These are the Sway resources from the Open Research Case Study project developed by Dorka Tamás and PhD candidate Christopher Cox from interviews conducted across the University of Leeds. For more information about the project see previous post: Case by case: Open research in different disciplines

Note that not all case studies have yet been approved by contributors. More will be added to this list over time.

Faculty of Arts Humanities and Cultures:  

School of Design:   

Case study with Pammi Sinha on “Addressing post-consumer textile waste in developing economies“. Pammi talked about a research project that involved interviewing people, and the challenges of sharing such data openly. Pammi is familiar with open research practices and is involved in public engagement initiatives.  

School of English:   

Case study with Bridget Bennett on “The Dissenting Atlantic: Archives and Unquiet Libraries, 1776-1865”. Bridget could see how some of her colleagues find preprints useful, but she doesn’t publish preprints. While she also has a more positive attitude towards preprints, it may not be as widespread in the field of English. Bridget also worked with Nick Sheppard, who developed a Wikipedia article on an abolitionist and author from Leeds Wilson Armistead.   

School of History:   

Case study with Emilia Jamroziak and Kathryn Dutton on “The sacred landscapes of medieval monasteries”. Emilia and Kathyrn talked about the importance of open access in their field. They also discussed working with digitised archives during the pandemic and the challenges of identifying “data” in medieval codices.   

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies:   

Case study with Cécile De Cat on “Quantifying bilingual language experience”. Cécile said open research is very important in the field of linguistics, which relies a lot on preprints and preregistration of research. There was even a survey conducted on the use of open research methods in her field.  

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies:    

Case study with Paul Cooke on “Changing the Story” project. Paul’s research uses participatory research methods, and he co-produces research with young people. The project used open research methods: they created a website to share as much data and research information on the project as possible.  

School of Media and Communication:   

Case study with David Hesmondhalgh on the project “MUSICSTREAM: Music Culture in the Age of Streaming”. David’s research benefits from open-access publications, but he is critical of the costs and the amount of profit the publishing industry makes. David works on Internet studies, and datafication is a very popular research practice.  

School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science:   

Case study with Helen Beebee is an editor of the British Society for Philosophy of Science, which publishes some open-access monographs. Helen uses preprints and tries to make her research as open as possible.  

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies:   

Case study with Mark Westgarth on “Sold! The Year of the Dealer” project. Mark works in Art History and his project works in collaboration with museums, art collectors, and artists. He talked about the challenges of paying for copyrighted materials, which makes open-access publishing, particularly in the case of monographs very challenging.  

School of Music:   

Case study with Scott McLaughlin on “The Garden of Forking Paths: material-indeterminacy driving open-form composition for clarinets” project. Scott is a practice researcher and composer who works with music and instruments as “data”; he is involved in The SPARKLE (Sustaining Practice Assets for Research, Knowledge, Learning and Engagement) project too. Scott favours preprints and open access.  

School of Performance and Cultural Industries:   

Case study with Jonathan Pitches on the “Performing Mountains” project. Jonathan is a practice researcher, and he works together with various artists and practitioners. He discussed the difficulty of IP and copyright when working on a collaborative project. Jonathan is also an editor of an open-access journal. He would like to see better guidelines for the next REF for practice researchers.    

Faculty of Biological Sciences  

School of Biology:   

Case study with Chris Hassall on Citizen Science. Chris shares code on GitHub and although he had open-access publications, he is sceptical of the funding model. Chris’s research relies on data collected by citizen scientists; he occasionally would train them to perform certain computational tasks.  

School of Biology:   

Case study with Amanda Bretman Dean of Research Quality. Open research is very common in Amanda’s field and her research group will make data open too. Since becoming Dean of Research Quality, Amanda has seen the differences in how Faculties and even Schools practice open research. She sees open research as a big and growing part of research quality and embedded in the next REF.  

School of Molecular and Cellular Biology:  

Case study with Queen Saikia PhD student whose project is about understanding trafficking of a receptor membrane protein VEGFR1. Queen often uses preprints and is involved in the ReproducibliTea Network.   

School of Molecular and Cellular Biology:   

Case study with Alex Holmes on “Investigating the Structures and Mechanisms of Ion Translocating Membrane Proteins”. Alex recently finished her PhD; she is involved in science communication and has presented in various public engagement projects. Alex’s research relies on open data, and she interacted with Leeds Research Data Managementt (RDM) team. She is also interested in case studies and wants to see how open research is practised in different other disciplines.   

Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

School of Chemical and Process Engineering:   

Case study with Alastair Baker who works on Nuclear Engineering. Alastair is well-versed in open research, however, in his field, making data available is not a common practice. Alastair also uses social media and preprint repositories to share his work.  

School of Civil Engineering:   

Case study with Zhengyao Li who is a PhD student in the Materials and Structures group. Zhengyao’s field works closely with the industry, and therefore, open research is crucial. Her research group wants to share the product they are developing, but they also have to be careful since they are trying to patent it through the University of Leeds.  

School of Computing:     

Case study Wisdom Agboh is a recent PhD graduate who works at Robotics@Leeds. Wisdom thinks sharing research with the public is very important and his research group practises open research. They share preprints on arXiv and codes on GitHub.  

Research Computing:   

Case study with Alex Coleman who is a Research Software Engineer. Alex works with researchers who are developing computational tools for their research. Alex’s team often shares code on GitHub and applies an open licence to those. They encourage both open and reproducible research practices.  

School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering:   

Case study with Dimitris Soulias PhD student who works on “Nanoscale tweezers for single-molecule manipulation”. Dimitris thinks preprints are useful since it takes a lot of time to publish research. Dimitris uses open-source software and says his field is becoming more aware of open research.  

School of Mathematics:   

Case study with Mauro Mobilia on “The Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics of Fluctuating Populations” project. Mauro is currently working on a collaborative project with American colleagues, which has many challenges in terms of openness since the American collaborators are not subject to the same rules as they are in the UK, which poses several questions. Mauro’s field is very open and preprints are very common.  

School of Mechanical Engineering:   

Case study with Nick Cooper on his PhD project “Modelling mechanical damage mechanisms in hip replacements”. Nick has participated in events at Leeds, such as the Open Lunch and ReproducibiliTea Network which has made him more aware of the open research practices he wants to do in the future. He uses a lot of open-source tools which benefits his research community too.  

School of Physics and Astronomy:  

Case study with George Heath on Molecular and Nanoscale Physics. George shares code on GitHub and software, so people can reproduce and build on his work. In the past, George’s field has been very closed but recently, there is more openness and data sharing. George tries to use as much as possible open-source software.  

Interdisciplinary Research

Astbury Centre:   

Case study with Charlie Scarff who is an integrated structural biologist. Charlie said her field is becoming more open and people are sharing more data too. Charlie uses preprints and thinks it is very important in her field. Charlie works with a large amount of data, which makes data storage challenging.  

Bragg Centre:    

Case study with Christopher Marrows works on spintronics, using magnetic materials to create new microelectronics. His field is getting quite open with some high-profile open-access journals, and most people use arXiv to deposit preprints. Christopher has published open datasets, but he often has to use licensed tools instead of open-source software.  

HealthTech Innovation:   

Case study with Rory O’Connor who is currently working on a project on rehabilitation following a long COVID. Rory’s work includes working with healthcare practitioners, and funding often comes from non-UKRI sources, which makes publishing open access more challenging. Rory uses open data, and preprints and has pre-registered projects, which are mandatory in his field to get ethical approval.   

Cultural Institute:   

Case study with Merrick Burrow (guest curator) on “The Cottingley Fairies: A Study in Deception” exhibition. Merrick works at the University of Huddersfield whose research on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has used items from the University of Leeds Special Collections. Merrick curated an online and physical exhibition at the Brotherton Galleries. He discussed how the exhibition fits into open access goals on making research and archives accessible and digitally available. The project was significant for the long-term preservation of items.  


Case study with Mark Davis on “Pioneering bond enables net-zero” project. Mark’s project was embedded in open research practices to run workshops, focus groups and interviews with various stakeholders, working together with policymakers, and focusing on public engagement. Mark said he has learnt a lot from colleagues working on different disciplines about open research. His work included crowdfunding as a form of participatory research method.  

Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI):   

Case study with Laura Carter on “Contaminants of emerging concern in agricultural systems” project. Laura said preprints are not common in her field. Laura has always found open research important; when she published her PhD, she ensured all the raw data, the methods, and the papers were open access. Laura recently worked together with farmers to collect soil samples, which included following GDPR guidelines for her Data Management Plan.  

Leeds Institute of Data Analytics (LIDA):   

Case study with Peter WG Tennant on “Translating causal inference methods into health and social science”. Peter works in health data science; he deposits preprints on arXiv and uses GitHub to share his codes. However, Peter is an epidemiologist and saw the problems preprints caused in the Health Sciences during the pandemic.  

Leeds Institute of Data Analytics (LIDA):  

Case study with Greta Timaite and James Hulse on “Open access data for transport research: tools, modelling and simulation”. Greta and James are postdoctoral researchers who work on a collaborative project using open data from OpenStreetMap to understand where travel infrastructure needs to be developed. They share code from their research on GitHub for reproducibility and ensure that people can see exactly how they have obtained data and how it was processed.  


Case study with Gabriela Lopez-Gonzalez on PeatDataHub, a research hub for communicating peatland science and managing peatland monitoring data. Gabriela’s research uses data collected by citizen scientists. She has deposited open datasets at Leeds’s repository that have a DOI. Gabriela thinks there isn’t a standard way of doing open research in ecology.  

Priestley International Centre for Climate:   

Case study with Doug Parker on climate science. Doug is required to deposit data openly by the funding of his research. Doug said preprints are not used in his field, but open-access publishing is very common. Doug discussed the challenges of working with colleagues from Africa who don’t have access to the same level of funding to publish open access or need the training to use tools and data repositories that Doug’s research group uses.  


Open Education:   

Case study with Antonio M. Arboleda from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies. Antonio is an open educator who thinks we need to conceptualise research as a process, not as an outcome when we talk about open research. He highlighted the importance of digital education and Open Educational Resources (OER) and talked about how Leeds is embracing openness at an institutional level, which sends a very important message to the research community at Leeds.  

Special Collections:   

Case study with Jodie Double, digital content and copyright manager. Jodie discussed the Special Collections’ strategy for digitalisation, which includes preservation, accessibility, and broadening access to knowledge. Jodie also discussed the importance of knowing copyright laws when working with archival materials, digital or otherwise. The Library has some collections that are completely digitised and is working towards creating digital and accessible content.  

Careers with Research Consultant:   

Case study with Ruth Winden who is a career research consultant. Ruth supports researchers in their career development but believes that everyone is responsible for their career. Ruth said that research or academic jobs have now more expectations, including elements of open research, such as collaboration, leadership, and research communication. She thinks researchers are more satisfied with their work if it will be accessible to a much bigger audience and can be used in a broader context, which is a goal of open research.  


Case study with Alexandra Freeman, founder of Octopus, the new platform for primary research records. Alex said Octopus has many roles within open research, for example, it encourages collaboration and sharing research materials beyond research outputs and data. She highlighted that Octopus is designed to open people’s minds to different ways of thinking about their research and their role in the research environment. At the moment, the platform is under development, but it has financial and other support from major funders in UK higher education, such as Jisc.  

The Research Development Concordat:  

Case study with Emma Spary on “The Research Development Concordat”. Emma discusses the Concordat, designed to help early career researchers in developing their academic careers, and how open research principles are becoming an important aspect to it.  

Public Engagement team:  

Case study with Alexa Ruppertsberg on “The Public Engagement team and Open Research at the University of Leeds”. Alexa talks about how the public engagement team tries to foster transparency and interactions between researchers based at Leeds and the public. She discusses the many activities this includes, and successes and challenges she’s had along the way. 

Faculty of Social Sciences

School of Sociology & Social Policy:  

Case study with Kahryn Hughes on the “The Timescape Archive at the University of Leeds”. Kahryn talks about the bespoke archive created at Leeds for qualitative data depositing, highlighting the uniqueness of it when compared to more-quantitative orientated repositories, and the opportunities it represents. She is familiar with open research practises like open and FAIR data, open access, public engagement and decolonisation of knowledge. 

School of Education:  

Case study with Peter Hall on “Participatory research in the Young People & Active Journeys in Leeds project”. Peter talks about a recently-concluded (ongoing, at the time of the interview) project on training young people in the Leeds area to become researchers to collect data on travelling trends and behaviour among their peers. He is particularly versed in participatory action research, and in collaboration with external stakeholders, especially the Leeds City Council.   

School of Politics & International Studies:  

Case study with Eike Rinke on “Open Research in Political Science and the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN)”. Eike talks about the reproducibility crisis in academia, highlighting a meta-analysis project where multiple research teams were given the same datasets and hypothesis to test, to see the reproducible results. He also discussed his role as institutional lead for the UKRN at Leeds and its impact on open research.  

School of Politics & International Studies:  

Case study with Charles Dannreuther on “Knowledge co-production with students in Political Science”. Charles discusses the importance of having undergraduate students play more active roles in the education process. He focusses on two particular undergraduate modules he leads where students are trained to become researchers and gather their own data. Part-and-parcel of his open education approaches has been to work with external partners (e.g. government bodies and local organisations) in these endeavours. 

Faculty of Environment 

School of Geography:  

Case study with Jiren Xu on the “Open Research and the PEATMAP project”. Jiren talks about how he created an openly accessible global map of peatland distribution, to assist researchers around the world with their own projects. He is familiar with open research practises, particularly open and FAIR data, and has experience in public engagement with the PEATMAP. 

School of Earth & Environment Studies:  

Case study with Alan Haywood on “PlioMIP: the Pliocene Intercomparison project”. Alan talks about the PlioMIP, an ongoing project using climate modelling to examine the Pliocene era and implications/lessons it may hold for current climate change patterns. The work he is involved with has placed a heavy emphasis on open software and making data gathered open and FAIR for researchers around the world.  

Institute for Transport Studies:  

Case study with Natasha Merat on the “Open Research in the Institute for Transport Studies: L3Pilot Driving Automation project”. Natasha talks about transnational collaboration and open research with driving automation projects funded by the EU. She also discusses some of funding fears/challenges presented by Brexit.  

Institute for Transport Studies:  

Case study with Morgan Campbell on “Participatory Research in Transport Studies”. Morgan discusses her experiences with open research, particularly participatory research. She draws attention to two projects she has worked on: one on female bus conductors in India, and an ongoing one about inclusive public spaces.  

School of Food Science & Nutrition:  

Case study with Anwesha Sarkar on “Open Research in Food Science & Nutrition: The LubSat project” . Anwesha talks about her experiences in making data open and FAIR in food science, drawing attention to a recent project examining food lubricity. She also talks about open access and challenges she has encountered in making her data more accessible.  

Faculty of Medicine & Health

Institute of Health Sciences:  

Case study with Kelly Lloyd on “Open Research in the Health Sciences and ReproducibiliTea”. Kelly discusses her views and experiences with various open research practises throughout her PhD studies, including challenges in using preprints and making qualitative data open and FAIR. She also talks about her role with ReproducibiliTea, a journal club with branches across multiple UK institutions, where researchers come together to discuss various open research practises.  

School of Psychology:  

Case study with Emily Williams on “Open Research Practises in Psychology”. Emily talks about numerous practises in Psychology, including preprints, participatory research/citizen science, preregistration, open access, open and FAIR data, and open software and coding. She discusses her views and experiences, and the opportunities and challenges she has encountered as an early career researcher.  

School of Psychology:  

Case study with Madeleine Pownall on “Open Research in Psychology”. Madeleine talks about her views and experiences with key open research practises like open access, open and FAIR data, and preprints. She also talks about recent, ongoing projects she’s been working on with regard to open education in the undergraduate curriculum at Leeds.