Research on research driving practical solutions to make research better (part 2)

This is Part 2 of our short series sharing what the RoRI consortium is working on and teasers of what you can expect over the coming months.

Read about our projects on research funding allocation in Part 1 and sign up to our newsletter to keep up-to-date with all the latest news. 

Below, we share how three more of our projects are progressing.

1) PATHWAYS: What are research careers like for different people?

We need a diverse research workforce to ensure that research is done that benefits everyone, but there’s a lot we don’t understand about career pathways in and through research. The PATHWAYS project aims to find, and understand, the many gaps we have in research career data

two-day conference, attracting over 250 participants, kicked off our exploration and concluded that career pathway data in the research sector is patchy, interoperable and rarely longitudinal.    

As our understanding grows of what’s missing and what the sector needs, we’ll be in a better position to encourage funders to work together to improve data collection strategies that help careers become more diverse, reliable and equitable. 

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a RoRI partner, is leading more work with NBER to dig deeper. Join us at the next conference exploring investments in early career scientists (5 November)

2) FAIRware: How can we make sure as much research data as possible is FAIR?

Making data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) maximises the value of research and helps to ensure that data are replicable and trustworthy. 

Our FAIRware project is on track to design and develop an automated online tool that helps researchers to produce FAIR datasets at the point of creation.

We’re delighted that the Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research has joined the project, bringing their expertise in systems and software design as well as researcher consultation. We’re currently recruiting a number of research groups to act as testers and early adopters of the tool. 

While the final tool won’t be ready for launch until later in 2022, we’ll be sharing regular updates on progress as we go including metadata templates and articles. First up will be a report on the challenges inherent to FAIR evaluation, so watch this space.

3) PEER REVIEW: How is peer review changing and what does it mean for the future of research publishing?

For more than 250 years, the world of academic research has used a system of peer review for judging whether research is fit to be published, but times are changing fast. 

In light of COVID-19, our PEER REVIEW project is identifying and evaluating current innovations – such as rapid reviewer pools, transferable peer review and using preprints and social media – as new approaches to quality assurance. 

Working closely with publishers and platforms, we ran a survey to uncover examples of innovation and are finalising an inventory of experiments exploring new ways of reviewing research. 

Look out for our report on scholarly communication in times of crisis which will present key findings and recommendations, along with our evaluation of the C19 Rapid Review Initiative and Wellcome’s statement of data sharing in public health emergencies

Work with us

As we enter our next phase, we’re on the lookout for more project opportunities and partners to join us. If you are interested in becoming a RoRI partner, please contact James Wilsdon, Director of RoRI on

Be the first to get your hands on our findings, tools and reports by signing up to the RoRI newsletter