Open Science and Research Data Management Policies in Slovenia

Bled, Slovenia by David Mark from Pixabay

Slovenia laid the foundations for the implementation of open science principles already in September 2015 with the National Strategy of Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Slovenia 2015−2020. In December 2021, these principles were written into law with the Scientific Research and Innovation Activities Act (ZZrID). The Act provides the foundation for an action plan and the Regulation on Open Science, which will define in greater detail the requirements for following these principles. Among other things, the recommendations and the vision for the development of open science in Slovenia are also outlined in the Resolution on the Slovenian Scientific Research and Innovation Strategy 2030, which was adopted in March 2022. Individual research institutions may adopt additional, more detailed policies within these legal frameworks.

The Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) is a member of cOAlition S. Certain Plan S principles were therefore transferred to the ZZrID and are also expected to be transferred to the emerging Regulation on Open Science. Since Slovenia is a member of the European Union, we are also obliged to follow the policies of the common European Research Area.

National Policies

Before 2015

Before 2015, Slovenian legislation touched upon the principles of open science in two documents:

National Strategy of Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Slovenia 2015−2020

The National Strategy of Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Slovenia 2015−2020 defined open access to scientific publications and research data as well as the principles, vision and goals of open access. It mandated that all beneficiaries ensure open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications resulting from nationally funded research projects in the period 2015−2020. Academic journals based in Slovenia that received national public co-funding to publish peer-reviewed articles were required to provide open access to their content. These two provisions were transferred to the ZZrID in 2021.

Regarding research data, the Strategy mandated that the data resulting from publicly funded research should be as open and accessible as possible (according to the FAIR principles), with as few restrictions as possible. Open access to research data was defined as the right to online access and reuse of digital research data under the conditions specified in the grant agreement. The access, mining, utilisation, reproduction and distribution had to be permitted free of charge. This provision was also transferred to the ZZrID.

The strategy also defined important open access priciples, namely:

  1. Open access to scientific information is in the interest of society.
  2. Open access to scientific information is in the interest of the economy.
  3. Open access to scientific information is part of open science.
  4. Scientific information is national scientific heritage.
  5. Copyrighting scientific information with open licenses enables the broadest further use of research results.
  6. Research assesment should promote open access to scientific information.
  7. Adequate funding is needed to ensure the sustainability of the national infrastructure for open access to scientific information.
  8. The Slovenian open access infrastructure is part of the international open access research infrastructures.

Scientific Research and Innovation Activities Act (since 2021)

Scientific Research and Innovation Activities Act (ZZrID) defines the national principles of open science in Articles 40, 41 and 42. Article 40 first defines open science, namely:

Open science primarily includes open access to research results, evaluation of the quality and impact of research work using responsible metrics, as well as connection with the interested public and their inclusion in the research process.

Further, Article 40 stipulates that the evaluation and assessment of researchers, research organizations, research programs and projects needs to promote open science. This primarily refers to the international principles summarized in the DORA Declaration, Leiden Manifesto and Hong Kong Principles.

ZZRiD specifies in Article 41 that the funding body shall require, and the performer of the scientific research activity shall provide open access to all peer-reviewed scientific publications and research data resulting from research activities that received at least 50% of public co-financing. The results of publicly co-financed research must be open and accessible, taking into account the limitations imposed by the protection of intellectual property or personal data and the security of persons or the state. There are special conditions for processing personal data for research purposes.

Article 41 further states that open research data must be published or otherwise accessible in a way that enables their findability, accessibility, interoperability and reuse, or, in other words, in line with the FAIR principles.

Article 42 of the ZZrID stipulates that scientific journals of publishers based in the Republic of Slovenia and neighbouring countries (Slovenian: v zamejstvu), which contain peer-reviewed articles and are fully financed by the state, must provide open access to their content.

Resolution on the Slovenian Scientific Research and Innovation Strategy 2030 (since 2022)

Resolution on the Slovenian Scientific Research and Innovation Strategy 2030 dedicates to open science the entire Goal 6.2, Open Science for Improving the Quality, Efficiency and Responsiveness of Research. The specific measures envisaged within this objective are:

  • U6.2.1.: Effective management and financing of development and provision of international compliance of the national open science ecosystem, related national structures and infrastructures and integration into international networks and infrastructures.
  • U6.2.2.: Implementation of contemporary approaches to research assessment in accordance with the principles of open science (for example, DORA (San Francisco Declaration on Research Assesment), Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics, ERA guidelines (European Research Area and Innovation Committee)) to improve the quality and impact of research.
  • U6.2.3.: Ensuring the compliance of research results with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) and ensuring full and immediate open access (subject to eligible exemptions).
  • U6.2.4.: Establishing a national open science community to introduce and monitor open science in Slovenia and its integration into ERA and beyond.
  • U6.2.5.: Promotion of the development of citizen science and involvement of the public in research activities.
  • U6.2.6.: Promotion of the development of national scientific publishing to operate in accordance with the principles of open science.

Institutional Policies

Rules on Doctoral Studies at the University of Ljubljana

Rules on Doctoral Studies at the University of Ljubljana stipulates in Article 50 of the chapter Research Data Management:

Research data created and collected for the purposes of the doctoral dissertation must be published or otherwise accessible in a way that enables their transparency, accessibility, interoperability and the possibility of re-evaluation and reuse. The doctoral student submits research data to a data repository, data center or research data archive, thereby satisfying the principles of verifiability, transparency and open science. Preferably, research data is submitted to regional national or international data centers dedicated to specific types of data or to the Repository of the UL.

*

The doctoral dissertation shall state where the data is available and how it can be accessed. Exceptions to data sharing are justified when it comes to personal and sensitive data or when it comes to the protection of intellectual property or the non-disclosure of threatened areas, groups or species. In the case of asserting justified exceptions to data sharing, the doctoral student, in agreement with the data center, arranges for an appropriate method of data protection and restrictions on data access. In this case, at least freely accessible metadata must be prepared for the data center catalogue, which shows where the research data is accessible and under what conditions.

Digital Preservation Policy of the Social Science Data Archives

The Digital Preservation Policy of the Social Science Data Archives defines the rules, responsibilities, roles and the system of control when handling data. This enables the archive to fulfill its fundamental mission, i.e., ensuring permanent availability of data, and its recognition as a trustworthy repository among the users, data providers and funding bodies. The policy defines the organizational structure of the archive, handling of digital objects, access to data, information technology architecture and security and risk management. The document is available on the website of the Social Science Data Archives.

 

Last update: 10 August 2022

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