ORFG Launches Blueprint to Incentivize the Sharing of Research Outputs

The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) today announces an important new practical resource for funders. The Incentivization Blueprint provides philanthropic organizations with a step-by-step approach for implementing research incentive structures that better correlate to open science practices.

A growing number of funders are eager to encourage grantees to openly share their research - articles, code and materials, and data. Developing incentive systems that appropriately encourage the open sharing of these outputs is critical, and the Incentivization Blueprint provides templated language and practical guidance toward that end.

The ORFG is pleased that a number of prominent funders have committed to taking steps to implement the Incentivization Blueprint, including the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Dunhill Medical Trust, the National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Tropical Diseases Research, Wellcome Trust, and Worldwide Cancer Research. If your organization is interested in learning more about the Incentivization Blueprint, please contact us.

ORFG Welcomes Lumina Foundation as Newest Member

The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to announce its newest member, Lumina Foundation. Founded in 2000, Lumina Foundation is an independent, private philanthropy based in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina is among the nation’s top 100 private foundations, with an endowment in excess of $1 billion. The ORFG welcomes Lumina's engagement on the critical issue of open sharing of research outputs.

ORFG Releases "Open 101" Tip Sheets for Research Stakeholders

The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) is pleased to make available a suite of resources designed to help specific audiences understand the benefits of open science. Comprised of a mix-and-match set of tip sheets designed for grantees, program officers and staff, and foundation leadership, the materials can help research funders build effective campaigns for the adoption of open policies. The materials are concise, easily adaptable, and written in plain language for non-expert audiences. The ORFG hopes these “Open 101 Tip Sheets” will assist funders seeking to make the case for open across a range of stakeholders. For more details, visit the ORFG Resources page.

Funder Perspectives on Open Infrastructure

The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) recently conducted a survey to better understand funder perspectives with respect to supporting open infrastructure. Sixteen organizations completed the questionnaire, evenly split between ORFG members and other funding bodies. The results suggest an underlying support for open initiatives and the infrastructure buttressing these activities. This is tempered by reservations about how best to discern and smartly invest in open infrastructure projects.  The full results of the survey are available here.  The ORFG plans to review the findings and chart a defined engagement path on open infrastructure over the second half of 2018.

ORFG Supports the Initiative for Open Citations

The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to promote the availability of open citation data by signing on as a supporter of the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC). The I4OC aims to make data on citations that are structured, separable, and open.  Greater access to citation data makes it easier for scholars to trace the evolution of research, discover connections across papers, and build upon macro-level trend data in creative and impactful ways.  Transparency within the research chain is particularly valuable for funders, as it helps us better track the impact of the work we support.  We are proud to stand with dozens of other stakeholders in support of this intitiative.

ORFG Supports TOP Guidelines and DORA

The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to add its support to two community-driven initiatives promoting research transparency.  Today, the ORFG has become an official signatory to both the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines and the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

ORFG's mission aligns squarely with both projects.  TOP aims to encourage transparency and openness in research design, execution, analysis, and dissemination.  This will enable more effective research reproducibility.  DORA seeks to ensure that scientific output is measured accurately and transparently, and that it is evaluated wisely.  This will promote better research processes and improve hiring, promotion, and funding decisions.

The ORFG's support of these initiatives is a tangible outcome of our first in-person member meeting. At this convening, ORFG members agreed that we, as an organization, should become more assertive in giving public support to policies and principles consistent with our mission.  Our amplified voice is an effective tool to promote a range of activities that accelerate the open sharing of research outputs.

Helmsley Charitable Trust Joins the Open Research Funders Group

The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to announce its newest member, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. The ORFG welcomes Helmsley's support for principles and policies that enable sharing and collaboration across the global research enterprise.

Wellcome Trust Joins the Open Research Funders Group

The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to announce its newest member, the Wellcome Trust.  The Wellcome is a global charitable foundation whose mission is to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. It supports a range of initiatives in over 70 countries in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.  Wellcome is a long-time leader in the open sharing of research outputs and recently established an Open Research team to provide greater coordination of these activities and to develop new initiatives that will help to embed open research practices in the research space.  Wellcome’s participation in the ORFG underscores the funder community's growing coalescence around supporting open research.

Summary of First ORFG Member Meeting

Representatives from the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) membership, joined by a dozen stakeholders from the research ecosystem, convened on October 3, 2017, for the ORFG's inaugural in-person meeting.  The meeting was an excellent chance for participants to identify opportunities for the ORFG to promote the open sharing of research outputs both within and beyond the funder community. A succinct summary of the day's activities, as well as key takeaways, may be found here

New ORFG Resource Provides Guidance to Funders Developing Open Policies

As the launch and continued growth of the ORFG demonstrates, momentum around the open sharing of research outputs is building within the funder community.  Many organizations have expressed an interest in developing their own open policies.  One significant hurdle is a lack of clarity about what factors an effective policy should address.  Another is a concern that policies must follow a rigid ideology in order to be considered "truly open".  In response to these considerations, the ORFG is pleased to announce the release of the HowOpenIsIt? Guide to Research Funder Policies.  Built off the success of the highly visible HowOpenIsIt? Guide for Evaluating the Openness of Journals, this new resource frames the choices funding organizations should consider in developing an open policy.  Further, it highlights the spectrum that exists between a fully open and a fully closed approach to funded research outputs. 

The ORFG invites research funders to explore the HowOpenIsIt? Guide to Research Funder Policies.  Organizations that might benefit from further discussion of some of the choices and considerations are warmly encouraged to contact us.

Open Research Funders Group Adds Two New Members

The Open Research Funders Groups is pleased to announce its two newest members. The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation supports a variety of organizations addressing global issues in the fields of science and technology, education, and the environment. Arcadia, a charitable fund of Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing, supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment, and promote open access.  We are pleased to have them join our partnership to promote the open sharing of research results.

New ORFG Resource - Annotated Directory of Community Tools

A key goal of the Open Research Funders Group is the creation of resources to assist stakeholders in developing, managing, and assessing open policies.  The first such resource is an annotated list of tools and services that can assist research funders in the operational aspects of policy oversight.  If you have a suggestion for this list, please contact us.

James S. McDonnell Foundation Joins Open Research Funders Group


The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to announce its newest member, the James S. McDonnell Foundation.  Founded in 1950 by aerospace pioneer James S. McDonnell, the Foundation was established to "improve the quality of life," and does so by contributing to the generation of new knowledge through its support of research and scholarship. Since its inception, the McDonnell Foundation has awarded over $450M in grants.  Its primary program areas are Understanding Human Cognition and Studying Complex Systems.

Prominent Funding Organizations Team Up to Launch Open Research Funders Group

WASHINGTON, DC (December 15, 2016) - Eight highly-visible organizations today announced the launch of the Open Research Funders Group, a partnership designed to increase access to research outputs. With nearly $5 billion in combined annual grants conferred, these organizations are committed to using their positions to foster more open sharing of research articles and data.  This openness, the members believe, will accelerate the pace of discovery, reduce information-sharing gaps, encourage innovation, and promote reproducibility.

Inaugural members of the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the American Heart Association, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“The Open Research Funders Group provides a unique opportunity for funders to speak with a single voice regarding open access, open data and open science,” said Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “It amplifies our shared commitment to accelerating access to the work we fund and the knowledge it generates.”  

Added Dr. Ivor Benjamin, Chair of the American Heart Association Research Committee, “It aligns with the American Heart Association's strategic goals and our core belief that investment in research is maximized through its wide availability to an expanding community of stakeholders and end users. We look forward to learning from peer organizations that have developed and implemented open access and open data policies, and, in turn, to sharing what we have learned from our own experience.”

The Open Research Funders Group will confer regularly to develop actionable principles that can be used by research funders to accelerate access to research and underlying data.  The ORFG will compile and curate resources and best practices to help funding organizations develop and communicate open policies to internal and external stakeholders.  Additionally, the group will identify opportunities to develop and/or support infrastructure that can accelerate openness globally.  The ORFG will be assisted in its efforts by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), which will serve a coordinating role for the project.  The group arose out of a forum of open access stakeholders convened by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and SPARC in late 2015.

More information on the Open Research Funders Group may be found at www.orfg.org.  Membership is open to nonprofit organizations around the globe that maintain or aid charitable, educational, or other activities serving the public good.  Potential members must fund and/or directly undertake scholarly or scientific research, select award recipients based on objective merit using a review procedure that is clearly documented, and make a list of awarded grants freely available to the public through publication of an annual report and/or publishing the list of grants on the organization’s website.