Research is a vital tool for achieving the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030. For this to happen, research output must be made available and research that is publicly funded must be able to be put into practice. Formas is therefore actively involved in various initatives relating to open science.
Open access to research output helps to maintain and promote high-quality research. The rapid access to results enables research to advance more quickly by giving more researchers the opportunity to validate and build on previous findings.
In 2019, the Swedish government clarified the national direction for open access: “Starting in 2020, the scholarly publication of research produced using public funding should be openly available immediately following publication”.
Open science also helps to leverage the potential of digitalisation for effective communication between researchers and the wider society. Efforts to enable the automated collection of research results so that they can be processed by researchers in the future is also a driving force behind the movement that has now taken off. The transition to open science has been underway for quite some time and has accelerated thanks to initiatives like OA2020, which brings together more than 130 research institutes, libraries and scholarly organisations that work to promote open access.
Read more about open access on the National Library of Sweden website.
Today, many scholarly articles are locked behind expensive paywalls. Businesses, decision-makers in municipalities and government agencies, schools and the general public are often excluded from accessing research that was funded using public funds. At the same time, subscription costs for scholarly journals have risen at a rate that makes it difficult for higher education institutions to access articles.
This is why Formas, together with several other research funders pushing for open access to scientific publications, supported the Plan S initiative. Plan S requires that scholarly publications resulting from projects that receive funding in calls that open after 1 January 2021 must be immediately made openly accessible. Immediate open-access requirements are also likely to cover projects awarded funding under Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation framework programme for the period 2021–2027.
Read more about Plan S on the Coalition S website.
Read more about licenses and creative commons on the National Library of Sweden website.
Extensive shifts in the publishing landscape demand new types of research assessments. Formas has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which acknowledges the need to improve how the output of scholarly research is evaluated. Formas has implemented this in the guidelines we apply when assessing research applications. DORA’s ultimate aim is to promote an emphasis on the research quality itself and not where it is published.
Read more at the website sfdora.org.
Open data is also an important issue for Formas. Many research projects generate research data that can be useful not only within a project but can be further analysed by others. The foundation for enabling this is robust data management.
Formas currently requires that funded projects have a data management plan that states how the data generated will be managed after the project ends. The data management plan does not need to be submitted to Formas, but should be presented on request. We recommend that researchers follow the proposal developed by Science Europe on what a data management plan should contain. For more information about the proposal, see the Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management.
Formas, together with the Swedish Research Council and others, participates in efforts aimed at developing uniform national requirements for data management plans. It is also possible to receive funding, as part of project costs, to cover the costs of data management, collection, processing and more.
Formas is also a member of the inter-governmental working group on open research data led by the Swedish Research Council. The group has raised the issue of data storage as a significant challenge for Swedish research. More support is needed for researchers to study data storage, structuring, standardisation and management in order to facilitate data reuse.
Formas is also monitoring EU efforts around open research data and is pursuing harmonisation in this area. One example of this is the European Open Science Cloud, EOSC. It is a European Commission initiative for a common, transparent and virtual environment that can provide services for the storage, management, sharing, analysis and use of research data. The initiative is based on the vision of an open and accessible innovation and scientific society – in Europe and around the world.