Flip to Open: The tools, practices, costs and culture required for fully open, collaborative research


We aim to pilot, track, and report on a project that utilizes many of the ICOR solutions to push the boundaries of open science. Starting with one or more funded, multi-team research projects, we’ll seek additional pioneering, progressive funders willing to support the incremental costs associated with fully open and collaborative practices.


Aled Edwards
Aled Edwards
University of Toronto & Structural Genomics Consortium
Dylan Wade Roskams-Edris
Dylan Roskams-Edris
Tanenbaum Open Science Institute


An RFA will be developed for additional funding to flip traditionally funded projects to open initiatives, describing the components, estimated costs, researchers’ responses, pitfalls, outcomes. These might include:

  • Definition of IP policy
  • Pre-registration and open/collaboration agreements and plans
  • Electronic lab notebook infrastructure (including chemistry)
  • Infrastructure to share and discuss research outputs in real time
  • Human resources:
    • Passionate advocate/communicator/training professional
    • Project manager
    • Collaboration and open practices facilitator
  • Professional assessment of researcher attitudes and quality of outputs
  • Ongoing narrative of research and behavioral aspects
  • Open access publishing fees
  • Data analytics to define, track, and measure:
    • Collaboration and open practices
    • Outputs usage/citation metrics
    • Public domain stats – e.g., usage and release of early data in lab notebooks, repositories, preprints “in progress”, formal preprints, publications
  • A description of the science – the background of the project and the targets for the coming 1-3 years.
  • The current level of openness of the various project components – e.g., what are the data, where are they and with whom are they currently shared? What are barriers to sharing? How were inputs obtained and provide any agreements currently applicable, e.g., material and/or data transfer agreements, terms of use agreed to for obtaining data.

Implicit in the project is that the flipping will be accompanied by the generation of tutorials/checklists enabling other projects to follow the same principles in future. All such outputs will be openly shared.

To reduce costs, the Flip team will make the best available use of public, free resources that are as sustainable as possible.


  • Toolkit with guidelines, checklists, examples, templates – i.e., a roadmap enabling funders and researchers to follow suit
  • Published evidence regarding the ‘flip-to-open’ project outcomes (behaviors, costs, research findings, pitfalls)
  • Metrics developed for tracking open and collaborative behaviors

What’s Needed

  • Funded, multi-team project(s) willing to commit to flipping their work to open (including open IP and sharing/collaborating on early findings), as well as institutional buy-in to this
  • Funding for the tools, consultants, and staff required to enable a fully open project
  • Professionals to train, facilitate track, assess and report on the practices and outcomes of open research


Kristen Ratan, Sarah Greene