Last updated on 
Mar 22, 2022

National Open Access Desk

National and University Library of Iceland

  • Overview

    The Berlin Declaration on open access was signed in 2010 by the Science and Technology Policy Council of Iceland, in 2012 by the National and University Library of Iceland and in 2016 by the University of Iceland.

    The Government of Iceland signed a joint declaration of intent with the OECD nations regarding OA in 2004. In 2012, an amendment to an earlier Act (nr. 2/2003) was passed in Iceland (no. 149/2912( regarding support for the publication of scientific material in OA. „The results of research funded by grants from funds covered by this Act shall be published in open access and be available to all unless otherwise agreed. In all their writings on the results of research, grant recipients must mention the role of the funds in the project in question."

    The state's responsibility for science, innovation and research lies with four ministries. Scientific matters fall under the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, in particular in the field of basic research, public support for scientific activities and international co-operation on science. The Science and Technology Policy Council falls under the Prime Minister's Office. The Ministry of Industry and Innovation covers, among other things, technical research and innovation as well as state support for research, development work and innovation in industries, as well as research on the marine and river ecosystem. The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for environmental and energy research, and research in the field of health is in the hands of the Ministry of Health.

    The Science and Technology Policy Council formulates public policy in science and technology in Iceland. Its role is to strengthen scientific research, scientific education and technological development in the country to strengthen the foundations of Icelandic culture and increase the competitiveness of the economy. 

    The Prime Minister is the chairman of the council, which also includes the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Minister of Industry and Innovation. The chairman appoints two members to the council, in addition to which 14 representatives are nominated to the council by ministries, universities and labour market partners. The chairman of the council may also appoint up to four ministers to sit on the council.

    The Council sets the government's policy on science and technology for three years at a time. The Council's discussion in each field is prepared by the Council's working committees, the Scientific Committee and the Technical Committee. The council meets four times a year. It operates according to Act no. 2/2003 which states the following: "The results of research funded by grants from funds covered by this Act shall be published in open access and be available to all unless otherwise agreed. Beneficiaries shall, in all their writings on the results of research, mention the role of the funds in the project in question. "

    All information regarding open access in Iceland can be found on, which is maintained by the National and University Library of Iceland.

    Support and Landscape

    National Initiatives

    The university libraries in Iceland and the Landspitali Health Sciences Library have supported the development of repositories and promoted Open Access for a number of years. An informal group from these libraries and universities has worked on OA for a few years, focusing on addressing OA policy issues, developing the infrastructure/user services and informing researchers. The group has published articles about OA both in Icelandic journals and SciCom info. It has organized and hosted conferences and workshops. 

    The group launched the website which is now hosted and maintained by the National and University Library of Iceland. The steering committee for the Iceland Consortium for National access to academic and scholarly content has also followed closely international developments in OA in order to incorporate OA clauses in its licences in the future.


  • Open Science Policy

    National Policy

    A task force of the Minister of Education, Science and Culture on open science was established at the end of 2018. The group consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the National and University Library of Iceland, Landspítali University Hospital, RANNIS (The Icelandic Centre for Research) and the University of Iceland.The group's assessment at the start was that there was a lack of open access to research results and the group's first step was to prepare a draft of such a policy. The draft policy was published in the Government's consultation portal in March 2020. As of today, (January ´22), we are still waiting for the final policy but are confident that it will emerge during 2022.

    In the Action plan for the Science and Technology Policy Council in 2020-2022 there is the following Action nr. 6:

    Open access to data
    There has been a strong emphasis in Iceland's neighboring countries on increasing the societal benefits of public investment in data by opening up access to it. Among other things, there has been an increasing demand for open access to data generated through public competition funds.

    Open access to research data:
    The action involves working to open access to public data from universities, research institutes and data generated by grants from public competition funds in the field of research and innovation, as long as it does not conflict with privacy considerations and exclusive rights. Consideration will be given to the fact that research data will not be made public until after a certain time, in order to enable scientists to publish their results first. The obstacles to open access and the costs involved in opening access and the implementation of an action plan for implementation will be analyzed.

    Responsibility: Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Schedule: The proposals were to be made available by 2021 but have been delayed.

    Funder policy

    The Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS) supports research, innovation, education and culture in Iceland. RANNIS cooperates closely with the Science and Technology Policy Council and provides professional assistance in the preparation and implementation of the national science and technology policy.

    RANNIS administers competitive funds in the fields of research, innovation, education and culture, as well as strategic research programmes. It coordinates and promotes Icelandic participation in European programmes such, as  Horizon 2020,  Erasmus+ and  Creative Europe.

    RANNIS issued an open access policy in 2003 with later amendments. Researchers who receive funding shall make their research finding available either through publishing in OA journals or depositing a pos-print version in repositories. For more, please click here.

    Institutional Policy

    • Three universities already have their policies on open access in place: The University of Iceland (2014), Reykjavik University (2014) and Bifröst University (2011). RANNIS – The Icelandic Centre of Research has also made their policy in accordance with Act no. 2/2003 and an amendment of it no. 149/2012. See their policy and ROARMAP link. The results of research funded from funds managed by Rannís shall be published in open access.

      The four institutes mentioned above all have their policies registered in ROARMAP.

    • The National and University Library of Iceland approved their OA policy in 2016 and the Árni Magnússon Institue for Icelandic Studies updated their initial policy version in 2020 from an earlier version (2016).

      More on the universities and their policies:

      • The University of Iceland issued a policy in February 2014. Their staff is encouraged to publish articles in open access outlets, such as OA journals, archives, preprint databases etc.  For more information please click here. See also ROARMap link.

      • Reykjavik University issued a policy in November 2014 where academic employees are encouraged to publish scholarly articles in open access and thus make them accessible free of charge and free of licencing restrictions. For more information click here. See also ROARMAP link.

      • Bifröst University issued an open access policy in May 2011 where academic staff is encouraged to publish in open access either by means of open-access journals or open-access archives. The National and University Library of Iceland issued a policy on open access and open science in November 2016.  See also ROARMap link.
  • Infrastructure & EOSC

    Key networks & Aggregators

    The following Icelandic repositories are registered with OpenDOAR:

    • Opin vísindi, the joint repository for all universities in Iceland was opened in September 2016.
      The scientific publications are openly available (Open Access) under article 10 from the Act on public support for research / 2003 No 3. Opin Vísindi aims to increase the usage, publicity, and impact of scholarly research produced at Icelandic universities and to further promote scientific research in Iceland. OpenDOAR link.

    • Hirsla repository, the repository of the Landspitali University Hospital was established in 2006. Hirsla is the digital repository for research and scholarly publications of the Landspitali University Hospital faculty and staff. Hirsla also indexes all research articles in Icelandic health sciences journals and provides open access to these articles. OpenDOAR link.

    • Skemman is a joint digital repository for all the Icelandic universities which stores student theses from the universities. OpenDOAR link.

    The Icelandic Research Information System IRIS (based on Pure from Elsevier) will be ready during 2022.

    Data repositories

    Two Icelandic databases are registered with Re3Data:

    • DATICE - Data services for the social sciences in Iceland and
    • CLARIN-IS for Icelandic language resources.

    National publishing initiatives

    National agreements with publishers

    The Iceland Consortium (IC) has made one transformational agreement with the publisher Karger.

    The agreement guarantees national access to all of Karger's electronic journals from 1998. Researchers in Iceland can publish scientific articles in Karger's journals in open access without paying any publication fees, and the number of articles to be published is unlimited.

    The Iceland Consortium (IC) was started in 1999 . Current licenses include e-journals, databases, citations databases and encyclopedias. In addition there is a licence for the Icelandic newspaper Morgunbladid, with a three year embargo.

    OA books

  • Training & Support

  • Statistics

    View Statistics in the country page of Open Science Observatory

  • News

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