National Open Access Desk


    According to an analysis of the Scopus database conducted by the European Commission, Switzerland holds the top rank with 39% OA publications (gold and green).

    The academic research institutions of Switzerland receive much of their financial support either from the respective cantons and/or from the federal Swiss government (State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation - SERI). As a result of these federal dependencies, national policies and guidelines have not been implemented in the past. However, this will change in the near future as a result of the national Open Access strategy and an action plan adopted in 2017.

    Support and landscape

    National initiatives

    • Open Access in Swiss Law

      The University of Zurich commissioned an expert opinion on Open Access in Swiss law. The focus of interest is on questions of law related to what are known as repositories, i.e. internet servers that serve to make scientific publications available. In particular, the question arises of the extent to which publications that have already been published by scientific publishers are permitted to be deposited in repositories.
      The expert opinion can be downloaded in English, French & German here. Answers to FAQs based on the expert opinion can be found here.
      The results of the expert opinion are particulary useful to authors who have not concluded an agreement on copyright with their publisher upon publishing their work. In this case, according to Swiss Code of Obligations, Art. 382, Par. 3, authors are allowed by law to deposit journal articles, book chapters or conference papers on repositories three months after these works have been published in full. Provided the author has no other copyright agreement with the publisher, this paragraph applies also in the case of foreign publishers if the author’s place of residence and the repository are in Switzerland.

      Research Data Management

      In 2008 a national study, commissioned by the Swiss universities through their academic libraries, was published entitled: "Development of a model for a central long-term preservation of digital primary and secondary research data" (German/French). The results included a design with two models for a centrally managed long-term preservation of digital primary and secondary data for Swiss universities, the Swiss research centres and university libraries. Based on these models a survey was conducted in 2010 directly addressing heads of institutes of all Swiss universities. The survey clearly demonstrated the need for a better infrastructure for research data. But it also showed a great variety about the level these issues have to be addressed. While some prefer a national or institutional solution, others are more interested in an international subject specific solution. Due to this unclear situation further investigations towards a national approach for management and preservation of research data did not continue. Rather, some Swiss research institutions such as the ETH Zurich conducted individual projects regarding research data management and preservation.
      The situation changed in 2014 with the development of the SUC P-2 “Scientific information: access, processing and safeguarding”. It is the second of ten ongoing funding programs operated by the Swiss University Conference (SUC, now swissuniversities). The program’s objective is to combine and develop the universities’ currently separate efforts to provide and process scientific information. The aim is to establish a reorganized system by the year 2020 that will provide researchers, teachers and students with an extensive basic range of science-related digital content and the ideal tools for processing it.
      These services should be stable, flexible, competitive, and available on a national level. Through targeted funding, the program initiates and controls the development of this range of services and ensures their sustainable operation. The Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS, now siwssuniversities) has been tasked with carrying out the program.
      The Data Life-Cycle Management (DLCM) project was initiated in the P-2 framework in 2015. Following the whole data life-cycle, researchers are being confronted with a rapidly increasing amount of data. Moreover, new directives in research data management were introduced by funding agencies and publishers. The project involved eight partner institutions that combined their efforts to provide services and support for data management planning, analysis and long-term preservation storage for the whole Swiss research community.
      Several projects concerning research data infrastructure are currently conducted by collaborating HEIs under the auspices of the swissuniversities P-5 “Scientific information” program (successor of the SUC P-2 program): https://www.swissuniversities.ch/en/organisation/projects-and-programmes/p-5/

  • To be updated soon.

    OpenAIRE statistics

    1226284 OA publications in 289 repositories
  • National policy

    In a letter dated 4 December 2015, the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (hereinafter SERI) commissioned swissuniversities (the association of Swiss Higher Education Institutions) to elaborate, with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), a national strategy for Open Access to publications (hereinafter OA). This national OA strategy was formulated by a representative working group led by swissuniversities and was adopted by the plenary assembly of swissuniversities on 31 January 2017.

    The Open Access Strategy contains the vision that all publicly funded publications must be freely accessible until 2024. In general, it is desirable that all scientific publications in Switzerland should be available for Open Access by 2024. This vision is based on the current European models. In order to implement this vision, various fields of action have been defined with the aim of reconciling Open Access practices in Switzerland, strengthening negotiations with publishers and the incentives for researchers, as well as examining new types of publications and platforms.
    In February 2018, the Plenary Assembly of swissuniversities approved this action plan and the University Council of the Swiss University Conference approved it.
    Implementation will now begin under the coordination of swissuniversities, taking into account the autonomy of the universities. The national Open Access Strategy serves as a fundamental instrument for managing the transformation process and optimising the use of resources.

    Institutional policy

    Besides the SNSF, several Swiss academic research institutions have installed Open Access mandates concerning scholarly publications by their researchers. These institutional policies can be viewed in the Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies (ROARMAP).

    Funder policy

    The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is Switzerland's leading provider of scientific research funding. With its federal mandate, it supports basic research in all disciplines, from philosophy and biology to nanoscience and medicine.

    The SNSF (also co-signatory of the Berlin Declaration in 2006) requires grantees to provide open access to research results obtained with the help of SNSF grants (Article 44 Funding Regulations). As of 1 October 2013, researchers receiving SNSF funding can cover the costs of publishing articles in pure OA journals via the project budget.
    As of July 2014 the SNSF is expanding its OA policy to include monographs and editions. This corresponds to the rules applying to the publication of journal articles.
    As of October 2017 the SNSF introduced an Open Research Data policy in its project funding scheme. Researchers have to include a data management plan (DMP) in their funding application and the SNSF expects that data generated by funded projects will be publicly accessible in digital databases provided there are no legal, ethical, copyright or other issues.
    Among other public research funders of Switzerland, the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW) supports the implementation of Open Access. The SAGW calls upon its member societies to obtain the necessary rights for their authors from the publishers. Several SAGW-sponsored journals are freely available.

    The SNSF supports the principles of "Plan S". However, due to its own Open Access (OA-2020) policy, the SNSF is currently not in a position to sign "Plan S". According to a SNSF spokesman, this circumstance will be re-evaluated in 2020.

  • Key networks and aggregators

    Data repositories

    National repositories in Re3Data: https://www.re3data.org/search?query=&countries[]=CHE


    National publishing initiatives


    National agreements with publishers

    National agreements concerning Open Access are only partly in place in Switzerland. To achieve this vision of the national Open Access strategy, swissuniversities and higher education institutions, research institutions, research funders and science policy-makers agreed to start negotiations with publishers as part of the National Open Access Strategy.

    Negotiations should comprise a variety of models such as Green OA clauses in licences, memberships with Open Access publishers and offsetting agreements including big deals with OA components. An exit option should be in place in case the negotiations fail. Although offsetting agreements strengthen the position of existing large publishers by extending their role into the world of OA, the agreements are deemed a necessary transitional measure.

    To lead these negotiations an existing and experienced body such as the CSAL (Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries) has to be complemented by leaders from higher education institutions provided with the necessary resources and political support.

    OA books

    Book publications co-financed by the SNSF must be made accessible in a disciplinary or institutional repository after an embargo period of no more than 24 months. The SNSF will contribute lump sums towards the production costs of a digital book publication. A maximum grant of CHF 10,000 can be requested for a basic digital OA publication. For a more elaborate digital OA publication (enriched e-book) a maximum of CHF 20,000 can be requested. These lump sums also cover editorial costs amounting to a maximum of CHF 3,000.

    In doing so, the SNSF is matching the current funding policies of other European research funders. For further information see: SNSF Open Access Policy

  • The DLCM project offers training expertise and contact points across Switzerland in research data management: https://www.dlcm.ch/services/dlcm-training



    See also Monitor Statistics of Switzerland - SNSF

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