Open access for scholarly publications, part 3 – Collaboration

The National Library of Sweden has held the appropriation directive from the Swedish Government to produce recommendations for the change to an open access scholarly publication system. These recommendations are presented by Henrik Schmidt, librarian here at KIB, in a series of blog posts.

In its latest research bill, Knowledge in collaboration (only in Swedish), the Swedish government states that open access to scientific publications is of vital importance to society’s ability to develop, innovate and compete. The task of universities and university colleges, according to the Higher Education Act (only in Swedish), is to ”collaborate with and inform society of its activities, as well as ensure that research results produced at the universities are of use to society at large.” This task has come to be increasingly emphasized and discussed in the last few years.

Based on statements made in the research bill, the government intends to design and implement various economic incentives for societal collaboration. ”The government believes it is urgent that any collaborations between universities and university colleges and society continue to develop strategically, that they are made visible and that they are rewarded financially. This concerns all kinds of collaborations, from collaboration with trade and industry to collaboration with the public sector, civil society and citizens in general” (p. 53).

In May 2016, all the EU ministers responsible for research signed an agreement on the transition towards an open science system. The ministers particularly emphasized the impact on society as a way of assessing the quality of research results: ”… assessing scientific quality should be based on the work itself and be broadened to include an assessment of the impact of science on society at large, while the current focus is on indicators based on impact of journals and publication citation counts.”

Collaboration is also emphasized in our newly adopted strategy here at Karolinska Institutet (KI). In the preface to Strategy 2030, the president writes: ”To me, it is of critical importance that KI takes responsibility for and drives societal development." Collaboration can take place with many different parts of society. It does not stop at other national universities or healthcare organizations, but can encompass other sectors, subjects and countries. Read more about KI’s collaborations.

The collaborative aims for KI are in alignment with what other influential actors are working towards. The EU’s extensive research and innovation program, Horizon 2020, emphasizes the significance of collaboration through the exchange and dissemination of knowledge. Therefore, the receivers of funds from Horizon 2020 are obligated to make their peer-reviewed articles available through open access. KI is Sweden’s largest recipient of funding from Horizon 2020 (only in Swedish) in regards to societal challenge 1 (Health, demographic change and wellbeing).

It ought to be regarded as highly desirable to ensure that all published research at KI is made immediately freely available, and thereby contributing to the development of knowledge, and thus adhering to the values described in Strategy 2030: ”We have a passion for science and knowledge transfer and their power to change the world.” The linchpin for expanded and deepened collaboration is open access to research results. That is why we need a scholarly publication system that is open, fair and sustainable.

The National Library presented 16 recommendations during the spring of 2019. The third is about collaboration. 

Recommendation 3 reads as follows: To ensure that peer-reviewed open access publications will be a component in merit rating of universities where collaboration with society is part of assessment criteria.

Find out more about the description of and argument in favour of this recommendation in the report: Meriterings- och medelstilldelningssystemen i relation till incitament för öppen tillgång (only in Swedish).

All blog posts in this series

Henrik Schmidt (on leave)

Librarian engaged in research support in various forms. Teaches doctoral students and researchers in areas related to literature search, publishing strategies and publication analysis.