This is the current state of our Terms of Reference, which we consider a living document. Please be aware that it is subject to changes as our organization evolves. The initiating members will be temporarily steering the network until a governing structure has been established.
To promote and enable rigorous, robust and transparent research practices in Norway.
The Norwegian Reproducibility Network (NORRN1) is a peer-led network that aims to promote and enable rigorous, robust and transparent research practices in Norway by establishing appropriate training activities, designing, and evaluating research improvement efforts, disseminating best practices, and working with stakeholders to ensure coordination of efforts across the sector. NORRN’s activities span multiple levels, including researchers, librarians, institutions, and other stakeholders (e.g., funders and public authorities). NORRN originated from activities seeking to understand the factors that contribute to poor research reproducibility and replicability, and to promote possible approaches to counter these and improve the quality and robustness of the research we produce. These issues affect all research disciplines, so NORRN aims for broad interdisciplinary representation and an open interdisciplinary dialogue. NORRN’s position is that ongoing discussions and awareness of these issues represent an opportunity to improve our research by reforming culture and practice.
The focus of NORRN is on rigor, robustness and transparency of research practices and results. Reproducibility is a basic requirement for robust research results and as such NORRN shares some of its goals with Open Science standards. However, the goals of NORRN are broader than openness and transparency since they include raising the awareness of issues in reproducibility, and to stimulate discussions on integrity and rigor, validity and replicability, efficiency and quality, robustness, and generalizability.
Currently, NORRN, in its emerging state, consists of five initiating members. Once the network is established, the NORRN structure will consist of (and are subject to change): i) a Steering Group, ii) Local Nodes (led by Local Node Leaders at Member Institutions), and iii) a Stakeholders Engagement Group.
The Steering Group, which will consist of at least three people, will be responsible for the overall coordination of NORRN activity and strategy. A potential part-time administrator might support it in the future as NORRN coordinator (assuming funds for an administrator position can be secured).
The Steering Group will be advised by an external Advisory Board comprising (senior) academics from the international research community with expertise related to the goals of the network.
Local Nodes will provide a mechanism through which the aims of the NORRN can be promoted within that institution (e.g., by establishing open research working groups, running training workshops, advocating for the wider adoption of best practices within the institution, etc.). A Local Node Leader will provide the point of contact for NORRN and will represent a grass-roots network of researchers at that institution. It is intended that these Local Nodes will grow, both in number and size, over time, as researchers elect to participate in NORRN activities. Local Nodes will be self-organizing, but we will encourage them to ensure their membership is open to academic and research staff (at all levels) and professional services staff, including librarians and any research support staff. Institutions will be able to join the NORRN if the senior management formally commits to supporting the aims of the network and identifies a responsible contact person from senior research staff leading their implementation at the institution.
Stakeholders who support NORRN will form the Stakeholder Engagement Group. This will ensure that NORRN activity is aligned with the strategy and activity of the stakeholders and allows the exchange of ideas. In addition, the relationship between the Stakeholder Engagement Group and the NORRN will provide stakeholders with a mechanism for obtaining feedback on new initiatives from the research community.
The Steering Group will meet approximately once every quarter in person or virtually to discuss new / emerging evidence, training etc. of relevance to NORRN, feedback from Local Nodes, and input from stakeholders and institutions. In an annual meeting including Local Node Leaders and members, representatives of institutions and stakeholders as well as advisory board members progress of NORRN activities will be reviewed, and strategy and direction agreed upon. Specific projects for future work will be identified through this process, both within the NORRN, and between the NORRN and the individual stakeholders.
The Steering Group will report to the Local Node Leaders, Institutions and to the Stakeholder Engagement Group, by means of an annual report in preparation of the annual meeting. NORRN Local Node Leaders will work with and through the Steering Group. Individual members will report to their Local Node Leaders, and Local Nodes will be responsible for their internal governance (which may vary depending on the size of the Local Node, geographical distribution of the institution, etc.). The Steering Group and the Local Node Leaders will operate with the consent of the individual members. Institutional senior management will be expected to work in partnership with Local Nodes, to ensure coordination of activity and that any local initiatives are developed with the input of Local Node Leaders and members.
NORRN plans to coordinate activity across Local Nodes in its three focus areas:
1. Education: design and establish appropriate training activities (e.g., delivery of short courses to early career researchers, conception of basic training modules for Bachelor and Master students, preparation of online materials; coordination of virtual seminars and journals clubs),
2. Communication: dissemination of new evidence, propagation of best practices, and promotion of a culture change,
3. Transformation: design and evaluation of research improvement measures and policy in collaboration with stakeholders.
Information about the Network is presented on the NORRN website at , including links to resources (e.g., training materials), and information about joining the Network. NORRN will provide a regular newsletter on relevant events, activities, as well as newly emerging evidence. It will also be active on social media with the goal of networking and engagement within the scientific community and the general public.
The focus of NORRN is on improving research practice in Norway, a goal that cannot be achieved in isolation but requires international outreach and collaboration with those organizations in other countries who share our objectives such as the growing number of Reproducibility Networks in other countries worldwide.
A NORRN Local Node at an individual Norwegian research institution consists of an informal group of researchers potentially from a diverse set of disciplines and from all career stages interested in issues related to rigorous and transparent research practices. This can include facilitating communication on reproducibility-related issues between teams within the institution, andlinking the institution to the wider NORRN community, partly through engagement in NORRN activities and partly through communication with the NORRN Steering Group. The role of the NORRN Local Node Leader is to initially build or to continue to promote such Local Nodes. This should be motivated towards improving reproducibility and open researchwithin their institution. In order to achieve this, they should have a good level of understanding (or a willingness to learn) about the institution’s processes and how various teams within the institution work and interact. Where an institution is a formal member of NORRN, the Local Node Leader will work closely with the responsible persons in the management structure. As the structure and function of different Local Nodes is likely to differ considerably between institutions, activities performed by the Local Node Leader will be context dependent.
However, specific responsibilities may include:
● Disseminating information from NORRN on events, new initiatives, etc.
● Gathering information and views from Local Node members to feedback to NORRN
● Sending regular updates to the NORRN coordinator with any news from the Local Node
● Initiating or coordinating initiatives within the institution to promote reproducibility
● Initiating or coordinating a Reproducibility Journal Club (e.g. https://reproducibilitea.org/)
● Initiating or coordinating an open research group
● Initiating or coordinating peer groups for mutual grant or ethics proposal review
● Communicating regularly with other NORRN representatives and local leads to share knowledge on what works/doesn’t work at other NORRN-affiliated institutions
● Maintaining dialogue with other key groups within their institution that may promote Open Research (e.g., Library Services, Research Governance Teams, Data Repository Teams etc.)
Membership in NORRN is open to any Local Nodes at individual Norwegian research institutions with a purpose in alignment with the NORRN aims. A Local Node Leader represents them within NORRN. NORRN will complement the activities of the Local Nodes and stakeholders and allow greater coordination of activity across these. For each Local Node, this will provide peer support from colleagues across a community who are engaged with efforts to improve the quality of Norwegian research, allow benefiting from synergies across Norway, and ensure that we retain our international competitiveness.
The primary criterion is that the institution's executive board or senior management formally commits to supporting the aims of the network, agrees with the Terms of Reference herein, identifies a responsible person in the management structure leading their implementation at the institution, e.g., through training programs at all levels. We expect that institutions wishing to join NORRN will want to develop capacity to deliver a research improvement strategy, and to work with NORRN to develop a strategy for ensuring the sustainability of the Network in the mid- and long-term, and to build a community of institutions focused on research improvement.
Potential stakeholders include funders (both governmental and charity) and non-profit organizations that are part of the academic environment. To join the Stakeholder Engagement Group an organization has to provide direct financial support or support in kind to NORRN and is required to agree to our mission and values.