Improving research quality: The view from the UK Reproducibility Network institutional leads for research improvement

Abstract

The adoption and incentivisation of open and transparent research practices is critical in addressing issues around research reproducibility and research integrity. These practices will require training and funding. Individuals need to be incentivised to adopt open and transparent research practices (e.g., added as desirable criteria in hiring, probation, and promotion decisions, recognition that funded research should be conducted openly and transparently, the importance of publishers mandating the publication of research workflows and appropriately curated data associated with each research output). Similarly, institutions need to be incentivised to encourage the adoption of open and transparent practices by researchers. Research quality should be prioritised over research quantity. As research transparency will look different for different disciplines, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach. An outward looking and joined up UK research strategy is needed that places openness and transparency at the heart of research activity. This should involve key stakeholders (institutions, research organisations, funders, publishers, and Government) and crucially should be focused on action. Failure to do this will have negative consequences not just for UK research, but also for our ability to innovate and subsequently commercialise UK-led discovery.

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