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Published: 2020-11-10

The Swedish Research Council and Formas expect open science when funding research

NEWS The research funders Formas and The Swedish Research Council (VR) will announce which research projects will receive research grants this year. Both funders expect that funded projects establish plans for research data management, and that the resulting research articles are published open access. The library helps straightening out the dos and don'ts when fulfilling funders expectations for open science.

Text: Susanne Sjöberg, Sanna Isabel Ulfsparre

Open access to research articles

One of the conditions for receiving funding from The Swedish Research Council (VR) is that the resulting articles are published open access. Articles with restricted access does not count when the research period is evaluated. 

Formas endorses Plan S, an agreement that research results are to be made openly available as soon as they are published. The new rules will apply from 2021. However, publications are already expected to be made open access, but before 2021 Formas will accept a delay before making the article available open access, something that will not be acceptable in the future.

Use a CC BY license when paying a publishing fee

If it is nessecary to pay a publishing fee to publish open access both VR and Formas require that the article in question is licensed with a CC BY license. In order to finance publishing fees you can, besides including the cost in the budget when applying for funding, also make use of the library discounts for open access publishing fees. 

As a researcher affiliated with Umeå university you have access to discounts that apply to more than 10 000 scholarly journals, through agreements between the library and various publishers.

- Both the administration and the cost management regarding publishing fees within the agreements are handled by us at the library, says Therese Nilsson, librarian in the Department of Scholarly Communication.

When making use of the discounts, it is important to be careful to follow the instructions for gaining access to the specific discount that you need to use. For example, it can be crucial to use your university e-mail when corresponding with publishers. That the e-mail adress ends with "@umu.se" is used as a criteria to identify your affiliation with our university.

- Please contact us at the library for advice and support regarding open access publishing, preferrably before signing a contract with a publisher! says Therese Nilsson.

Research data management (RDM)

All research funded by VR and Formas need to have a Data Management Plan (DMP). The generation process of research data, as well as the long term plans for the data is outlined in the DMP. The conditions for receiving funding from VR stipulate that the research assets manager is responsible for making sure that there is a DMP connected to the research and that the plan is updated and maintained. The researcher formulate the actual DMP.

When working with the DMP you can use the tool DMP online to write and update the plan and, if you so wish, share it with others. DMP online is endorsed by VR and Sunet and is used by most major Swedish seats of learning. DMP online can be found at the library web pages for research data.

- Please, feel free to contact the library in order to receive a broad support when working with the data management plan. Besides offering direct support, we can help you get in touch with experts within specific areas regarding research data management, both within the university and on a national level. sais Pär Sundling, librarian in the Department of Scholarly Communication.

Both funders also recommend that research data are made available to the greatest possible extent. However, it is important to note that legal restrictions limit the degree to which research data can be made available. As a guiding principle, research data are to be made as open as possible, but as closed as necessary.

VR is an active advocate for fostering open access to research data in Sweden. Their goal is for the transition to be complete by 2026. The general recommendation from VR is that research data funded by public resources are to be published openly available on the Internet, to the greatest possible extent.


Read more on the subject on our pages about Open access, Research data and research data management, or contact the library for more information.

Open access

Discounts for open access publishing fees

Research data

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