Four Pillars of Open Science: Open Code

This is the last post in our four-part blog series exploring Open Science; this week we focus on open code. You can still read the other blogs in this series on Open Access, Open Peer Review and Open Data. You can also sign up to email alerts to make sure you don’t miss out on any upcoming posts.

Open code and open source

The issues of open code and open source are being debated worldwide in a range of different contexts. In academic publishing, data and software are not shared as much as in other environments but this is starting to change, and the Open Science movement has had a huge impact on this.

In some sectors, open code and open source are more established; this government technology blog discusses the benefits of making all code open.

This article from the University of Chicago (published in 2015, though still highly relevant) discusses open source, how it works, and how academia can benefit from starting to adopt sharing models used in other sectors. It derives insight from a talk by GitHub’s Arfon Smith who worked for GitHub at the time, and is a co-founder of Zooniverse- a crowd sourced, open research platform.. Smith argues that open code shouldn’t just be reserved for software; science can benefit too. In his talk he acknowledges that services such as FigShare ,and The Dataverse Project have already begun to change the culture around sharing of data and code, though a much bigger shift is needed. Smith comments that "the whole point of doing research and sharing our work is to explain what you did so that others can repeat, with the idea being that everybody learns," and that "open source does this much, much better.”

FOSSASIA is an organisation developing Open Source Software, Open Hardware, and Open Knowledge in Asia; you can find out more about their mission and projects on their website.

4open's policy

4open’s policy on open code states that: “4open authors are invited to make [their code] publicly available in order to make the research methodology explicit and allow for the replication of processes in subsequent exploratory research”.

To find out more about 4open’s policies in all areas of Open Science, visit the instructions for authors page.

Upcoming Events

Want to learn more about Open Science? Why not attend these events?

Open Research Data is the key topic of Open Science Days 2017, 16-17 October

FORCE2017: Research Communications and E-Scholarship Conference, 25-27 October – transparency in research workflows discussed in this year's conference.

Useful Resources and Information on Open Science


FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research) is an e-learning platform collating the best training resources in Open Science (see above).

FOSTER Plus (Fostering the practical implementation of Open Science in Horizon 2020 and beyond) is a 2-year, EU-funded project. It has an aim of contributing a real and lasting shift in the behaviour of European researchers, ensuring that Open Science becomes the norm.


OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) is an association representing the interests of Open Access publishers globally. Every year OASPA holds a conference (COASP) bringing together key figures in the Open Access publishing community.