May 18, 2022

Report: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Strongly Committed to Open Access

From the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF):

The Swiss National Science Foundation is strongly committed to Open Access – free public access to research results. A current monitoring report shows that the SNSF follows a progressive policy compared to institutions in other countries. A national Open Access strategy for Switzerland is currently in preparation.

Research that is funded by public money should be made available by Open Access – that is to say publicly and free of charge. This will involve nothing less than a complete transformation of the current publication system. In the words of the statement issued by the League of European Research Universities, “Christmas is over. Research funding should go to research, not to publishers!” Internationally, there is a constant drive to move scientific publications towards Open Access.

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is also strongly committed to Open Access and follows a progressive Open Access policy compared to institutions in other countries. In doing so, it follows the pioneering role of the Netherlands, which has launched a major push to advance Open Access as part of its current EU Presidency.

For example, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has become the first funding agency in the world to demand that the results of the research projects it funds be made available immediately and without restriction. One of the goals of the Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science is to achieve full open access for all publicly funded scientific publications by 2020. This will only be possible if the states of Europe quickly set about transforming the publication system by implementing national Open Access strategies that are synchronised with each other.

Switzerland performing well compared to other countries

This has already happened in Switzerland. At the request of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, the SNSF and swissuniversities have been working on a national strategy since 2016.

One important step in the implementation of an Open Access policy is a self-evaluation of funding policy. The SNSF has therefore prepared an Open Access monitoring report covering the period from October 2013 to August 2015. The report not only evaluates and lists the SNSF’s own activities to promote Open Access, it also assesses researchers’ compliance with the SNSF’s guidelines. The monitoring report shows that even now 40 per cent of publications produced with the aid of SNSF funding are openly accessible. This impressive figure is set to rise.

At the beginning of 2016, the SNSF, in association with swissuniversities’ SUC P-2 programme, commissioned an analysis of the financial flows of the Swiss publication system. This is intended to formulate financial bases and proposals for transforming the Swiss system. In addition, a qualitative survey of the Open Access policy of universities and universities of applied sciences is underway. This will provide an overview of ongoing Open Access activities at university level. It is expected that the results of the financial flow analysis will be published at the end of 2016.

International activities

This year also sees the second round of the OAPEN-CH project, in which the SNSF is working with publishing houses to learn more about the Open Access publication process.

The SNSF will continue to follow and play an active role in international developments. It supports the Amsterdam Call for Action 2016, which aims to bring about a change in the system. The SNSF also recently signed the international OA2020 initiative, the purpose of which is to introduce comprehensive Open Access to scientific journals. In 2006 it signed the Berlin Declaration, which demands free, worldwide access to research results obtained using public funding and the right to use such results subject to proper attribution.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.