Open Research Template: a draft


1) Rationale of the assignment


Rationale for commissioning an “open research paper” on [insert title of the project]. A paper based on open research is  free to the  public. The research project has “open and accessible content” and anyone can participate as editor, writer, researcher etc. The arrangement to invite a carefully selected expert (‘the Consultant’) who has the crucial role to guide and coordinate the open research on (title to be inserted) is necessary to ensure that the work reflects the latest developments, research and  practice in this area of inquiry and that there is fact checking and accountability. Rationale for commissioning the consultant  to coordinate and follow an open research project on (topic to be inserted).



  Short bio of the Consultant

2) Scope of Work:

The paper is an open content project which will be developed in an online open space, easy to be accessed by everybody. The work will be developed in a collaborative platform and released in an editable format; not only can the material be edited,  but also the edits of  the contributors can be tracked and attributed. The work should outline the necessary steps needed in order to produce a new piece of research on (title to be inserted). 

The paper needs to summarize the key issues, review the latest related research results and provide examples and  recommendations for practical solutions. The research paper should offer a new angle on the topic and not merely be a reproduction of previous publications.

    Open content paper


Find below key components that a research project needs to have in order to be an open content project:

  • Online open space:
    •  Create an online central platform ease and fast to access by members who want to contribute to the work, to check it current status and to quickly go through all support materials 
  • Role of contributors/members:
    • Participation must be a low-entry-barrier. Common accounts that people already possess (such as facebook, wikipedia, github etc.) should be used to access the work platform or to create a new account by only requesting the users email:a. Members should be able to suggest connections with other members;

      b. They should be able to create both public and private discussion groups around the topic.

    • The work platform needs to be customizable and easy to manage. Furthermore, it should give the opportunity to be visible to anyone, even to non-members who should be able to make contributions by a few mouse clicks.
    • Rewarding members for online contributions should stimulate users’ involvements.
    •  All contributors need to be aware that their work is automatically released under that same creative commons license of the work. 
  • The Research project should have the following components:
    • Transparency:- From the beginning the work should be released in an editable format under a creative commons license. In particular: 

      a.  Releasing the work from the beginning. That means associated materials (edits, comments, thoughts, notes, etc.) need to  be editable and there will be the possibility to insert disclaimers of “working progress” at the top.b. There is no need to announce the release of the work except in weekly summaries.

      c. An editable-friendly format is necessary. No files will be accepted which cannot be edited and modified by the community (no pdfs and similar). The key is to be as open and as user-friendly as possible. Users should be able to edit not just the material, but also comment on each other’s edits as well.

      d. The license of the work should be under a creative commons license. This should be applicable for the final paper as well. One example is the CC-BY-SA license. The key is to avoid the “noncommercial” and “no derivatives” restrictions, which are the non-open creative commons license variants. In this context, all users should be aware that their contributions are automatically released under that same license.


  • Regular updates of the work progress are necessary. In particular, a weekly summary is required in order to define where the project stands (possible summary formats are blog post, webex etc.). However, this summary process depends on the length of the project; for some projects it may make sense to cycle more or less frequent.

3) Style and presentation

The process of the work as well as its final product is licensed under the following creative commons license: CC-BY-SA  license.  The research paper needs to navigate through the literature and debates of (insert main topic of the paper). The paper should refer to the latest research results, debate and offer a new view. It needs to be written for an audience that has some knowledge of the topic but is not an expert in the particular area. Therefore, the paper needs to use lively and engaging language, free of discipline-specific jargon. Key terms should be clearly defined.

 4) Responsibilities:

The Consultant is required to:

  • Assure that the work is consistent in style and content.  
  • Follow the members in the online platform in order to monitor the progress and ensure that UNICEF principles and standards are reflected.
  • Carry out the final edits, proceed with the fact-checking and make sure that the work is accurate, true, and that there is no intention of plagiarism and “spot- data”, in order to avoid that users promote themselves rather than provide real contribution to the project.
  • Organize and/or facilitate weekly updates of the project in order to monitor the progress made and redirect the discussion or contributions in case the focus of the work has shifted. Propose a visible and clear date and time update and announcement to members and non-members.
  • Stimulate engagement and contribution by bringing people to the open work platform, through email, conferences, tweets/dents, blogs and individual conversation. Personal conversations are necessary only if it will help to bring people into the public and collaborative space of the work. The main goal is make the work platform appealing to new users. 
  •  Responsibility of the consultant visa-vi UNICEF 

    a. Submit an outline of the paper to UNICEF by (date to be inserted). A skeleton outline with headings and subheadings is sufficient. b. Submit to UNICEF a first draft of the paper by (date to be inserted).

    c. Ensure that the research quality adheres to the highest scholarly standards and only up-to-date, reputable sources are cited.

    d. Ensure that the developed content of the paper is original. Put a reference (using footnote or similar) when information from other sources are used.

    e. Be responsible for answering any questions on the progress and development of the work project.

    f. Submit the final paper in a professional form, substantively and stylistically ready for publication.

    g. Communicate with UNICEF in advance (i.e. minimum one working week) if there are any foreseeable delays in finalizing the paper on time.

    h. Make sure that all sources of the final work use full footnotes and a bibliography. Where appropriate, weblinks to sources cited should be provided to enable fact-checking.


  • Tangible and measurable outputs/deliverables of work assignment:  (e.g. end products) 

    a.  professional draft paper will be delivered to UNICEF on timeb. The research content of the paper will be original, evidence-based and up-to-date

    c. All sources used in the paper will be properly referenced with footnotes

    d. All drafts will be submitted electronically, unless otherwise stated

    e. The final draft will be of professional quality (i.e. publishable format)

    f. This work will be licensed under the following creative commons license: CC-BY-SA license.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with “required.”