Open access publications

The SNSF, like other major funding agencies, requires grantees to make the results of SNSF-funded projects available in an open access publication or database. As of 2020, all results have to be available in open access. In June 2024, swissuniversities and the SNSF present the revised National Open Access Strategy for a free and immediate access to publicly funded scholarly publications.

The different open access models

For publications, there are different open access models that are all compliant with SNSF regulations.

  • The gold route: the article is published in journals that are openly, freely and immediately accessible in the Internet; the list of gold open access journals can be found on DOAJ. Usually, journals invoice article processing charges (APCs) to cover publishing services linked to quality control, editing, publishing and digital archiving. The SNSF covers these APCs only in the gold open access route. For this, the SNSF works together with ChronosHub to ensure simple and clear processing of APCs, with direct payment without the researchers having to submit a request. So these costs cannot be charged to MARVEL funds. When researchers don’t have to pay any APC, we speak of the diamond or platinum route.
  • The green route: researchers self-archive their scientific articles, contributions or books (publisher version or accepted version after peer-reviewing, the submitted version is not enough) in an institutional (e.g. EPFL InfoScience, ETHZ Research Collection, DORA PSI, DORA Empa, etc.) or disciplinary repository, under a CC BY license. Since January 2023, embargoes are no longer permissible for articles, and they are limited to a maximum of 12 months for books and book chapters.
    If the journal proposes an embargo, already apply the Rights Retention Strategy, developed by cOAlition S, when submitting an article, to secure the rights to your own work while ensuring that the SNSF’s OA obligation is met. Insert the standard statement when submitting an article, e.g. in the acknowledgements:

    "This research was supported by the NCCR MARVEL, a National Centre of Competence in Research, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant number 205602). For the purpose of Open Access, a CC BY public copyright licence is applied to any Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version arising from this submission."
    Then, upload AAM on repository without embargo.

  • The hybrid route: researchers publish in a subscription journal, which only provides open access for those individual articles for which the authors pay APC. These APC cannot be covered by MARVEL or other SNSF funds. The hybrid route is nonetheless compliant with SNSF regulations.

More details are available on – pros and cons

Useful tools

  • To further promote open access publications, SNSF is developing the SNSF Open Access Check web application, which indicates which publications of a given author are openly accessible. This prototype searches articles that have been published since 2015. More information is available in this article published by the SNSF in early June 2020. In particular, it appears that researchers can often use the green route to make articles that are currently behind a paywall publicly available. 
  • Unpaywall is a plugin to be installed on Chrome or Firefox to find the open access version of a publication.
  • The publisher copyright and open access archiving policies on a journal-by-journal basis can be found online on Sherpa Romeo.

Switzerland Read&Publish agreements with three major publishers

  • As of 1 May 2021, swissuniversities has concluded a new Read&Publish agreement with John Wiley & Sons. It will provide students and researchers access to over 1’450 journals. At the same time, this agreement enables all MARVEL authors to publish in the group open access journals at no charge to the authors.
  • Since July 2020, Switzerland has an open access agreement with Springer. Researchers affiliated with a participating institution (including all MARVEL-related academic institutions) can publish their articles open access at no cost to them in more than 1’850 Springer hybrid journals. Established by the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries, this agreement also covers reading access to over 2’300 subscription journals via institutional access.
  • On 10 June 2024, swissuniversities signed a comprehensive Open Access agreement with Elsevier on behalf of the Swiss universities and other mandating organisations. The agreement with Elsevier guarantees to members of Swiss universities and participating organisations a full reading access to Elsevier's entire journal portfolio. The agreement also allows to publish, without restriction, in over 2,500 Elsevier Open Access journals, at no additional cost. Furthermore, all institutions now receive permanent access to journal content that was published during the years of their participation in the agreement ("Post Cancellation Access").

More general APC fundings

The list of the full APC funding or discount on APCs can be found by the library of your institution, as for example for EPFL.

Predatory journals

Predatory journals are journals, often open access, employing unethical business practices such as using fraudulent impact factors or copying the names and designs of established journal, with

  • no guarantee of quality or scientific integrity;
  • scarce peer-review, proofreading and editing steps;
  • manuscript often published immediately after submission.

The consequences are:

  • very little scientific value;
  • damage to your reputation;
  • damage to your institution’s reputation.

In case of doubt consult e.g.:

You will find detailed information about the best practices in open access publishing to be compliant with the SNSF rules in the presentation below by MARVEL Director Nicola Marzari at the MARVEL seminar on open science and open access (June 17, 2021), with associated slides available here.

During this same seminar, MARVEL PI Nicola Spaldin, also chief editor of Physical Review Research and member of ERC Council) talked about the motivation at Physical Review for establishing Physical Review Research as open access journal and how open access is treated at the ERC Council level. The associated slides are available here.

Have a look at the SNSF open access dedicated website for more details.