The PaPOR TRaIL Course

Principles and Practices in Open Research: Teaching, Research, Impact and Learning.

Open research is an umbrella term incorporating a range of principles and practices that make research more transparent, reproducible and accessible to everyone in the society. Open and transparent research practices, including research conduct and dissemination of findings, are essential to both those who produce and those who engage with research can access knowledge. Such principles and practices are relevant at all stages of the research cycle and are applicable to all disciplines, though it has been predominantly highlighted in the sciences and medicine. Further, though the principles of open research are consistent across disciplines, open research practices can be implemented differently across disciplines, thereby enhancing the transparency and robustness of research within and across disciplines

There are benefits of open research for individual researchers, including improved research quality and discoverability, shorter publication embargo periods, and reduced engagement in questionable research practices (QRPs). Open research practices also support the democratisation of scientific knowledge, and enables a greater number of people to engage with research. Training and education in open research principles and practices at early stages of individuals research journey is essential to maximise use of open research practices contributing the aforementioned benefits. Undergraduate and postgraduate students in particular can benefit significantly from training and education in open research at these formative stages. To date, open research educational resources have typically been aimed at PhD students, postdoctoral and more senior researchers, rather than undergraduate and master’s-level students, despite this learning period serving as the foundation to everything that follows.

The Principles and Practices in Open Research: Teaching, Research, Impact and Learning (PaPOR TRaIL) course was developed to provide a foundation in best scientific practice that benefits students, universities, and research as a whole. Our focus was to develop an open educational resource that would provide a comprehensive introduction to open research, and to help students incorporate open research in their research projects.

PaPOR TRaIL is a freely available online course that was developed with students and research supervisors and funded by a National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education award. Though primarily designed for undergraduate and Masters level students, the course is also applicable for PhD students and researchers looking for an introduction to open research. The course includes text-based materials, visuals, videos, templates, real-world examples, and activities for students to complete.

The course is comprised of an introductory module that introduces students to what open research is, why it is important, and how to do it. This introductory module can be completed by students as a standalone self-directed module that they complete in their own time. The introductory module is also designed so that it can be used as a Lecture that can be integrated into existing research courses by educators. The introductory module sections are shown below

The introductory module sections

Once students complete the introductory module they can complete any or all of the six practice-based modules that provide a more hands-on approach to _doing _open research Students do not need to complete all six modules, some modules may be more or less relevant to the stage of their research project and they can always come back to do other modules at a later date. When students complete the introductory and all practice modules, they receive a certificate of completion. The six practice-based modules are shown below:

The six practice-based modules

The course is openly available to anyone who is interested, and is open for free enrolment here: PaPOR TRaIL

The course also has an open licence (CC BY), which means the course content can be re-used and remixed to suit different educator and institutional/organisation needs, provided attribution is given to the PaPOR TRaIL team.

To download course content, please enrol at the PaPOR TRaIL site.

All course materials will be made available on our OSF page in 2022, following any refinements required in the course based on initial student feedback.

Details of the course development can be found here:

Further information, including our PaPOR TRaIL video, can be found here:

Contact information

The PaPOR TRaIL Course

Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar, , School of Public Health, University College Cork, on behalf of the PaPOR TRaIL team.