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On behalf of our members, we oversee the delivery, from concept, through research to peer-review and publication, of high-quality reports on varied topics every year – and have done so since UKWIR was formed in 1993.
Our research covers a broad spectrum of topics crucial to the UK and Irish water industries, helping improve services to their customers, economies, and the environments they support.
Our work helps to protect and improve drinking water quality, assess how we can prevent “forever chemicals” entering water courses, ensure bills are affordable and investment delivers better value for customers and the environment.
We’re also enabling better ways of planning for and securing the water we need in the future, reducing the use of combined sewer overflows and helping the industry move to operational net zero carbon emissions.
Historically, our research has been made freely available to our members. However, crucial stakeholders including the sector’s supply chain, and interested environmentalists, academics, and engineers, have been asked to pay to read them.
This can create a barrier – and it can send the wrong signal. That our research is ours and ours alone, despite already sharing a great deal of it.
Open sharing of data and information plays a significant part in driving collaborative research, innovation and learning across sectors. It can also help build bridges to new organisations, instigate new partnerships, and spark new ideas.
Our stakeholders and members have said they want us to do more to facilitate this – and I wholeheartedly agree.
We want to break down barriers and open access to our research and hope this will help catalyse the collaborative energy flowing through the sector – bringing new voices and ideas in to refresh and challenge our thinking.
Which is why, by spring 2022, most of our reports will become open access. This means they will be free to access and free to use for all.
This is a really important decision for us as it removes constraints around our research and, crucially, helps enable two-way dialogue with the voices we, as a sector, need to hear from.
We’ve been working behind the scenes on our report library to enable this shift, as well as combing through our extensive back catalogue to make sure our reports are ready.
By the end of spring this year, we will have completed this change and, over the following year, we’ll maintain this momentum, finding new ways to share our work with more and more people and bringing fresh perspectives into the sector.
We’ll keep our members and stakeholders up to date on our progress and confirm more details – including when the switch will take place – as soon as we can.