Open access to research data means that data collected and/or created during the course of research shall be published with free access via internet.
Since 2017, the Swedish Research Council has had the task of coordinating the national work of introducing open access to research data. The task is based on a Government mandate to draw up national guidelines for open access to scientific information, which the Swedish Research Council was given in 2013. This resulted in the report "Proposal for national guidelines for open access to scientific information".
The Government followed up the proposals in the report in its 2016 research policy bill (2016/17:50), which assigned specific national coordination responsibility for open access to data (to the Swedish Research Council) and to publications (to the National Library of Sweden). One of the goals of the Government bill is for the transition to open access to research results, including scientific publications, artistic works and research data, to be fully implemented within ten years – that is to say by 2026.
On this page, you will be able to follow our work with the coordination assignment.
Open research data according to FAIR
FAIR is an internationally recognised concept, consisting of 15 guiding principles for open research data and data management. According to the FAIR principles, research data shall be
In 2016, Sweden and the EU member states adopted the EU Council’s conclusions on the transition towards an open science system. The Council’s conclusions encouraged member states to follow the FAIR principles in their research programmes and principles for funding.
Criteria for FAIR research data
In 2017, the Swedish Research Council received an assignment from the Government to produce criteria for assessing how research data that have wholly or partly been produced using public funds fulfil the FAIR principles. The criteria we have produced can also be used to support researchers in their planning and conduct of research and data management according to FAIR.
Open access to data is dependent on good data management
Good data management is a key component of open access to research data, and a cornerstone for FAIR. Using a Data Management Plan (DMP), researchers can describe how data are collected and/or created, how they will be handled during the course of the research, and how they will be taken care of afterwards.
As from 2019, all those awarded grants by the Swedish Research Council will need to produce such a plan. The plan should not be sent to us, but according to our general grant terms and conditions, the administrating organisation must confirm that a data management plan will be in place when the project starts, and that the plan will be maintained.
A template for data management plans is being prepared
During spring 2019, the Swedish Research Council will appoint a working group to coordinate the national work on data management plans, to support increased open access to research data. The working group will produce a template for data management plans, and investigate the need for a joint tool to support open access to data according to the FAIR principles.
Until then, please see the guidelines “Core Requirements for Data Management Plans”, produced by the European interest organisation Science Europe. The guidelines are presented in the report “Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management” and consist of a summary of six central parts that a data management plan should include, with supporting FAQs. The guidelines supports data management according to the FAIR principles.
There are also other guidelines and checklists for drawing up data management plans, among them guidelines within the framework for Horizon 2020 and a checklist from Swedish National Data Service, SND.
EOSC – joint solutions for open access
The European Open Science Cloud, EOSC, is an initiative from the European Commission for a joint, open and virtual environment for supplying services for storage, management, sharing, analysis and use of research data.
The initiative is based on the vision of an open and accessible innovation and science society – in Europe and globally. Among the stakeholders are researchers and research networks, but also research infrastructures, research funding bodies, service providers, higher education institutions and other institutions.
EOSC is under development, and is funded primarily via EU projects under calls issued by the European Commission.
The Swedish Research Council works actively with issues relating to EOSC via several different channels. For example, we are part of the EOSC steering group, and are members of a working group for research data within Science Europe.
The Swedish Research Council is the national point of reference for open access
The European Commission has issued a recommendation on access to research data and preservation of scientific information. The Swedish Research Council has the role of National Point of Reference (NPR) on Scientific Information. This means that we coordinate the measures stated in the recommendation nationally and report on the work done in Sweden to the European Commission – and vice versa.
Read more about what it means to be an NPR on the EU Commission’s website