Background and motivation for the policy

Last changed: 19 January 2024

The goal of achieving an open science system by 2026 has been expressed at EU, national and university level.

A number of decisions by various bodies form the basis for SLU's policy on the management and accessibility of research and environmental monitoring and assessment data:


In May 2016, EU governments adopted Council conclusions that the Union shall move towards an open science system. Pursuant to these, publicly funded research shall be published with open access. The EU also has the Open Data Directive (implemented in Swedish legislation through the bill on Public Sector Data Accessibility), which aims to increase the amount of public sector data and thus strengthen the EU's data economy and innovation climate. The directive concerns SLU as a producer of both research and public authority data.

At European level, the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is intended as a virtual environment for providing services for the storage, management, analysis and re-use of research data in support of EU research. The aim is to create confederated infrastructures for EU research data, thus making data interoperable and machine-manageable according to FAIR Principles. EOSC is included as a partnership programme in the new EU Horizon Europe framework, and will be governed from 2021 by an association where Sweden is represented by the Swedish Research Council. Within Sweden, there is an external reference group consisting of representatives from a number of Swedish higher education institutions, public authorities and research funders. SLU is a member of EOSC since 2022.


In the research bill adopted by Parliament in April 2021, the government makes clear that for research data, the transition shall be fully implemented by 2026. In this context, VR has been issued a clarified mandate to promote and coordinate the introduction of open access to research data. A new mandate to develop open science has also been given to universities and colleges.

In order to clarify the responsibility of higher education institutions to achieve the government's vision, in March 2021, the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF) adopted a recommendation on a national Roadmap for Open Science. SUHF has previously drafted a recommendation on a data management plan and a recommendation on a governing document for research data. In January 2024, VR and the National Library published national guidelines for open science.

The Swedish National Data Service (SND) consortium works to provide Swedish researchers with a coordinated and quality-assured system for finding, describing and sharing data, both nationally and internationally. Together with about 40 higher education and research organisations, SND forms a national infrastructure for open access to research data. SND's activities are mainly funded by the Swedish Research Council and the nine member-universities of the consortium. As a member, SLU is involved in deciding on the direction and strategies of the consortium.


Since 2021, SLU has been tasked by the government's letter of appropriation to develop the work with open science:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences will continue to develop its work on open science with the aim of contributing to achieving the national goal of an open science system (Bill 2020/ 21: 60). This work includes contributing to the Swedish Research Council's and the National Library of Sweden's respective assignments on coordination of open access work.

SLU's general objective in its strategy is to work to ensure that scientific results and data are known and used in society. The strategy also states that SLU shall make full use of the opportunities offered by digitisation, thereby contributing to open science by, for example, making research results and open data accessible.

SLU is also a co-signatory, with numerous other public authorities, to a strategy for environmental data management, intended for public authorities managing environmental information in Sweden. The strategy includes a vision, 10 guidelines and 28 associated recommendations. The public authorities who are signatories to the strategy commit to ensuring that environmental data are well managed, useful and effective for the environment. The guidelines in the strategy call for environmental data to be well-described as well as being easy to find, understand and use, which is also largely in line with the FAIR Principles on which the policy is based.