New guidelines for open science in Sweden

The National Library was tasked with developing open science guidelines. The guidelines are to serve as support and guidance for stakeholders with a role in the transition to open science in Sweden. The guidelines also identify key actors responsible for the guidelines and monitoring their development. Last fall, stakeholders had an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed guidelines. Over 70 comments were received, which the working group were able to consider before presenting the final document in January of this year(only in Swedish).

  As early as 2020, Sweden's direction for open science was established in the research proposition "Research, Freedom, Future – Knowledge and Innovation for Sweden" (prop 2020/21:30)(only in Swedish). The goal set was that research outputs from public-funded research should be openly accessible from 2021. The next step is that research data from public-funded research should be made available “as open as possible, as closed as necessary” if there are no ethical or legal obstacles. The new national guidelines state that "the development towards open science takes place in an international context" (National guidelines for open science p. 3). This is done by linking the overarching timeframe for open science to Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

Prioritized areas

The national guidelines for open science consist of six prioritized areas. The areas are briefly described and contain a number of goals and priorities in the guidelines. Additionally, key actors for each area have been identified, and their responsibilities outlined. The prioritized areas are:

  • Open access to scientific publications
  • Open access to research data
  • Open research methods
  • Open educational resources
  • Public participation in the research process
  • Infrastructures supporting open science


The guidelines state that regular follow-up is necessary. The follow-up is focused on achieved results and assessment of the guidelines' effects. Higher education institutions are encouraged to actively evaluate and follow up on policies and strategies, leveraging successful examples. Follow-up also has to be coordinated between researchers and research organizations, research funders, and expert authorities.

Closing thoughts

We are pleased that Sweden has formulated guidelines for open science. Through this comprehensive approach and common understanding, Sweden, and Swedish higher education institutions, including the University of Borås, can take further steps towards open science. The goals of enhancing scientific quality, increasing trust in research through transparency, and increasing opportunities for reproducibility are admirable. As is the goal of making research more accessible to the public. The goals and priorities for continued development are aligned with international recommendations and efforts such as EOSC. It is apparent from the national guidelines that Swedish higher education institutions need to develop policies, infrastructure, and guidelines to assist researchers in the transition to open science practices. Further, it becomes evident that work remains to be done at the University of Borås.

Further reading on Open Science

The Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions has published two different documents that describe higher education institutions’ responsibility to transition to open science, and the actions needed to do so:

Key Terms

Open Science (OS)

Open Access (OA)

Open Data

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Research Data


Data Management Plan (DMP)