Open Access in Sweden

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The National Research Environment

Research Institutions in Sweden

There are currently 15 universities and 26 university colleges in Sweden. The majority are public institutions. They are organized on a voluntary basis under the Association of Higher Education (SUHF), which has no legal status but is acknowledged as the representative of universities and university colleges as a sector. The SUHF signed the Berlin Declaration in 2004 and has made recommendations supporting Open Access to its members.

The business sector is the main source of Swedish R&D financing, accounting for about three-quarters of the total spending. Public funds for R&D are distributed either directly to higher education institutions (HEI's), or through research councils or sectoral authorities. Research institutes account for a small share of publicly funded research compared to other nations.

Major research funders and Open Access mandates

The Swedish Research Council (SRC) is the major research council, with a focus on basic research but also active in research information and research infrastructure. The SRC signed the Berlin Declaration in 2005 and adopted an OA mandate starting from 2010: "Researchers who receive funding from the Swedish Research Council must archive their articles in open databases within 6 months of publication, or publish directly in Web-based journals that use Open Access."

In a clarification of its rules late in 2010 the SRC said that in cases where a journal do not allow for self-archiving within 6 months the researcher should ask for an addendum to the publication agreement using a model letter provided by National Library of Sweden through the programme If the publisher does not accept the addendum the researcher should look for an alternative journal. Only in exceptional cases can the SRC allow an embargo up till 12 months, in which case the researcher has to provide documentation of efforts made to meet the 6 month requirement.

There are a number of sectoral government research agencies. Of these, Formas - the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning - adopted an OA mandate in 2010 with the same content as the SRC mandate. During 2011 also the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research adopted an OA mandate with the same content as the SRC mandate. Others have not yet adopted any OA mandates. VINNOVA, the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems, is the second largest government agency funding R&D and is responsible for the Swedish participation in the EU Framework Programme.

There are also a number of public and private foundations funding R&D of which some actively promote Open Access. The Knowledge Foundation has co-funded the Swedish programme for a period and is now represented in the Steering Committee.

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) is promoting and supporting research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. It decided to implement an OA mandate starting in 2010. This OA mandate is similar to the others in demanding that research publications should be made available as Open Access within 6 months of publication, but it also allows for exceptions in a model similar to FP7 best efforts rules and the SRC clarification (above).  The RJ also adds a standard allowance of 30 000 SEK (approx. € 3000) per project to support Open Access publishing, both in journals and in the form of monographs.

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation from the autumn of 2010 has included an Open Access mandate in it grant policies. This private foundation is an important funder for research, research networks and equipment in the technical, natural sciences and biomedical fields. In 2011 also The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies adopted an OA mandate.

Funding from the 7th EU Framework Programme accounts for about 25 per cent of the funding of the main Swedish government funding agencies. Researchers from HEI's constitute 54 per cent of Swedish participation in the FP7, those from business about 25 per cent. The areas that attract the largest numbers of Swedish participants are ICT and Health.

Open Access and Repositories

Open Access policies and mandates

During the last five years a number of influential bodies within the Swedish research community have taken a generally positive stand on Open Access. Following the SUHF and the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Royal Academy of the Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities have also signed the Berlin Declaration. There are now six Swedish research funding agencies that have adopted OA mandates.

In 2011 there were 12 Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) had Open Access policies with recommendations that researchers should make their works open access. This includes major universities like Lund University, Stockholm University, Karolinska Institutet and KTH Royal Institute of Technology.  Four HEI's have mandatory Open Access policies also covering journal articles. These are Blekinge Institute of Technology (2007), Chalmers University of Technology (2010), Malmö University (2010) and Umeå University (2012). Another 12 have mandates for publishing e-theses and reports.

Open Access repositories in Sweden

The development of e-publishing within Swedish higher education started on a small scale during the 1990's and gathered momentum in 2000-2003. At present almost all universities and major university colleges have Open Access repositories. The present number of repositories is 36. Available full-text contents include doctoral and licentiate theses, journal articles, conference papers, reports, books and book chapters. Most of this content can be found in the SwePub search service run by the National Library of Sweden.

The majority of Swedish repositories are members of a consortium based on DiVA, a publishing platform developed and run by Uppsala University. Others have implemented open source software like DSpace or created their own publishing platforms. Today most higher education institutions (HEI's) have integrated their Open Access repositories with their publication databases. These are supposed to include meta-data from all the academic publications of the institution and have been created to meet the needs of research evaluation and visibility.

The SUHF and its working group for library directors, have been active in promoting Open Access among member institutions, but it has no mandate to make decisions on their behalf.

The number of Swedish Open Access journals is growing, today (July 2012) there are 56 Swedish OA journals available in Directory of Open Access Journals.

Open Access projects and initiatives

The National Library of Sweden (KB) combines the traditional mission of a national library with that of a coordinating national research library authority. It has supported the development of repositories and promoted Open Access for a number of years. In 2010 it adopted an in-house Open Access policy.

From 2006 KB coordinates and funds the programme. The strategic goal of the programme is to promote Open Access to the works produced by researchers, teachers and students. This is accomplished  by supporting Open Access publishing - OA repositories and OA journals - at Swedish institutions of higher education. The programme is run by the National Library in partnership with the Association of Swedish Higher Education, the Swedish Research Council, the Royal Swedish Academy of the Sciences, the Swedish Knowledge Foundation and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

The programme was implemented during 2006-2009 and then evaluated by international experts in 2009. It has now been transformed into a permanent programme addressing OA policy issues, development of infrastructure/user services and information to researchers. The programme has so far funded about 30 projects, details of which can be found at the programme website. Their focus has been to promote:

  • the growth of the volume and diversity of material in OA repositories
  • access to and use of content in OA repositories and OA journals
  • publishing in OA journals and the migration of Swedish scientific journals to an OA model

Useful links

Contributors Contact Details

Ulf Kronman
E-mail: ulf.kronman [at]
Phone: +46107093632