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Press Release – New Funding of €1.725 Million Positions Ireland to Lead in Open Research

New Funding of €1.725 Million Positions Ireland to Lead in 

Open Research

 

The Digital Repository of Ireland welcomes the announcement of Ireland's first national budget to advance open research practices

 

11 February 2022

 

A significant pool of funding has been designated to ramp up Ireland’s progress in implementing an open research ecosystem. This funding marks Ireland’s first national budget aimed at dramatically improving the pathways for sharing research, and building transparent practices into the very fabric of scientific discovery. The funding of €1.725 million from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has been announced by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, to support the activities of the National Open Research Forum (NORF) and has been allocated to the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) to distribute to key initiatives identified by the NORF. 

Open research, also known as Open Science, is an umbrella term for a global movement to ensure that research publications, and the data behind the findings of the research process, are made freely and openly available to the public instead of being locked behind paywalls. The requirement for rapid sharing of research outputs has been made very clear to the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, where the pace of discovery is directly linked to saving lives. The Digital Repository of Ireland is a leader in Ireland’s and Europe’s open research ecosystem, providing a certified repository for preserving and openly sharing data, and actively participating in national policy discussion and international expert groups. 

Dr Natalie Harrower, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, said:

This funding marks a crucial step for the Irish research ecosystem, and for Ireland’s contribution to global knowledge production and exchange. The Department’s commitment means that Ireland can play a leading role in Europe and beyond. Open research truly marks a paradigm shift in scientific workflows – the sooner research outputs are shared in standardised and transparent ways – the sooner others can build on these outputs for new discoveries. DRI is honoured to serve as NORF’s coordinating organisation, and to continue working alongside such dedicated NORF colleagues to implement agreed priorities.

In late 2020, DRI appointed Dr Daniel Bangert as Ireland’s first National Open Research Coordinator, to coordinate the National Open Research Forum (NORF), a body of over 90 open scholarship experts and practitioners drawn from Ireland’s higher education, research, and library communities. Dr Bangert has led the Forum and its five working groups through a detailed landscape analysis culminating in the National Open Research Landscape Report and a series of NORF Policy Briefs, launched today alongside Minister Harris’s announcement. This work will also inform a National Action Plan for Open Research due to be published later this year.

Dr Daniel Bangert, National Open Research Coordinator, said:

The announcement of dedicated funds for the coordination and implementation of Ireland’s national open research agenda is a recognition of open research as a priority for the research and innovation sector both nationally and internationally. I would like to thank the substantial effort and expertise that has been invested by members of the National Open Research Forum and the broader national research community to progress this policy agenda. I look forward to continuing engagement on the National Action Plan and its implementation.

This new funding will enable Ireland to make significant national progress while also contributing to international ambitions such as those outlined by the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science (2021).     

Dr Mary Canning, President of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), said:

We welcome this significant funding from the Department, and are pleased that the Digital Repository of Ireland, headquartered at the RIA, will play this key role in the National Open Research Forum. Our Academy members and committees have worked hard to raise awareness of open research as a public good, with particular attention to the social sciences and humanities, through national initiatives and international policy fora such as ALLEA (All European Academies) and the International Science Council. RIA publishing and research projects are committed to increasingly opening their outputs, and we recently made our Dictionary of Irish Biography into a fully open access resource. The Department’s commitment to supporting an open research environment bodes well for the future of scholarship on this island. 

Notes

 

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) is a national infrastructure for research data preservation and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) sharing, as well as a research centre in digital archiving, digital preservation, and open research. The DRI repository stewards a rich variety of collections across the arts, humanities and social sciences that reflect Ireland’s social and cultural heritage. The collections provide both sources for researchers and the public, as well as outputs from the research process itself (‘research data’). 

The development of an open research ecosystem is one of DRI’s key strategic priorities, and DRI actively contributes to policy formation, advocacy, training and infrastructure provision in this area. Twice certified as a trustworthy data repository by the international standard CoreTrustSeal, the DRI runs a range of research-funded projects, and actively participates in European networks such as the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH), Europeana, and the Research Data Alliance (RDA). DRI has also contributed to policy formation via expert and working groups with the European Commission, the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and the ALLEA European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities. For more information, see ‘Our Work’ at https://dri.ie/ 

DRI is headquartered at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), with staff at RIA, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), and Maynooth University (MU). DRI is funded directly by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science via the HEA and the IRC. The Repository is available at: https://repository.dri.ie/

 

Open Research, also referred to as open science or open scholarship, is an approach to research based on open cooperative work, tools, and knowledge sharing for the benefit of science and society. Open research is an umbrella term for a variety of related practices, including open access to publications, open and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) research outputs, and alternative methods for research evaluation. Such practices make research processes and their outputs available to the widest possible audience and aim to enhance the quality, efficiency, and impact of research.

Open research reflects a fundamental shift globally towards making research more transparent, collaborative, efficient and democratic. This includes a set of initiatives designed to transition from the standard practice of publishing research results in scientific publications on a subscription-only basis to making research freely available to the public. It spans open access to publications and data as well as research infrastructures for hosting and diffusing data so that others can more easily access, reuse, and build on research results. Open research is relevant to all research irrespective of field and purpose. The term ‘open research’ is synonymous with the term ‘open science’ and is used in the Irish context to clarify that all disciplines are included.

 

The National Open Research Forum (NORF) is co-chaired by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Health Research Board (HRB) with secretariat from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS). It is coordinated by the National Open Research Coordinator, Dr Daniel Bangert, who is based at the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI). DRI’s Director Dr Natalie Harrower serves on the Core Oversight Group of the NORF Steering Group, Software Engineer Dr Kathryn Cassidy serves on the Infrastructures working group, and Digital Archivist Kevin Long serves on the FAIR working group. The funding announced today will be provided by the HEA to the DRI to address open research priorities. 

NORF  was established in 2017 to drive the national agenda for open research, following earlier work by the National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy (2012). NORF prepared Ireland’s National Framework on the Transition to an Open Research Environment, launched by the Government of Ireland in July 2019. The National Framework outlines Ireland’s objectives for open research in five strategic areas, which map to the current five working groups: open access to research publications, enabling FAIR research outputs, infrastructures for access to and preservation of research, skills and competencies, and incentives and rewards. 

The role of NORF is to propose national actions to address the challenges of changing the Irish research system to strengthen, promote or better support open research practices. Across its Working Groups and Coordination Groups, the Forum combines the expertise of more than 90 representatives from policy, research funding, research performing, the library sector, enterprise, and other key stakeholders in the Irish research system.

The publications announced today are available at the following links: 

National Open Research Landscape Report (2021)

NORF Policy Briefs (2021)

 

Contact for further information: 

 

Dr Natalie Harrower, Director

Digital Repository of Ireland, 

Royal Irish Academy, 

19 Dawson Street,

Dublin 2

n.harrower@ria.ie