Last updated on 
Mar 22, 2022

National Open Access Desk

  • Overview

    The Spanish National Open Access Policy is based on three pillars: the legal framework set by the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Act, the National Aggregator for Open Access contents RECOLECTA, and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) as the public institution that works in supporting the National Government in the design and in the implementation of the open access policy.

    The Act 14/2011, of June 1, on Science, Technology and Innovation, which urges researchers to deposit the final digital version of their contributions to journals in an open access repository.

    Article 37. Open access dissemination:

    1. Public workers of the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation System will drive forward the development of own or shared open access repositories for the publications of their researchers, and will establish systems allowing their connection to similar national or international initiatives.

    2. Researchers whose research is financed mostly with funds from the General Budget of the State will make public a digital final version of the contents that have been accepted for publication in research journals, as soon as possible and no later than twelve months after the official date of publication.

    3. The electronic version will be made public in open access repositories recognised in the field of knowledge of the research or in open access institutional repositories.

    4. The public electronic version may be used by public administrations in their assessment procedures.

    5. The Science and Innovation Ministry will facilitate centralized access to repositories and their connection to similar national or international initiatives.

    6. The above is understood without prejudice of the agreements by virtue of which rights over the publications have been conferred or transferred to third parties, and will not be applied when the rights over the results of research, development and innovation are liable to protection.

    The national calls for R&D projects carried out within the framework of the National Plans of Scientific, Technical and Innovation Research 2013-2016 and the Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2017-2020 (in Spanish) are based on this legal framework.

    The National Aggregator for Open Access contents RECOLECTA is the source of primary data to measure the degree of compliance with the national open access policy by researchers.

    FECYT is the public agent of the state public sector dependent on the Ministry of Science and Innovation, which supports it in the work of implementation of the national policy of open access and in the design of the national policy of open science.

    national overview

    Support and Landscape

    Since 2007, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, FECYT plays a key role as a service provider for the research community and as an implementation agency of many R&D public policies. FECYT is a key actor within the OA policy. It works to provide standardization and interoperability within the repositories and academic libraries community through the national OA harvester RECOLECTA. FECYT also provides support to researchers and research managers on how to comply with open science related mandates (both at the national and EU levels), actively promoting and providing training on open science to all stakeholders. Lastly, FECYT provides policy-makers, governmental agencies and funders with training and information services about public funded research outputs in open access, and gives both support and advice on open science policies.

    One of those activities is to hold the technical secretariat for expert groups on open science at the national level, gathering them to provide the required input on those matters to the RDI State Secretary. Also since June 2018, FECYT coordinates the INEOS pilot project “Infrastructures and Standards for Open Science” (Infraestructuras y Estándares para la Ciencia en Abierto), collaborating with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) to jointly develop infrastructures and standards to support Open Science at the National level. The main objectives are to improve the quality of research data in repositories, to connect publicly funded research results with data, and to increase visibility of researchers by integrating the public profile of their CVs in institutional platforms.

    Additionally, academic libraries and university programs are increasingly offering training in a full array of skills on open science and the reuse of research data. Courses, workshops, seminars are being provided by universities, research centres, libraries and research working groups.

    Besides OpenAIRE, there are other EU-funded projects with Spain participation providing training, support and outreach activities related to open science and, broadly speaking, promoting responsible research and innovation, as the project MedOANet (already finished), FOSTER (already finished), the ORION Open Science project or the EOSC Synergy project.

    national landscape

    National Initiatives

    Besides the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Act, the Royal Decree 99/2011, of 28 January, that regulates official PhD training programs, states that an electronic copy of every doctoral thesis approved in any Spanish university should be deposited into the corresponding open access institutional repository.

    To aid in the process of a correct implementation of both mandates, a remarkable initiative of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) was to create a working group of experts that worked in a set of recommendations for decision makers, universities and public research centres, researchers, and big deals scientific journals subscriptions on how to comply with the new obligations derived from OA policies.

    Following these recommendations, a Steering Committee was set to monitoring the level of compliance with the OA mandate at the state-level. This steering committee is coordinated by FECYT. Their first report, Steering Committee report on the compliance of Spanish Science Act mandate (2016) developed a first methodological approach as well as pointed out limitations on the identification of open access publicly funded research outputs. A second set of recommendations were published in 2017 Towards Open Access by default.

  • Open Science Policy

    National Policy

    The National Open Science policy is in the process of being designed. A National Open Science Committee of relevant stakeholders and key decision makers from the State Research Agency (AEI), the National academic evaluation agency (ANECA), the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Institute of Health Carlos III, the Alliance of excellence research institutions and research units (SOMMA), the association of Universities’ Rectors (CRUE) was set up in late 2018 by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). This Committee has been working during 2019 in laying the foundations for an adequate Open Science policy design and an optimal implementation. The Committee will continue its work during 2020 under the leadership of the Ministry for Science and Technology.

    national policy

    Funder policy

    As mentioned earlier, at the national level the policy framework is represented by the Science, Technology and Innovation Act 14/2011 released in 2011 (article 37 on “Open access dissemination”). This policy is implemented through the Spanish Strategy for Research Development and Innovation, the State Plans and the Action Plans derived from them. The national calls for R&D projects carried out within the framework of the State Plans of Scientific-Technical Research and Innovation (2013-20162017-2020) follow up the guidelines regarding open access stated by the national mandate. At the regional level, open access policies have also been developed by some funders, such as the governments of Madrid, Asturias or Catalonia, also in line with the national and EU mandates.

    It is stated that Spanish researchers funded by the State Plan for Scientific and Technological Research and Innovation should make public a copy of the final version of the accepted paper as soon as possible, and no later than 12 months after publication. Open Access copies must be available either through institutional or thematic repositories, and they should be taken into consideration within institutional evaluation practices. The State Plan encourages both green OA standard and gold OA standard. OA fees and costs (gold OA) are eligible for those R&D projects funded by the State Programme of Knowledge Promotion and Excellence and specific instruments within the State Programme of R&D addressing Societal Challenges.

    The level of compliance of the open access national mandate was measured at institutional level. An exhaustive work was carried out in 2016 using a preliminary methodology that raised several technical issues to be addressed. The recommendations derived from this work can be found in the following document Towards Open Access by Default.

    funder policy

    Institutional Policy

    An increasing number of research institutions are developing their own institutional policies to foster the adoption of open access practices, aligned with the State-level legislation and the EU mandate (Horizon 2020). Whether in the form of institutional declarations, recommendations or compulsory requirements, institutions are taking determined steps towards open access. Currently, following the information at ROARMAP, 44 institutions in Spain have already published any open access policy. Further information about Spanish institutional policies can be found at  RECOLECTA.

    The main research institution in Spain, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), includes as part of its strategy and action an open access mandate to publications and research data; in addition, open access is considered as one of the variables assess productivity of its research institutes (an English version of the document is also available). Universities and other research centres have open access policies that encourage or request open access to publications.

    Nevertheless, there are still differences in the implementation degree among universities and PROs. Despite the fact that in Spain the open access principles are widely accepted among all the relevant stakeholders, there is a high degree of decentralization and differentiation of decision-making agents to take into consideration when policies and mandates are being discussed.

    Follow the link for more information about the regional and universities institutional policies.

    The FECYT Strategic Plan 2019-2022 includes the specific strategic goal #4 aiming to consolidate access to scientific knowledge, which lists several activities to provide access to scientific information and transition to open access, promote the interoperability of digital information infrastructures, and to participate in the measurement of science and innovation.

    institutional policy

  • Infrastructure & EOSC

    Key networks & Aggregators

    In Spain there is an important set of infrastructures that allow researchers to archive their work in open access: institutional repositories, thematic repositories, research open journals and research open journals portals. Among these, institutional repositories play a central role for the proper implementation of the National OA public policy.

    RECOLECTA is an open platform based on DNet open source software that gathers all the national scientific repositories together in one place and guarantees that all OA repositories are interoperable among them. The services that RECOLECTA offers to National open access repositories are:

    • Validator: The RECOLECTA validator allows every repository to self-scan, as often as they like, their compliance level with national and international interoperability guidelines relating to metadata formats, as well as with OAI-PMH protocol operation. It also facilitates a clear identification of records with errors. Those repositories that do not comply with RECOLECTA-OpenAIRE interoperability guidelines are taken out of RECOLECTA. Thus, a common quality standard is guaranteed for the National open access repositories community.
    • Harvester: RECOLECTA harvests - on a weekly basis - metadata records of those scientific open access repositories that are compliant with the RECOLECTA-OpenAIRE interoperability guidelines and that request their inclusion in the RECOLECTA platform. For doing so, RECOLECTA uses the OAI-PMH address of their data provider.
    • Search engine: RECOLECTA provides direct and free access to the entire Spanish scientific production deposited in open repositories through a single interface.
    • Dissemination activities: News spread, organization of activities and helpdesk support through

    RECOLECTA plays a key role to allow a proper implementation of the national open access to science policy. It promotes and coordinates the national infrastructure of Open Access digital scientific repositories in an interoperable manner based on the standards adopted by the global community.

    The search interface of RECOLECTA provides access to more than 2M documents collected from the 142 data providers indexed in the platform.

    national infra

    Data repositories

    Some Spanish universities and research institutions are taking steps forward related to research data both developing policies and infrastructure, but also designing new services to support researchers and fostering capacity building on librarians.

    Particularly, Madroño is gathering their main services through their website InvestigaM, starting from the DMP tool Pagoda till their data repository e-Ciencia-datos. CSUC has also developed a tool to support the creation of DMPs Pla de Gestió de Dades de Recerca, besides a different set of guidelines to support researchers.

    The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) also provides data management services through Digital CSIC. At the moment there are 29 data repositories in Spain indexed at the database, and some universities and research centres are working to establish the best tools to manage and open up research data such as the INIA.

    Additionally, national and international research infrastructures based in Spain are collecting and archiving datasets; data processing centres, such as Barcelona Supercomputing Center, is already an international centre of reference providing services related to open science. In some cases, the centres are dealing successfully with the challenges of open science, such as the data protection issues at CRG-Center for Genomic Regulation, European Genome-Phenome Archive at the CRG.

    national data repos

    National publishing initiatives

    Unlike other important publishing markets in the world, the majority of the Spanish research journals are published by not-for-profit organizations (75%): Public Research Centres, Universities, Professional Associations and Research and Scholarly Associations. This fact has been a favourable factor for the open access publishing model in Spain. 

    Taking a look into some numbers, the DOAJ indexes about 510 open access Spanish journals, therefore, about the 5.4% of the total journals in the database (2017). With regards to self-archiving policies, most of the Spanish journals contained in the Dulcinea database (76.31%) allow this kind of activity to authors.

    At the moment FECYT is running projects aiming to enhance the quality of Spanish research journals and Spanish research collections, including criteria related to open access and publications ethics, distinguishing through a Seal of Quality those considered excellent. Currently, some of the Spanish agencies evaluating researchers’ activity are taking into account those Seals of Quality that include qualitative and quantitative indicators, that are not only based on impact indexes.

    On the other hand, FECYT Unit of Scientific Resources is in charge of the negotiation of big deals with international publishers on behalf of the Ministry. As stated in the ERA Spanish Roadmap, one of its objectives is “to participate in the re-organisation and coordination of subscription and open access models with the key resource and scientific information suppliers – publishers – at national level, and to define a financially sustainable model in the mid-term in close relationship with the Conference of Rectors of the Spanish Universities.”
    Despite being very recently tried, it was still not possible to raise a fruitful negotiation with publishers on open access due to the variety of factors and stakeholders involved.

    National agreements with publishers

    In December 2017, the Steering Committee set by FECYT to monitoring the level of compliance with the OA mandate at the state-level, published recommendations to universities, research centres and entities that subscribe access licenses to scientific journal for the full implementation of the national policy on open access:

    Some of those recommendations for deals include reducing journal costs:

    • The current resources set aside for subscription fees to journals and APCs should be enough to pay for scientific communication during the 21st century. Subscription renewals should not have annual increases higher than the national CPI. Increased contents or services should be covered with increased productivity deriving from ICT and not higher prices.
    • More than 10-year-old contents in journals should be considered paid off and deducted from the price, in exchange for a reasonable fee to access the publishing platform.
    • Licenses to access scientific contents should include open access publishing with no APCs for a certain number of articles.
    • Research performing organisations should not pay twice for subscription and APCs (double dipping), regardless of what institution has paid for the APCs of the article. All subscription agreements should specify the price reduction for open access articles funded by APCs paid by any institution worldwide.
    • When negotiating subscriptions, institutions should insist on the requirement to self-archive articles following the deadlines established in Article 37 of the Science Act.

    The Steering Committee also recommends that public expenditure on subscriptions to journals, either global or per institution, should be published following the example of countries such as The Netherlands or Finland. All institutions should establish mechanisms to get to know and publish the costs for Article Processing Charges.

    In Spain there are no National Licences on subscriptions to journals so far. Instead, there are 7 regional consortia that negotiate for their member institutions. In 2017, Spain tried to negotiate with Elsevier a National License for Science Direct, but it did not succeed.

    The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has signed a pilot transformative agreement for 2019-2020 with the Royal Society of Chemistry, the first of its kind among research and academic institutions in Spain.

    As committed in its ERA Roadmap, Spain will “participate in the re-organisation and coordination of subscription and open access models with the key resource and scientific information suppliers – publishers – at national level, and to define a financially sustainable model in the mid-term in close relationship with the Conference of Rectors of the Spanish Universities.” FECYT is working in negotiating transformative agreements with international publishers on behalf of the Ministry for Science and Innovation.

    OA books

  • Training & Support

    FECYT performs continuous educational activities and outreach for researchers, librarians, project managers, policy makers, etc. The offer includes expert training workshops, participation in seminars, conferences and training events, both face-to-face or in e-learning format. The subjects go from Open Access basics, policy development advice and repository managing, to research data management,

    In addition, during 2019 FECYT organised two national workshops. The first one in June about The role of Biomedical libraries in the context of Open Access, hold at the National Library of Health Sciences of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), in Madrid. The second one was held in September in Leon with the title New OpenAIRE services for repository managers, aiming in particular to present the 4.0 Guidelines for Literature Repository Managers version and the new Dashboards for Content Providers.

    To ask for a training or support session, don’t hesitate to contact us at

  • Statistics

    View Statistics in the country page of Open Science Observatory

  • News

    Celebrating RECOLECTA's 15th anniversary
    15 Jun 2022

    Celebrating RECOLECTA's 15th anniversary

     A post event summary  The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) has celebrated in Madrid the 15th anniversary of RECOLECTA with a national event for the repositories' community. RECOLECTA is the national harvester of Open Access repositories that aggregates 167 repositories and includes more than 2,5M documents and 28.000 datasets. RECOLECTA provides the Spanish communit...

    Supporting Open Science in Spain
    23 May 2022

    Supporting Open Science in Spain

    OpenAIRE is a key infrastructure for the implementation of the EU's Open Science policy We are enthusiastic implementers of the OpenAIRE Guidelines among the Spanish repositories!by Laura Valeria Bonora &  Pilar Rico-Castro The OpenAIRE team has the pleasure of speaking to Laura Valeria Bonora and Pilar Rico-Castro, Head of Unit for Open Access, Repositories and Journals at FECYT. Re...

    New OpenAIRE  services for repository managers, national workshop held in León (Spain)
    4 Nov 2019

    New OpenAIRE services for repository managers, national workshop held in León (Spain)

    On 25th September 2019 the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), Spanish NOAD for OpenAIRE, organized a workshop previous to the XVIII Rebiun Workshop and the VIII Jornadas OS Repositorios, about "New OpenAIRE services for repository managers". The main purpose of the workshop was to present new OpenAIRE services, in particular the Guidelines for Literature Reposito...

    National workshop about the role of Biomedical libraries in the context of Open Access (Madrid, Spain)
    4 Nov 2019

    National workshop about the role of Biomedical libraries in the context of Open Access (Madrid, Spain)

    Biomedical and Health Sciences libraries can be quite diverse and heterogeneous, and sometimes they are managed by librarians working in isolation, without institutional repositories or other open access infrastructure. In order to help biomedical libraries dealing with these challenges, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) in collaboration with the National Library of Health ...

    Towards Open Access by default in Spain – The Spanish State Plan for Research, Development and Innovation has been published
    27 Apr 2018

    Towards Open Access by default in Spain – The Spanish State Plan for Research, Development and Innovation has been published

    In January 2018, Spanish Government published the State Plan for Research, Development and Innovation 2017-2020 that includes important news on open access to scientific publications and research data. The State Plan is the main instrument of the State Government for developing and achieving those objectives set at the Spanish Strategy for Science and Technology and Innovation 2013-2020, and at th...

    How to comply with Open Science policies: services and tools to support researchers - workshop OpenAIRE-FOSTER in Spain
    13 Dec 2017

    How to comply with Open Science policies: services and tools to support researchers - workshop OpenAIRE-FOSTER in Spain

    The workshop, organised by OpenAIRE Spanish NOAD in collaboration with FOSTERPlus project took place as an associated event of “ECA - Ecosistemas del Conocimiento Abierto”, a major event in Spain for the open access and repository community, during Open Access Week. The main focus of the workshop was to introduce to researchers and research managers European and State-level open science related po...

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OpenAIRE has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreements No. 777541 and 101017452 (see all).

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