Open Access – free accessibility to research findings

Researchers financed by the Swedish Research Council must publish with open access, which means that anyone using the Internet can freely read and download the research results. Researchers can archive previously published articles in openly searchable databases, or they can publish directly in Web-based journals that practice open access.

Researchers receiving grants from the Swedish Research Council must either publish their results in Web-based journals that allow open access, or they must archive the article in an openly searchable database immediately after, or within at least 6 months, of its publication in a traditional journal. Researchers with grants in educational sciences (ES) or humanities and social sciences (HS) will have to parallel publish in an open access database within twelve months.

In reports submitted to the Swedish Research Council on research it is funding, as of 2015 the Council will only accept articles published with open access.

Researchers paying the publisher for APC costs (Author Processing Charges/Article Processing Charges) must from 2017 publish with a so-called CC-BY-licence, which enables the re-use and new use of the materials that the research findings were based on, as well as so-called text and data mining.

Read about CC-BY hereexternal link, opens in new window

Publication in monographs and book chapters exempted

Currently, the open access rules apply only to peer reviewed manuscripts in journals and conference reports, not to monographs and book chapters. The Swedish Research Council plans to extend the requirement for open-access publishing to include books as well. We will return to this issue later.

The Swedish Research Council would like to encourage and inform about the opportunity to publish books open access. On the right you will find a link to a Swedish national consortium, Kriterium, which assists researchers and publishers with both the peer review and open access publication of academic books.

Why has the Swedish Research Council established requirements for open access publication?

Several studies have now shown that research published as open access is spread faster and cited more often. This is one reason why increasingly more research funding organisations have open access requirements. Another reason is that research results can contribute to development in society when also distributed to other groups. Many professions currently lack the opportunity to partake of articles that have a direct bearing on their occupational activities.

The rules of Horizon 2020 stipulate that everyone who receives a research grant must publish their research articles open access. The researcher must deposit a copy of the peer-reviewed publication in a repository no later than the day of publication. It shall then be made available through open access within six months (twelve months in the case of social sciences and humanities). Science Europe is an association for the member states' research funding organisations and research performing organisations. Science Europe stipulates in its Position Statementexternal link, opens in new window that the member states shall support a transition to open access.

The Swedish Research Council, together with research funding organisations in other countries, pursues a development towards open access by establishing rules for research grant recipients. Active research funding organisations in the international arena include, for example, the following: the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Welcome Trust, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

The Swedish Research Council´s position on open access has been developed in collaboration with the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) and the National Library of Sweden, who is responsible for the programme (see link to the right).

If you have any questions

Most Swedish universities and colleges maintain repositories and have personnel who can provide practical help and advice.

Contact your institution for information on how open access publication is handled at your particular university or college (Swedish)external link, opens in new window

If you have questions of a more fundamental nature, please feel free to get in touch with the Swedish Research Council (see below for contact details).

National guidelines for open access to scientific information

In January 2015 the Swedish Research Council submitted a proposal for national guidelines for open access to scientific information. The proposal was the result of a government mandate assigned to the council with a basis in the work that has been conducted in the EU and the Commission's recommendations on open access.

Read more about the Swedish Research Council's proposal for national guidelines for open accessexternal link


Lisbeth Söderqvist, Senior Analyst, Dept. of Research Policy

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Updated: 2010-03-03