OA in Sweden
The National Research Environment
Research Institutions in Sweden
There are currently 15 universities and 28 university colleges in Sweden. The majority are public institutions. They are organized on a voluntary basis under the Swedish 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 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 (U) or humanities and social sciences (HS) will have to parallel publish in an open access database within 12 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.
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 Horizon 2020 Programme.
There are also a number of public and private foundations funding R&D of which some actively promote Open Access. 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 EU FP7 best efforts rules.
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.
Open Access policies and mandates
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.
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. 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 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 2006-2016 KB coordinated and funded the OpenAccess.se programme. The strategic goal of the programme was to promote Open Access to the works produced by researchers, teachers and students. This was accomplished by supporting Open Access publishing - OA repositories and OA journals - at Swedish institutions of higher education. During these years the programme funded about 30 projects with focus 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
National Body for Coordinating Open Access in Sweden (2017-2019)
The Swedish Government’s direction for the next ten-year research policy, as set out in the Swedish Research Bill 2016, includes the goal that scientific publications which are the result of publicly funded research should be made immediately open access on publication.
In the Research Bill Knowledge in Collaboration the Government states that open access to research results contributes to maintaining and furthering excellence in research. Open access to research output can advance science by making it possible for more researchers to validate and build on previous work. Further, that open access plays an important role in society at large and that research and innovation to a large extent is carried out within industry and in the business and public sectors. All stakeholders have a common responsibility in fulfilling this objective. The Government states that clear incentives and mechanisms are needed in order to encourage researchers to publish their research output immediately open access.
At the beginning of 2017 the National Library of Sweden received an appropriation directive from the Swedish Government to act as a national coordinating body in the work towards a transition to open access to scholarly publications. On implementation of the Government Directive, the National Library of Sweden intends to continue its collaboration with national and international stakeholders.
In the Swedish Research Council’s report Proposal for National Guidelines for Open Access to Scientific Information (2015), a number of obstacles to a transition to an open access publishing system were identified. On the basis of this report the National Library of Sweden initiates and coordinates the following studies concerning:
- The current merit and resource allocation system versus incentives for open access
- Funding for a transition from a subscription-based to an open access publishing system
- Open access to scholarly monographs
- Financial and technical support for converting peer-reviewed and scholarly journals from toll access to open access
- Monitoring of compliance with open access policies and mandates
Representatives from all main stakeholders with a key role in the national transition to an open access publishing system will participate in one working group for each study. This includes HEI’s, research funders and researchers. The studies will result in further recommendations to the Government on how to nationally solve the identified obstacles. The work will be coordinated and facilitated by the National Library of Sweden.
- OpenAccess.se: www.openaccess.se
- Open Access.se, web pages in English: www.kb.se/OpenAccess_english
- The Swedish Research Council Open Access information
- SwePub, search service run by the National Library of Sweden: swepub.kb.se
- The DiVA consortium repository search service: www.diva-portal.org
Contributors Contact Details
E-mail: beate.eellend [at] kb.se