Building the ICOR Community and a Culture of Change

Problem statement

There is a growing recognition that open research practices lead to more collaboration and faster and better outcomes as reflected in reports from UNESCO, the UN, governments, funders and institutions. Yet there is not a lot of evidence that can inform policy makers and implementation initiatives. Most initiatives are not conducted with the goal of collecting data on the impact of open research policies and practices. And connecting open research to improved collaboration and improved outcomes is challenging. Even when projects are designed and funded to involve transdisciplinary and multi-institutional teams, there are no coordinated incentives and rewards for open behaviors and collaboration. And while there is a growing number of inventive technologies and processes that support the practice of open science, these are generally disconnected and sometimes even in competition with one another.

Initial steps

The ICOR Circle of Strategists has been meeting since 2020 to identify policies, tools and practices that, when implemented in concert, will challenge the status quo of closed research by (1) producing evidence of the benefits of open and collaborative research with real world implementations (2) addressing issues of non reproducibility and paucity of innovation, and (3) de-emphasizing high-impact publication as the primary means of career advancement. Initially, twenty stakeholders met–representing leadership in academia, funding and nonprofit organizations, government, publishing and research–and proposed ten goals for change throughout the research cycle, focusing on synchronicity and practical, reproducible implementation projects.

Defining the mission

In December 2021, ICOR’s website was launched with an eye toward community building around these identified opportunities, to support and expand upon the projects conceived earlier. The idea of connecting and implementing projects with similar goals has met with great enthusiasm, as has the approach of evidence-based project design to refine and promote what works on a practical scale while demonstrating the value of open research. The following mission has thus been defined:

To enable and incentivize an open and collaborative research culture by strategizing, connecting and implementing projects that seek to change the status quo of competition throughout the research cycle. To build a body of evidence and case studies on the impact of projects that facilitate collaborative open research, and to demonstrate how these practices, tools, metrics and incentives address the larger objective of finding innovative solutions to complex, real-world problems.


With this refined focus, ICOR’s key functions emerged:

  • register projects and connect them to opportunities defined in the research cycle
  • build coalition between initiatives in the same arena and create ‘solution spaces’
  • help projects adopt an experimental design that permits collection and analysis of results
  • communicate results, trends and gaps of the initiatives within the context of the research cycle and a new culture of openness
  • build and catalog the body of evidence for open scholarship as a means of more reproducible and innovative outcomes
  • demonstrate practical methodologies that enable, incentivize and reward open and collaborative research

Like-minded individuals and projects are invited to participate in this grand experiment.