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The National Research Environment

Over fifty Universities and eight Public Research Centres are the main actors at the core of the Spanish public research system. Due to a decentralization of responsibilities, most of the Universities are organized under the regional governments of the Autonomous Communities. Nevertheless, two of them, as well as the Public Research Centres, fall under the Central Government responsibility. Additionally, research activities are also developed in the business sector, private higher education institutions, or technological centres, among others.
In this context, the National Research Council (CSIC) is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain. Organized in multidisciplinary centres and institutes, CSIC counts with the 6% of all the staff dedicated to R&D in Spain, and generates approximately 20% of all scientific production in the country.

Major Spanish research funders

The main funders of the research activities in Spain are the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Central Government and its counterparts in the Autonomous Communities. Public Administration funding is implemented through national and regional competitive calls out of their R&D funding programmes. The Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Act has also foster the creation of the National Research Agency as the National Funding Agency.

Funders mandates

State-level, the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Act published in June 2011 includes an open access mandate for publicly funded research, and the Ministry of Education has established a mandate to deposit theses and to make them publicly available in the institutional repositories. To aid in the process of adaptation to the institutional mandate, a remarkable initiative of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) was to create a working group whose output is a set of recommendations on open access dissemination.
At the regional level, two Autonomous Communities, (Madrid and Asturias established open access mandates. In addition, Catalonia has been also very active taking steps forward to achieve an institutional policy to promote open access within its universities.
A steering committee following up the compliance with OA mandate at the state-level is coordinated by FECYT. The group of experts has developed a methodology and the limitations of the study and the steps forward for upcoming studies were the main issues addressed. Some of the steps forward to overcome limitations highlighted were the need to establish a project code structure at the national level besides the improvement on the identification and normalization of the funding information in repositories. Full text of the report is available to download in Spanish.

EC research funding in Spain

Performing a preliminary assessment, FP7 funding activities (2007-2013) led Spanish entities to obtain over 2969 million euros, which means a return of 8.3% of the budget estimated over the UE-27, achieving the 5th position in the rank and making the FP one of the main sources of research funding in Spain.

Open Access and Repositories

An increasing number of research institutions are developing their own institutional policies to foster the adoption of open access practices, whether in the form of institutional declarations, recommendations or compulsory requirements. Currently, about 26 institutions have published any of those documents, and out of those, 17 universities published their own policies on open access.

Institutional efforts have been raising awareness, supported as well by the infrastructure needed in the form of institutional repositories. Nevertheless, support services focused on open access seem to be lacking in many institutions.

Additionally, a flagship project developed in collaboration by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Network of Spanish University Libraries (REBIUN) created the platform RECOLECTA, a nationwide infrastructure of open access scientific repositories, providing services to repository managers, researchers and decision makers. About 73 repositories, mainly institutional, are being harvested by RECOLECTA, besides other resources such as open access journals.

Open Access projects and initiatives

  • RECOLECTA. A joint program of REBIUN/FECYT to promote, support and coordinate the cohesive development of the Spanish digital repositories infrastructure for open access, dissemination and preservation of Spanish publicly funded research results, and to develop, or allow third parties to develop, services and functionalities over those scientific results for researchers and the wider community. Additionally, RECOLECTA organizes periodically working groups, fostering discussion on topics related to open access and providing recommendations to the community. A good example of that can be found on the Working Group on “The depositing and management of data in Open Access” and their conclusions can be found in a report on preservation and reuse of scientific data in Spain.
  • e-ciencia. (Consorcio Madroño, Madrid) harvester for public universities in the region, including UNED (National Distance Education University of Spain) and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) repositories.
  • Research Group “acceso abierto a la ciencia”. The Research Group's goal is to become a source of information about Open Access and a forum for discussion and sharing experiences. The portal offers valuable tools for authors:
    • Dulcinea, especially useful for authors, providing information about publishers’ copyright terms and self-archiving policies (),
    • BuscaRepositorios, Directory of Spanish Institutional Open Access Repositories.
    • Melibea, International Directory of institutional OA.
  • Maredata: Spanish network about research open data in which are taking part 7 institutions (CSIC-IATA, CSIC-INGENIO-UV, UA, UB, UC3M, UOC, UPV), with research lines related to research data management, such as: interoperability, publication, access, preservation or impact. Their aim is to coordinate those research activities and to contribute to a open science framework in Spain.

Open Access Repositories

Spain currently has over 70 repositories and a fully operable national repository network. Most Spanish repositories are institutional, mainly created by universities, but there are also research institutions or even private organizations involved in the development of different kinds of open access repositories.

For instance, a remarkable example is the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) repository Digital CSIC, which archives over 100.000 documents, including research data.

Additionally, library consortia play a key role in the creation of repositories, especially in Catalonia (CBUC) and Madrid (Consorcio Madroño) whose respective territories account for most of the existing institutional repositories in Spain.

The materials held in the repositories vary greatly, but full-text research articles and doctoral theses are the most frequently deposited. The vast majority of repositories contain both metadata of the text documents and the full-text documents. With regard to the type of availability, most of the materials (64%) are available in open access from the moment they are deposited and only 19%, such as articles with publisher restrictions, are subject to some type of embargo. Nevertheless, the materials deposited represent only a small portion of the entire scientific production of the institutions.

Some initiatives 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 among librarians. Particularly, Madroño is gathering their main services through their website InvestigaM, starting from the DMP tool Pagoda till their new 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.

Open Access publishing

Unlike most important publishing markets in the world (like United States, UK and Netherlands), 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 may be a favourable factor for the Open Access publishing model in Spain.

Taking a look into some numbers, the DOAJ indexes about 544 open access Spanish journals, therefore, about the 5.4% of the total journals in the database (2014). 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.

An initiative promoted by FECYT to assess Spanish scientific journals, awarding them with a seal of quality in case of success, also fosters open access publishing, giving the journals extra punctuation in case of choosing this publishing model.

Useful links and resources

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