Open Access – free accessibility to research findings

Researchers financed by the Swedish Research Council must publish with open access, which means that anyone using the Internet can freely read and download the research results. Researchers can archive previously published articles in openly searchable databases, or they can publish directly in Web-based journals that practice open access.

The rules became effective on 1 January 2010 and are not retroactive. Hence, they do not apply to previously approved projects, even though the Swedish Research Council would prefer that everyone publish with open access. Recent studies show that open access publications are disseminated more quickly and cited more frequently. This is one reason why increasingly more research funding bodies are requiring open access.

Researchers receiving grants as of 2017 must publish with a so-called CC-BY-licence, which enables the re-use and new use of the materials that the research findings were based on, as well as so-called text and data mining. Read about CC-BY hereexternal link, opens in new window.

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 twelve months.

Most Swedish universities and higher education institutions (HEIs) have databases, as well as staff that can offer practical assistance and advice. Contact your HEI for information on open access publishing at that particular institutionexternal link, opens in new window (in swedish). If you have basic questions about open access publishing, we welcome you to contact the Swedish Research Council (see contact information below).

If a publisher´s standard agreement does not permit parallel publication within six and twelve months, respectively, (the latter for U and HS), the researcher must demand that the publisher make an exception. The parties concerned may use the supplementary agreement that can be found hereexternal link, opens in new window. If the publisher does not accept these terms, the researcher should publish in another journal. Only in exceptional cases can the Swedish Research Council extend the period preceding open access to twelve or 24 months, respectively, the latter for U and HS, under the condition that the researcher can document his/her efforts to meet the requirement.

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.

Currently, the open access rules apply only to peer reviewed manuscripts in journals and conference reports, not to monographs and book chapters. But the Swedish Research Council plans to extend the requirement for open-access publishing to include books as well. We will return to this issue later. 
The Swedish Research Council´s position on open access has been developed in collaboration with the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) and the National Library of Sweden.


Lisbeth Söderqvist, Senior Analyst, Dept. of Research Policy

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Updated: 2016-01-07