Open science: open access to publications and research data

Promoting open science is one of the factors identified in the Research Council of Finland’s strategy contributing to the quality, accountability and societal impact of science. Our objectives concerning open science and their implementation are based on our strategy.

We require that scientific publications on the results of research projects we have funded are made open access, and that the research data produced by the projects are made widely available.

The degrees of data openness may justifiably vary, ranging from fully open to strictly confidential.

In addition, we require open access to the metadata of scientific publications and research data.

The principles of open science must be pursued with due attention to good scientific practice and law.

Promoting open science is also one of the scientific policy factors we have identified as a review target and a criterion for funding decisions. When reviewing applications and deciding on the granting of funding, our reviewers and decision-making bodies take into account the manner in which the publication plan presented in the application is implemented in support of open access as well as the section on the management and accessibility of research data.

Publication plan as part of the research plan and open access

We require that the projects we have funded commit to ensuring immediate open access to their peer-reviewed articles in accordance with Plan S principles and Finland’s national policy for open access to scholarly publications. Peer-reviewed scientific articles shall be published under a global licence that guarantees immediate access free of charge.

Open access can be implemented by publishing in open access journals or platforms, by self-archiving, or by publishing in a journal that has or whose publisher has committed to promoting open access following Plan S.

The research plan must include a publication plan that has been drafted considering our open access requirement. This particularly applies to peer-reviewed articles, but we also recommend open access for other types of publications.

According to our funding terms and conditions, the costs of making peer-reviewed articles immediately available are included in the overheads of the sites of research and thus form part of the costs of the basic facilities they provide. These costs must therefore be taken into account in the calculation of the overheads percentage, and the researcher does not need to take care of them as part of his research costs. Justified layout and editing costs related to the preparation of scientific publications may be financed as research costs for the research project.

Open access to research data

How data are managed and how reuse is facilitated must be described both in the research plan and in the data management plan.

We require that principal investigators of the projects we have funded be responsible for the responsible management and open access of research data. Research data must be made freely available as soon as possible after the research results have been published. Sites of research must therefore provide researchers with the necessary guidance and ensure that they have access to suitable storage infrastructure.

Research data shall be managed and made available following the FAIR principles (F = findable, A = accessible, I = interoperable and R = reusable).

In the research plan, the applicant must briefly describe the key aspects of data management and openness. Funded projects are requested to submit a full data management plan after the funding decision has been made. The plan must be submitted before the applicant and the site of research can confirm receipt of funding.

The data shall be made open access via a national or international archive or storage service that is important for the research organisation or discipline in question. The research project concerned and the publisher of the data must ensure that publishing the data will not be in breach of the Finnish Act on the Openness of Government Activities, the Finnish Personal Data Act or the Finnish Copyright Act.

When making data openly available, the parties involves must also consider licensing issues. If the research data cannot be made openly available, the metadata must be stored in a Finnish or international data finder.

The costs associated with storing and sharing research data and material are regarded as overheads for the project’s host organisation, but they may also be legitimately accepted as research costs to be covered with Research Council of Finland research funding. If a project is focused, for instance, on the processing of large amounts of data, or if the processing of the project’s data requires exceptionally much work or time, the researcher may apply for funding for salary costs related to the data processing. In this case, a researcher whose working hours are spent on data management and processing may be hired to the project. This may be taken into accounted in the direct research costs. This exceptional need must be mentioned when justifying the research costs.

Openness of research methods

We require open access to research methods where possible. Enabling open access to research methods depends not only on the method itself but also on the practices of the discipline in question.

The Research Council of Finland has as yet no guidance on the implementation of open access to research methods. However, reliably implemented open access to methods can be taken into account in the review and decision-making as a factor that improves the quality of the application.

Do you have questions or feedback for us?