to facilitate the discovery and open dissemination of institutional research outputs. However, as the scholarly publication landscape evolves in response to the broader open research or open science imperative, some policies refer to a range of open pathways and processes.
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) Institutional Open Access Policy Template and Toolkit advises that typically open access policies are structured around the following components:
While it was developed for the Canadian context, the CARL Template and Toolkit provides a useful starting point in the absence of an Australian template.
In 2020, a survey of ARMS and CAUL representatives was undertaken to inform the development of this Toolkit. The survey asked respondents to identify good practice policy examples. The following policy features, principles and other provisions were common to the good practice examples identified by survey respondents. Good practice policies:
enable their researchers to meet the requirements of key funding agencies’ open access policies (in Australia, ARC and NHMRC) and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
include provisions for outputs other than traditional research publications, including data, education materials, monographs and non-traditional research outputs (NTROs)
are underpinned by the FAIR principle of making research outputs, including data directly related to research publications, as open as possible and as closed as necessary
include position statements concerning both green and gold open access
provide information on the rights authors should retain to their publications, including advice on copyright and Creative Commons licensing of author accepted manuscripts (AAM)
require authors to deposit/archive a full text version of all publications (either an author accepted manuscript or an open access publisher version) within a set time period or once a DOI has been issued
provide clear timeframes and instructions when outputs and metadata must be deposited and made openly available.
Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that including provisions for compliance checking is an important factor in successful implementation of open access policies (see PASTEUR4OA paper Monitoring Compliance with Open Access Policies by Mafalda Picarra).
While some open research policies include references to research data management, often institutions create additional or separate policies concerning research data.
Policy related to sharing software and code is an emerging space in the Australian context. Statements concerning software and code are starting to appear in overarching open research policies rather than within a specific policy of their own, see, for example, University of Melbourne. Internationally, some software and/or code specific policies are available.
The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) provides the following resources to assist in creating research data-related policies.
Except where otherwise noted, all content on the Open Research Toolkit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) licence. Under the licence conditions, please attribute Open Research Toolkit.