Spain - Open science country note

Open science and the national context

Article 37 of the 2011 Science, Technology and Innovation Law stipulates the following:

“Public agents of the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation will drive the development of repositories, owned or shared, open access to the publications of its research staff, and establish systems to connect with similar initiatives nationally and internationally.

“The research staff whose research activity is financed largely with funds from the State Budget will issue a digital version of the final version of the contents which have been accepted for publication in research journals as soon as possible but not later than twelve months after the official date of publication.

“Public electronic version may be used by public administrations in their evaluation processes.

“The Administration will provide centralized access to repositories and its connection with similar national and international initiatives”.

The Spanish Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation envisages access to data and micro-data, as well as to publications containing and the results of publicly funded research.

In October 2013, two calls for R&D projects that included the OA mandate supported by the 2011 Science, Technology and Innovation Law were launched at the national level. 

Together with the national mandate, in Spain there are 3 regions (out of 17) that have their own regional open access mandate: Madrid, Asturias and Catalonia. Moreover, there are 16 universities that have their own institutional open access mandates.

Open science research and innovation actors

The Secretariat of State for Research, Development and Innovation, within the Spanish Ministry for Economic Affairs and Competiveness, is responsible for scientific and technical research, development and innovation, including management of international relations in this area and Spanish representation in international organisations and the European Union (

The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) is a public foundation under the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Competitiveness; its mission is to promote science, technology and innovation (

Research performers are key actors in the Spanish open access landscape. There are up to 57 universities and public research centres with their own institutional OA repository. All of them are part of RECOLECTA (Open Science Harvester).

ODiSEA (International Registry on Research Data) is an international inventory of deposits that supports research data sets world-wide.

The Network of University Libraries (REBIUN) of the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) – This organisation comprises all Spanish universities and scientific libraries. REBIUN includes 75 libraries and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the largest national public research-performing institution (

Policy design

At national level, the policy framework is represented by the Science, Technology and Innovation Act 14/2011, released in 2011 (Article 37 on Open Access Dissemination). This policy is implemented through the Spanish Strategy for Research Development and Innovation (EECTI) and the action plans derived from it.

It is stated that Spanish researchers funded by the state (National Plan for Scientific and Technological Research and Innovation) should make public a copy of the final version of the accepted paper as soon as possible, and no later than 12 months after publication. Open access copies will be available through either institutional or thematic repositories, and they should be taken into consideration for institutional evaluation.

The National Plan encourages both green OA and gold OA standards. OA fees and costs (gold OA) are eligible for those R&D projects funded by the National Programme of Knowledge Promotion and Excellence, and specific instruments within the National Programme for Research Aimed at the Challenges of Society.

Introduction of criteria to evaluation procedures – mainly in areas such as R&D projects, grants, etc. – is publicly funded through the National Plan for Scientific and Technological Research and Innovation, as is introduction of OA publications as a criterion for assessing researchers (i.e. for promotion).  It should be noted that both items are present in the Act, but are still not in place.

Also, in the regional context, a number of legal initiatives have been approved (Madrid, Asturias, Catalonia) in the area of open access.

There is as yet no specific result from application of the legislation.

No budget is assigned to this initiative.

The main institution involved in implementing the initiative is the State Secretary for Research, Development and Innovation, through its different agencies, institutions, foundations, etc. Key roles in the implementation and the co-ordination of OA policies at the national level are played by FECYT, the Network of Spanish University Libraries (REBIUN), and the different regional administrations with competences in education and culture matters.

There are no specific developments in intellectual property (IP) management. The Act gathers that the law will be applied without prejudice to agreements under which researchers have attributed or transferred to third parties the rights to publications, and does not apply when the rights to the results of activities of research, development or innovation are likely to be protected.

Specific details on monitoring and evaluation are in the Ministry’s roadmap, still under construction.

Skills for open science and open data

Skills are linked to the national OA scientific repositories. Most of these belong to Spanish universities and public research organisations, and all are gathered together in one place: RECOLECTA, the nationwide infrastructure for open access scientific repositories.

RECOLECTA beneficiaries are:

·         repository managers, who are updated with technical requirements for compliance with international interoperability guidelines, and receive fresh, accurate news on how the open access movement is progressing worldwide

·         researchers, through provision of reliable infrastructures for archiving their research outputs in open access

·         decision makers, through advocacy, dissemination, and high-level technical advice.

Along with creating, maintaining, supporting and improving the national repositories’ infrastructure, RECOLECTA facilitates open and free access to all scientific production openly deposited in Spanish repositories. It provides users with support services, strengthens the national open access community, and plans to offer statistics about repositories’ usage.

RECOLECTA is designed to promote and co-ordinate the national infrastructure of open access digital scientific repositories in an interoperable manner, based on the standards adopted by the global community; to foster, support and facilitate adoption of open access policies by Spanish universities and R&D organisations; and to lend greater visibility and impact to Spanish national research outcomes.

RECOLECTA promotes activities to disseminate information, and fosters collaboration.

The programme expects:

  • To increase the institutional coverage of OA infrastructures, with the creation of new institutional repositories.
  • To review institutional repositories, guaranteeing a high-quality standard. It must ensure the interoperability of repositories with DRIVER and OpenAIRE guidelines.
  • To update the RECOLECTA Guide for the Evaluation of Institutional Research Repositories.
  • To define the roadmap for implementing Article 37 of the Spanish Law on Science, Technology and Innovation and its follow up, and for monitoring procedures for the scientific evaluation system.
  • To develop a standardised measurement of institutional repositories’ usage data. The service will provide aggregated repository statistics. The successful and effective implementation of a statistics system will enable proper compliance with the OA national mandate.
Open science and international co-operation

Spain participates in the European projects Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe (OpenAIRE), OpenAIRE Plus, and the Mediterranean Open Access Network (MedOANet), and in international initiatives such as the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR).

The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) and the Network of Spanish University Libraries (REBIUN) supported International Open Access Week. Both institutions organise a number of events to promote the benefits of open access among the academic and research community, and to share good practices in this area.

Other information

The Alhambra Declaration, signed in 2010, comprises several Spanish institutions. The Declaration was developed in a seminar on open access that took place in 2010 (, and co-ordinated by FECYT and the Consortium of Academic Libraries of Catalonia (CBUC), with the support of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

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