Case Studies Appeal

Appeal for case studies of projects using Open Data or open research outputs for commercial use, public good, and private projects.



This is an appeal by The University of Edinburgh, to participate in a survey, to create case studies of open research outputs being used commercially, for public good, and for private projects.

We are particularly looking for case studies from industry to demonstrate how open research outputs produced by the Higher Education sector, including Open Access publications, open journal articles, open data sets, open source software, etc., can be used in successful commercial projects.


Why are you doing this research?

The University of Edinburgh is creating a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), to improve research and technology transfer from universities to the commercial sector and the general public. The aim is to encourage innovation and improve Scotland’s competitiveness across a range of sectors, as well as to increase use by the public for personal, cultural or societal output.

To date, more than 2 million people have signed up to Edinburgh MOOC courses across a broad range of subject areas, and they form part of the University’s commitment to knowledge exchange and community outreach.


What are open research outputs? 

Open research outputs are a product of publicly funded Higher Education research, and  are generally published through repositories, portals and other channels.  These outputs are open to the public and are free for them to use under a range of open licences. Much like open source software, individuals or businesses can use these research outputs to create services and products that they can sell on to paying clients. However, open research outputs are not limited to the Digital Technology sector, but are produced across a broad range of sectors, and include cultural and societal output too.


How can I help?

Please fill in this short survey and tell us about your project

These are the questions

  • How would you describe your business or project?
  • How would you describe your sector or area of interest?
  • Why did you use open research outputs?
  • How did you find the open research outputs you needed?
  • How did you use open research outputs in your project?
  • Please give your contact details and confirm that you are happy to be contacted to create a case study for the proposed MOOC.


We are on a tight deadline, so please respond by 1/3/2017

Click here to complete the survey


Does this cover my sector?

We are interested in services and products created for commercial use, private use, public good and are particularly looking for B2B & B2C projects creating services and products in:

·       Food & Drink (including agriculture & fisheries)
·       Creative Industries (including digital)
·       Sustainable Tourism.
·       Energy (including renewables)
·       Financial & Business Services.
·       Life Sciences.
·       Charity & 3rd Sector
·       Personal/ Individual project
·       Other


What will you do with the information I submit?

If published your case study will be featured in the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) we are designing for The University of Edinburgh. To date, more than 2 million people have signed up to Edinburgh courses across a broad range of subject areas, and they form part of the University’s commitment to knowledge exchange and community outreach. We expect this to be useful promotion for everyone taking part.

We will contact you to get some more detailed information about the project, invite you to be interviewed for the MOOC (audio or video) and may ask you to demonstrate how you accessed the research you used.  We are on a very tight timescale and will only follow up on case studies that are a good fit with the course, and also help us to get the breadth we want in terms of sector and use of information.

Any information you submit will be available to the project team who will review it and decide whether it is suitable for the MOOC we are designing. Your information will be kept private, and will not be shared with anyone outside of our project team until we have contacted you to confirm that we can use it.

All materials will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to remove access and reuse barriers, so that the full benefits of this initiative can be realized throughout Scotland and beyond.


Still not sure what open research outputs are?

Here is an example of how a 16 year old, Jack Andraka, used open research outputs to develop a breakthrough pancreatic cancer diagnostic using carbon nanotubes: []


Project Details & Background

Free and open access to the outputs of publicly‐funded research provides important social and economic benefits as well being in line with the Government’s commitment to transparency and open data, and contributing to the more global open movement more generally.

Since the publication of the Finch report on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings and the Research Councils policy on open access, universities across the UK have increasingly made the outputs of their publicly funded research freely and openly available through open access journals and repositories.


Open access makes research outputs freely accessible to all. It allows research to be disseminated quickly and widely, the research process to operate more efficiently, and increased use and understanding of research by business, government, charities and the wider public. (HEFCE,

However it is not always easy for the general public, entrepreneurs and small to medium enterprises to know how to access these outputs even though they are freely and openly available.

In order to address this issue, the University of Edinburgh is developing a short self paced learning MOOC aimed at the general public, private researchers, entrepreneurs and small to medium enterprises to provide guidance on how to access open research outputs including Open Access scholarly works and open research data sets, in order to foster technology transfer and innovation. The course will focus on developing digital and data literacy skills and search strategies to find and access open research outputs. The MOOC will also feature a series of case studies based on individuals and SMEs that have made successful use of the University of Edinburgh’s world class research outputs. This course will also benefit the sector more widely by providing guidance on how to access UK HE research outputs and consolidate UoE’s reputation as a world leader in open research and education.


Click here to complete the survey


This project is generously funded by grants from Gavin McLaughlin, CIO, through the IS Innovation Fund, and Hugh Edmiston, Head of Corporate Services Group.  The project is being steered by Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal Online Learning.  The project manager is Lorna Campbell, OER Liaison, LTW and the project consultant is Morna Simpson.