Proposed National Guidelines for Open Access

The Norwegian government has set themselves a target that scientific results stemming from state funded research should be publicly accessible. At the start of 2016 they therefore assembled a task force to create draft guidelines for open access research. This report is now finished and the Ministry of Education and Research asks for comments and feedback on the report. The full report is available here in Norwegian, but since so many researchers in Norway don’t speak Norwegian I would like to very briefly summarise the details here:


Immediate and openly accessible scientific publications will result in great rewards and help build a better society based on knowledge.

  • The scientific progress will be strengthened as all researchers both nationally and internationally will have open access to scientific results they recently did not have access to.
  • The business sector will get open access to the latest scientific results in a knowledge economy where the requirements for innovation and efficiency are increasing.
  • Employees in public administration, health personell, teachers and journalists among others will benefit from easier, faster and free access to scientific results.
  • Patients, user- and interest organisations will greatly benefit from free scientific results.
  • The public’s ability to both understand and contribute to research is increasing, at it is expected that people will generally benefit from open access scientific results.

Part I – National Aims and Guidelines

Proposed national guidelines

  1. Researchers financed by Norwegian public funding should as their first priority publish their scientific papers in journals with open access (golden open access).
  2. Researchers who choose journals without open access shall make the article accessible in a repository (green open access). Access should be given maximum six months after publication in the STM-fields (Science, Technology and Medicine) and twelve months for the humanities and social sciences in accordance to the EU-commission’s recommendations.
  3. All institutions performing research shall make sure that their scientific publications are deposited in a suitable scientific repository, independent of publication channels and the possibility of making the articles publicly available or not. Deposition is a requirement for articles to count towards the result based redistribution.
  4. Institutions and consortia who negotiates contracts with publishers regarding paying for access to electronic resources shall make sure that the contract contain measures that
    • makes open access possible,
    • are transparent with regards to terms and
    • are budget neutral.
  5. Public research funding institutions shall contribute towards the cost for open access. Private and ideal organisations that finance research are encouraged to do the same.
  6. All institutions performing research and institutions funding research shall establish or revise their own guidelines for open access in accordance to the national guidelines.
  7. All institutions performing research shall facilitate appropriate infrastructure and administrative routines that make it easier for researchers to adhere the guidelines.

Part II – Measures and Assumptions

The task force proposed different measures to facilitate a quick and painless transition to open publication. These include incentives and financing, technical infrastructure, international cooperation and information exchange. Main points are the establishment of a unified national scientific repository and re-evaluation of journals based on an open access criteria.

Part III – Background and Discussion

Academic freedom and ownership, as well as the terms in Creative Commons-licenses are discussed. The proposed guidelines does not force researchers to choose open access publishing. The task force is of the opinion that extra incentives for open access publishing does not violate academic freedom in any meaningful sense.