Developing an open research ecosystem

Dr Melodee Beals
Social Sciences and Humanities

Dr Melodee Beals is a champion of open research – making her own work widely accessible and supporting others to do the same.

Her approach encompasses publication, data packaging, dissemination of methodologies, and open source platforms.

She uses Gold Open Access and preprint repositories to share her work as well as her own website, generating conversations with scholars – and invitations to speak – worldwide.

Her research data are freely available and – working with the University’s Data Repository – she has created extensive documentation to ensure they are meaningful to others and robust enough for computational analysis.

She has also worked to better document historical and digital humanities methodologies via her research blog, and has published extensive journal discussions of her computational methodologies.

Her endeavours to support others in developing a more open research portfolio are equally extensive.

Close up photograph of a boat crafted from newspaper

As History Editor for the Open Library of Humanities – alongside contributions to the University’s Open Access Working Group and Open Research Policy Group – she offers support to international and local scholars keen to adopt the open research ethos.

She led Ontologies – part of the ESRC-funded Oceanic Exchanges project (2017-19) – working with international libraries and archives to develop best practice for packaging and disseminating data.

Working across disciplines, she provides workshops on documenting methods through the Software Sustainability Institute, and has made the development of Open Methods central to her work with postgraduates, including delivering Python for the Humanities and Social Sciences training.

She is currently developing Nisaba, an open source database, which allows researchers – particularly those without a computational background – to document and package their datasets for easy dissemination alongside their publications.

With 89% of her research freely available online, she is among the top 1% of open access researchers worldwide.