Annex 2. Membership: Joining and Leaving the GRN

Members are accepted into the GRN by the Steering Group, which meets at least four times per year. Acceptance of new members requires a simple majority relative to all current members of the Steering Group (e.g., at least six votes if the Steering Group has 10 members). Individual persons cannot be direct members of the GRN. Individuals interested in supporting the GRN's mission are encouraged to join or even establish a Reproducibility Initiative, or to join the Steering Group. Stakeholders (e.g., funders, publishers) are institutions that fund, publish, or in other ways support research. They cannot be direct members of the GRN, but are encouraged to join the Stakeholder Engagement Group (comprising full and affiliate stakeholders). Members of the Advisory Board are not direct members of the GRN. They are appointed by the Steering Group.

All GRN members (Reproducibility Initiatives, Research Institutions, Academic Societies, members of the Steering Group) can be excluded from the GRN when they (a) engage in behavior that is contrary to the aims of the GRN or (b) violate the terms of reference. Exclusion of members requires a simple majority relative to all current members of the Steering Group (analogous to the regulations for accepting new members into the GRN). Members of the GRN can leave the GRN by submitting an informal statement to the Steering Group via the respective Speaker, Coordinator or Representative.

How can Reproducibility Initiatives join the GRN?

Reproducibility Initiatives comprise at least two members and designate a Reproducibility Initiatives Speaker. The Reproducibility Initiative Speaker is the point of contact with GRN and represents the Reproducibility Initiative with the consent of the individual members.

Reproducibility Initiatives can join the GRN by submitting an informal written membership application to the Steering Group in which they

  • identify the Reproducibility Initiative Speaker (name, affiliation, email address),

  • briefly outline the mission of the Reproducibility Initiative,

  • describe how they plan to promote the goals of the GRN

  • disclose the current number of active members, as well as

  • give a short overview of planned activities in the next 6 months (e.g., Reproducibility Initiative meetings planned, trainings planned, etc.).

To change the Initiative Speaker, the incumbent Initiative Speaker informs the Steering Group of their successor (name, affiliation, email address).

Reproducibility Initiatives can leave the GRN by submitting an informal statement to the Steering Group via the Initiative Speaker.

How can research Research Institutions join the GRN?

Institutional members of the GRN are universities, sub-units of universities (e.g., Fakultäten, Fachbereiche, Institute), research units (e.g., Exzellenzcluster), extra-universitary research institutes (e.g., Max-Planck-, Helmholtz-, or Leibniz-Institutes), as well as other non-commercial institutions that have research as their primary objective, that are considered a part of the German scientific system. While sub-units of research institutions are welcome as members if the entire institution does not intend to join the GRN, the GRN will strive to avoid multiple institutional memberships from the same institution.

The primary criterion for institutional membership is that the institution (a) commits to the above-stated goals of the GRN (see Mission Statement) and documents this in the form of a research improvement strategy (see below), and (b) creates a senior academic role with responsibility for promoting quality, robustness and transparency of research, i.e., the Academic Coordinator of that Institution. The Academic Coordinator is commissioned to foster the adoption of open research practices in line with the goals of the GRN. The Academic Coordinator should report to the appropriate governing body responsible for research matters (e.g., the Vice President of Research for a University, the Dean of Research for a Fakultät, or the Director of a Max Planck Institute). Importantly, the position of the Academic Coordinator should be structured in such a way as to enable the role holder to provide critical input to the senior management team of the Institution or Institution's unit on these issues, and therefore should be independent from other responsibilities that may conflict with this. The Academic Coordinator should have an appropriate level of support from the Institution, which minimally should reflect in the amount of time he or she can devote to this task. For a medium-sized University, we expect that this role will require a minimum commitment of 1 day per week (and equivalent exemption from other duties like teaching or administration). For an extra-universitary research institution, sub-units of universities (e.g., Fakultät) or research centers, we propose a commitment of half a day per week.

We expect that Research Institutions seeking membership of GRN will want (a) to develop capacity to deliver a research improvement strategy (including the establishment of the Academic Coordinator, see above, as well as planned collaboration and support of a Reproducibility Initiative, if present) and (b) to work with the GRN to develop a strategy for ensuring the sustainability of the Network in the medium- and long-term (i.e., to contribute to building a community of institutions focused on research improvement and to support the development of the GRN). When applying for membership, the Institution should document how it plans to achieve these goals in a sustainable manner and describe the conditions under which the Academic Coordinator can take up its role at the Institution. The GRN encourages Institutions interested in joining the GRN to consult with members of the Steering Group, if interested, for example to discuss possible ways of working towards the GRN's goals. Upon acceptance, the Institution (represented by its Academic Coordinator) and the Steering Group of the GRN will jointly develop a memorandum of understanding (based on the application documents), which shall be signed by the Institution's Academic Coordinator, the responsible senior manager of that institution (e.g., the Vice President for Research), and a representative of the Steering Group. This memorandum of understanding shall be renewed every five years.

How can Academic Societies join the GRN?

Academic Societies are associations devoted to the advancement of science in their respective disciplines. When interested in joining the GRN, these societies should either already have started activities that support the improvement of quality, robustness and transparency of research or document a serious interest in starting this process. Interested societies should name one member, preferentially either a member of its steering committee or a member who directly reports to the Steering Group, as a point of contact for the GRN (the Academic Society Coordinator for Research Improvement). The society should apply for membership by describing their current strategy for improving research reproducibility, and how it plans to support the aims of the GRN. Upon acceptance, the Academic Society (represented by its Contact Person) and the Steering Group of the GRN will jointly develop a memorandum of understanding (based on the application documents), which shall be signed by the Academic Society Coordinator for Research Improvement, the Society's president or her/his representative, and a representative of the Steering Group. This memorandum of understanding shall be renewed every five years.

How can Stakeholders join the Engagement Group of the GRN?

Stakeholders cannot become direct members of the GRN, but interact with the GRN via the Stakeholder Engagement Group (see Annex 6 for more details). The GRN Steering Group will actively approach potential Stakeholders, but Stakeholders interested in joining the Stakeholder Engagement Group are also encouraged to actively approach the GRN Steering Group. The Stakeholder should make explicit how they will support the GRN (financially and/or in kind; see Annex 6), appoint a Contact Person for GRN, and jointly with the GRN's Steering Group develop a memorandum of understanding documenting the Stakeholder's support for the GRN. This memorandum shall be signed by the Stakeholder's Contact Person, if necessary an authorized member of the Stakeholder's management team, and a representative of the Steering Group, and shall be renewed every five years.