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At its heart, research on research is about ensuring that we have the evidence we need to realise the full potential of research.
Research on research (RoR) — known in different contexts as meta-research, meta-science, or the science of science — draws on a rich blend of old and new disciplinary and methodological approaches to test, evaluate and experiment with different aspects of research systems, cultures and decision-making.
It aims to ensure that R&D resources are invested wisely and effectively: that priorities are identified, funding is allocated, results are disseminated and outcomes are measured in ways that are rigorous, transparent, fair and informed by evidence of what works.
At its heart, research on research is about ensuring that we have the evidence we need to realise the full potential of research. It’s about using a mix of methods to test interventions and to generate and analyse data about the inner workings of the research system, and the impacts that research has in and on society.
Large amounts of time, effort and money that are spent on research could be wasted if research systems aren’t as efficient, impactful and fair as they could be.
Over the past decade, engagement with Research on Research (RoR) has intensified. Policymakers want to make use of these methods to ensure the effective design and operation of R&D systems. Funders are keen to better understand the impacts of their investments and to experiment with novel approaches to allocation and evaluation.
Publishers are looking to anticipate and influence further shifts in scholarly communication and models of peer review. Researchers themselves are increasingly producing and using evidence to inform and influence improvements within the institutions and cultures they work in.
Recognising the need for greater capacity and connectivity across RoR, Wellcome Trust, Digital Science, and the universities of Leiden and Sheffield joined forces to launch the Research on Research Institute (RoRI) in 2019.
RoRI was founded in 2019 by a group of researchers, funders and data providers with a mission to accelerate transformative research on research systems, cultures and decision-making.
RoRI translates ideas and evidence into practical, real-world solutions. We gather evidence and data, undertake experiments and develop tools to improve how research is funded, practised, communicated and evaluated.
Through five objectives, we are building a community of people who want to change research for the better: