Research on research is often poorly joined-up. We want to change that.
We believe more effort is needed to develop theoretical frameworks, standardize methods, strengthen networks, and test the transferability of approaches from one context to others.
Worldwide, interest is intensifying in how research is funded, practiced and evaluated, and in how research cultures and systems can be made more efficient, open, inclusive and impactful. But research on research (RoR) - also called science of science, or meta-research - is often poorly joined-up.

Over the next decade, policymakers, funders, universities, publishers and researchers themselves are likely to require greater RoR capacity to navigate continued expansion of the research enterprise, accompanied by greater emphasis on interdisciplinarity, mission and challenge-directed research; open scholarship and open data; collaboration and team science; and creative solutions to the linked imperatives of diversity, inclusion, integrity and reproducibility.

To strengthen this field, Wellcome Trust, Digital Science and the Universities of Sheffield and Leiden have joined forces to establish the Research on Research Institute (RoRI), and to build an international consortium of funders, academics and technologists committed to transformative & translational RoR.

RoRI launched on 30 September 2019, and will be based for an initial two-year incubation phase at Wellcome's offices in London.

RoRI's 5 objectives will be
Research role
To support, expand and build capacity for interdisciplinary, mixed-method RoR in and across research systems worldwide
Translation role
To connect academic RoR capabilities to the data and analytical resources of Wellcome, Digital Science and our other strategic partners
Innovation role
With our partners, to experiment, coproduce and test new tools, indicators, funding modes and evaluation frameworks
Brokerage role
To critically evaluate RoR methods and support engagement with RoR data and evidence by decision makers and wider society
Facilitator role
To create an independent space for RoR learning, networking and collaboration between researchers, policymakers, funders & technologists

RoRI's activities will include
Partnership projects
Our consortium will identify and codesign flagship projects that RoRI will undertake on an annual basis. The project portfolio will evolve in light of capacity and partner priorities.
Partners Lab
A crucial means of undertaking these projects will be our Partners Lab. This will include a secure data platform, hosted and managed by Wellcome as a neutral convenor and broker. This will provide a trusted space, where funders and academic research institutions can securely share data, policies and practices for primary research and experimentation. It will operate under the following principles:

  • Research, tools and platforms will be produced for non-commercial use
  • Data-sharing, use and privacy will adhere to legal and ethical standards. Sensitive and confidential data will be protected
  • Research methodologies and research findings will be made open
  • New tools developed within the Partners Lab environment will be made open source
  • Participants will demonstrate inclusive practice through collaboration and research
    Biennial meeting
    Following our initial launch in September 2019, we will host a follow-up meeting in 2021, bringing together RoRI partners with research groups, funders, technology providers and policymakers, to discuss ongoing projects, exchange ideas and forge collaborations.
    Seminars and webinars
    We will host a rolling programme of research seminars, which will be live-webcast and archived on our site. These will profile and debate emerging work being undertaken by the RoRI team and other researchers and funders in the field.
    Reports and working papers
    RoRI will regularly publish reports, working papers and thinkpieces to share project findings and work in progress.
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