Immediate Open Access without restrictions – changes as of 1 January 2023

© Adobe Stock | Maksim Kabakou

The SNSF is adapting its Open Access requirements as of the beginning of 2023. Scientific articles will now need to be accessible immediately. This is in line with the principles of cOAlition S, which the SNSF joined in June 2022.

When scientific results are only publicly available after an embargo period, it is not only science that suffers, but also society, which has often paid for the research. "In the SNSF's view, the time for such delays on articles is now over," says Matthias Egger, President of the National Research Council. "We no longer accept embargo periods." Articles resulting from SNSF-funded research projects must be freely available immediately.

As before, this commitment can be fulfilled in three different ways: publication in an Open Access journal (gold road), in a hybrid journal, or in a manuscript version (Author's Accepted Manuscript) in a digital repository (green road). The rules for books and book chapters remain unchanged.

Use without restrictions

Other requirements also come into force as of 2023. For example, the SNSF requires a CC-BY licence for all articles. The reason is that scientific articles are primarily distributed and read digitally. The researchers as well as the SNSF have an interest in ensuring that knowledge is disseminated as widely as possible and used in as many different ways as possible. For the use of digital content distributed via the Internet, Creative Commons (CC) licences are now the standard. This essentially means that – from redistribution to automated analysis – there are no restrictions on how articles are used to gain completely new insights. Needless to say, authors must be cited whenever their articles are used, and it must be indicated if changes were made.

Rights reserved

By means of exclusive publication agreements, many publishers place significant restrictions on what researchers can do with the articles they produce. Very often, these restrictions also prevent the fulfilment of OA commitments. For this reason, the SNSF is adopting the Rights Retention Strategy developed by cOAlition S: on submitting the manuscript, researchers reserve the right to make it freely available with immediate effect under a CC-BY licence, citing their commitment to the SNSF.

Funding continues unchanged

The SNSF is continuing its OA funding for articles, books and book chapters as before without any changes. At the same time, further negotiations between the universities and the publishers are underway regarding national "Reading & Publishing" contracts. The negotiations have already borne fruit: an increasing number of results from Swiss research are freely available with immediate effect and without any additional effort for the researchers.

The new OA regulations apply to all grant applications submitted from 1 January 2023. In addition, the SNSF is seeking to ensure the quality of scientific publications and to support alternative forms of publishing. The main focus is on OA journals that do not charge researchers any fees (diamond model of Open Access).