Open science

Research is a vital tool for achieving the sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030. For this to happen, research results must benefit society and research that is publicly funded must be able to be put into practice. Formas is therefore actively involved in issues related to open science.

Open science is an umbrella term that includes open access to scientific publications, open access to research data, and new ways of assessing the impact or use of research. It also means that science opens up the participatory research process to different stakeholders – and that researchers can distinguish themselves in other ways besides publication alone. These ways include sharing their research data, spreading knowledge, and engaging in dialogue with different stakeholders.

Open access to research results 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. 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, both nationwide and around the world.

In its research bill adopted by parliament in December 2020, the government makes it clear that “scientific publications which are the result of publicly funded research must be immediately openly accessible starting in 2021.” At the same time, the government clarifies that the research data on which these scientific publications are based should be fully openly accessible by 2026.

The European Commission has already adopted an open science policy. Open science requirements also pervade Horizon Europe, the new EU framework programme for research and innovation.

Since 2017, the National Library of Sweden has a government mandate to coordinate efforts around open access to scientific publications in Sweden. The Swedish Research Council has a corresponding mandate to coordinate Sweden’s efforts to introduce open access to research data.

Today, many scholarly articles are locked behind expensive paywalls. Businesses, policymakers at 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.

Formas, together with several other research funders who promote open access, therefore supports the Plan S initiative. Under Plan S, scientific publications from projects that receive funding in calls after 1 January 2021 must be made openly accessible immediately. Immediate open-access requirements will also 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 websiteexternal link.

Read more about open access to publications on the National Library of Sweden website.external link

Many research projects generate research data that can be further analysed by other researchers. The foundation for enabling this is robust data management. This means that all research data and metadata should comply with the FAIR principles, meaning they should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.

The purpose of these principles is to enable the reuse of research results, such as research data and code. The information should be accessible to humans as well as machine-readable.

Read more about the FAIR principles on the GO FAIR websiteexternal link.

Formas is a member of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). EOSC 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.

The EOSC intends to promote the adaptation of EU research policy and enable access to data through services covering the entire life cycle of the research data, from discovery to storage, management, analysis and reuse, across borders and scientific disciplines. Read more about the EOSC on the European Commission’s websiteexternal link.

Formas is a member of the Swedish Research Council’s reference group for open access to research data and the EOSC. The purpose of the reference group is to obtain a good overview of the landscape in efforts to promote open access to research data in Sweden and within the European Commission’s initiatives and investments, with a special focus on the EOSC. The efforts also aim to create engagement and to anchor and disseminate knowledge about the government mandate for open access to research data and European cooperation on these issues, as well as to facilitate the implementation of the FAIR principles to promote access to research data. Read more about the Swedish Research Council’s open access coordination mandate to research data on the Council’s websiteexternal link.

The ongoing movement towards – and transition to – an open science model requires new types of scientific assessments that take into account the diverse results that research and innovation can entail. Formas has signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which acknowledges the need to develop 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. In addition, results other than publications should also be assessed and awarded equal value. This includes, for example, the dissemination of knowledge and training, data accessibility, patents, products, or impact on policy.

Read more at sfdora.orgexternal link.

Updated:9 April 2021
Page manager: Elisabet Blomberg