23 February 2010
The National Research Environment
The scientific institutions in Latvia have complex structure. The Ministry of Education and Science (hereinafter “Ministry”) is the leading state administration institution in the field of education and science, and is responsible for the development of draft legislative acts regulating the relevant fields and draft policy planning documents. The Ministry also supervises the implementation of the policy in state administration institutions, in agencies that the Ministry oversees and capital companies, where the Ministry is a shareholder (institutions subordinated to the Ministry). The ministry is responsible also for the research funding and managing of national and international research programmes.
In Latvia there are 6 state universities and many different state and private higher education institutions.
There are different types of scientific institutions that are engaged in research in Latvia - state scientific institutes, state and private higher education institutions, independent scientific institutes that are formally integrated into structures of the universities and research structural units of business enterprises. In Latvia there are about 130 research institutions.
Some scientific institutes in Latvia are recognized internationally and their research results have a high impact on international research - The Institute of Solid State Physics of the University of Latvia, The Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Latvia, The Institute of Physics of the University of Latvia, The Institute of Materials and Structures of the Riga Technical University etc., the number of their scientific publications is comparable with the average number of scientific publications of research institutions of USA.
The Institute of Organic Synthesis of Latvia and Latvian BioMedical Research and Study Centre are significant research institutions that are well known by the number of their inventions, which are patented abroad.
Other important research centres include the Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy of the University of Latvia, Latvian State Institute of Wood Chemistry etc.
Major research funders
Funding for scientific work in Latvia is mainly granted on competitive results and bases. This kind of system was formed by Latvian Council of Science in 1990.
At the end of 1991 the first governmental department responsible for science and research was established. The Latvian Academy of Sciences was re-organized into an association of prominent scientists in 1992.
Since 2007 comprehensive system of research funding has been in place in Latvia. It encompasses state and higher education institutions’ financing for state research programs, institutional funding, funding from EU and other foreign countries (EU structural funds, framework programs), and grants and financing from various foundations, funds and enterprises.
However in 2008 and 2009, state funding for science was substantially reduced, and funding of private sector decreased as well. The funding was reduced because of the impact of economic crisis. Regardless reduced funding, in November 2010 Latvia has set a quantitative target to increase investment in research and development funding for 1,5% of Latvian gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.
The research funders in Latvia have no definite policy on Open Access, but in order to gain more visibility of their work and to have more impact on international research some scientific institutions and researchers publish in open access journals and repositories.
EC research funding
Latvian scientists are successfully participating in EC funded research framework programmes and receiving funding support from the structural funds.
Latvian scientists have participated and received funding already in FP5 (1999-2002), submitting 640 different research projects. During the FP5 233 projects (30%) was approved and received funding from EC. However during FP6 (2002-2006) there were 1027 different projects submitted and 245 (21%) were supported. In the period of FP7 (2007-2011) up to November 2011 there were 813 projects submitted from which 181 projects (22%) received funding from EC. 15 of supported projects in the period of FP7 had coordinators from scientific institution in Latvia.
Open Access and Repositories
Open Access projects and initiatives
Even before participation in different OA projects, University of Latvia (LU), the State agency "Culture information systems" (KIS), and eIFL.net understood the importance of OA resources and organised seminar The Open Access: Maximising Research Quality and Impact, which took place at the University of Latvia on October 22, 2009.
In the last two years there were taken several important steps for the development of Open Access movement in Latvia. There are established two institutional repositories; researchers in Latvia were kept regularly informed about Open Access benefits, possibilities and activities in Latvia.
The Library of the University of Latvia celebrates annually international Open Access Week by organizing discussions, meetings, presentations, workshops on various Open Access initiatives and by spreading promotional materials to other academic institutions. The Library participated also in eifl-OA project “Information about Open Access movement and resources in the University of Latvia” in 2011.
On March 2012 the Library of the University of Latvia organised special week that promoted the repository of e-resources of the University to academic staff of the university and all higher education institutions in Latvia.
Many researchers in Latvia publish their papers in Open Access journals and deposit their papers in subject repositories because they recognize that their studies will be accessible to a larger audience than by publishing in conventional journals. Scientists from Latvia are publishing individually in subject repositories such as PubMed Central, ArXiv, Cogprints etc. and in Open Access journals. The publications can be accessed through DOAJ, Open J-Gate, PLoS etc.
Researchers from University of Latvia and Riga Technical University can deposit their publications in institutional repositories and also the publications of the University, such as Scientific papers and periodical editions, can be accessible in the repository of the University of Latvia.
Dissertations and theses (full texts and their summaries) defended at the University of Latvia since 2006 are made available in the database Theses of the University of Latvia, which was created using ILS Aleph made by ExLibris. The data in this database is organized in 21 MARC format. The Library is also digitising theses and dissertations, defended before 2006 and is depositing them and publications of the staff of the Library in the repository of e-resources of the University.
Open Access repositories
In the last year through active Open Access promotion, there were established two institutional repositories in Latvia - e-resources repository of the University of Latvia and Riga Technical University Repository. The University of Latvia manages also SciRePrints (Science and Religion Dialogue Prints) repository. All three repositories are registered in ROAR and OpenDOAR.
However Riga Technical University repository is not fully open access, except of The Scientific Journal of Riga Technical University, other scientific articles published by the university staff can be accessed only with passwords given by the university. Full texts on the e-resources repository of the University of Latvia are freely accessible for everyone.
As the University of Latvia is one of the first higher education institutions and scientific research institution in Latvia that has made its repository, university provides all interest with consultations and information.
Open Access publishing
There are 2 open access journals listed in DOAJ:
Latvian Journal of Physics and Technical Sciences
Subject: General and Civil Engineering
Start year: 2008
Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Section B: Natural, Exact and Applied Sciences
Subject: Biology --- Mathematics
Start year: 2008
Open Access organisations and groups
The Library of the University of Latvia after taking part in the OpenAIRE project has started to promote and support the Open Access movement in Latvia. The Library has also started to distribute information about Open Access to the academic and research community and became the main information centre and leader in promoting and support of Open Access initiatives in Latvia, encouraging other academic institutions to participate in Open Access activities. The Library and Riga Technical University started to discuss together the main questions about the development of their institutional repositories, depositing and copyright policy and further dissemination of Open Access initiatives.
Contact details of the National Open Access Desk
The Library of the University of Latvia
Department of the Information and Bibliography
The Library of the University of Latvia