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Slovenia: open science in the new Scientific Research and Innovation Activities Act


A new Scientific Research and Innovation Activities Act came into force in Slovenia with the beginning of 2022, which also contains provisions regarding open science. The latter is mentioned in Articles 2(6), 12(2) - items 2 and 9, 16, 20, and 31. Articles 40-42 are completely dedicated to open science.

The Act was drafted with high support of stakeholders and brings many important solutions. It will enable the development of high-quality and globally comparable scientific research, improve funding and integration into the EU and global research.

Open science is considered as one of the aspects of scientific research (Article 16).

According to the Act's general principles, scientific research must comply with principles of open science, in particular (Article 2):
- Open access to all research results;
- The use of responsible metrics for evaluation of scientific research;
- Involvement of the interested public in the research process (i.e., citizen science).

Funding will be available for implementation of open science principles (Articles 12 and 20).

During institutional self-evaluation of research, open science practices also need to be assessed. Assessment of researchers, research organizations and research projects must stimulate open science practices (Articles 31(1) and 40(2)).

Article 41 stipulates that in the case of research, co-funded with public funding of at least 50%, the research funding organization must require, and the research performing organization must provide open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications, research data and other research results. The research performing organization and researchers must manage intellectual property rights, i. e., retain sufficient rights in order to be able to comply with the Act's open access provisions.

Furthermore, Article 41 requires that research data from publicly co-funded research must be open and accessible, subject to the limitations imposed by the protection of intellectual property rights and personal data protection as well as security of individuals or the state. Open research data must be publicly available in a FAIR way, i. e. Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

Also in Article 41 it is determined that personal data from research, co-funded by public funding, may be re-used for research purposes comparable to the original research purposes or other research purposes in accordance with personal data protection regulation. Additionally, in this Article, the Act specifies more details regarding processing of personal data as research data.

Article 42 requires that scientific journals of Slovenian publishers, based in the Republic of Slovenia and abroad, containing peer-reviewed articles and receiving 100% public funding, must ensure open access. Public funding of scientific monographs is carried out under conditions that open access is enabled to the fulltext at publication and copyright managed with open access licenses.

Slovenia's Scientific Research and Innovation Strategy 2030, to which the Act refers to (e.g., in Article 40(1)), is being discussed in the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, adoption is expected soon. An action plan with open science measures is being prepared. In 2022, Slovenia plans to start several activities to upgrade the existing national open science ecosystem within the Recovery and Resilience Plan, i.e., to upgrade the backbone network of research performing organisations, establish research data repositories, and adapt public research performing organizations to function according to the principles of open science.

Ivan Skubic, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport

Mojca Kotar, University of Ljubljana 

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