Open access to research data

The Swedish Research Council is coordinating Sweden’s work on introducing open access to research data. The aim is to complete the transition no later than 2026.

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

  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Interoperable
  • Reusable

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.

The EU Council’s conclusions on the transition towards an Open Science system (9526/16)external link

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.

Criteria for FAIR research data (in Swedish)

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 Swedish Research Council has appointed a working group to coordinate the national work on data management plans, to support increased open access to research data.

The working group's main goal in 2019 was to develop a common template for data management plans and to investigate the needs of a digital tool. The aim of the working group was also to develop a basis for what functionality a common national tool should have.

Status in the work with data management plans

A common template for data management plans has been developed, which is a translation and adaptation of Science Europe's "Core Requirements for Data Management Plans".

The department of Sunet, at the Swedish Research Council, is currently investigating various alternative solutions for a digital tool for data management plans. According to the preliminary schedule, a tool will be available during spring 2020.

Decisions on which tool to use to develop and maintain data management plans are made by each authority. The tool that the Swedish Research Council intends to establish with the help of Sunet is one of several possible alternatives and will therefore not be compulsory.

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.

Follow the development on EOSC’s portalexternal link

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 websiteexternal link

EU Commission’s recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information (2018/790)external link

PublISHED ON 06 February 2019

UpDATED ON 02 April 2020

Pdf / Printout


For questions about our assignment and NPR


  1. Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus outbreak

    The Swedish Research Council supports a statement calling on researchers, journals and funders to ensure that research findings and data relevant to the management of the Corona virus are shared rapidly and openly.

  2. New agreement with Springer Nature

    Today, the Swedish Research Council and several other parties signed an entirely new agreement with Springer Nature. The agreement means that researchers can publish articles without paying any publication fees in all of Springer Nature’s almost 600 ...

  3. Producing a data management plan

    All who are awarded a grant from the Swedish Research Council must have a data management plan if the research generates research data. The plan shall describe how data collected and/or created will be managed during the course of the research, and h...