Iceland is a very small country with a population of 300,000. Open access is acknowledged and endorsed through government statements but there are no OA mandates. As of March 2021, there are 4 OA digital repositories registered in OpenDOAR:

(i) Hirsla (Landspítali University Hospital Research Archive)

(ii) Skemman (National and University Library of Iceland): This is a consortium repository for Icelandic institutions (The University of Iceland, University of Akureyri, University of Bifröst, Reykjavik University, Holar University College and the Iceland Academy of the Arts ). It provides access to the research output of both institutions. The site interface is available in Icelandic and English.

Iceland Consortia, a representative body of 30 university, health and research libraries jointly fund (with government) a website, which is  managed by the National and University Library of Iceland.

There are currently 6 OA journals published in Iceland which are indexed in DOAJ.

5 institutional OA mandates and 1 funders' OA mandate is registered in ROARMAP.

29 January, 2014: The Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) introduced an Open Access mandate which applies to all written publications published by the NCM from 1 June 2014 onwards. The mandate and its effectiveness is to be evaluated annually by the NCM. In a second step, planned to be initiated during 2014, the Open Access mandate will be further developed and made applicable also to all written publications funded or co-funded by NCM grants or under NCM contracts. It was recommended that all written publications published by the NCM are published with a Creative Commons license, preferably CC-BY or CC-BY SA. This mandate applies to the NCM secretariat, NordForsk, Nordic Innovation, Nordic Energy Research, Nordicom, Nordic School of Public Health, Nordregio, and Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues.

The Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) is a publically funded co-operation between the governments of the Nordic countries (

Enabling Environment

The Icelandic government’s Policy on the Information Society 2004-7, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and The Science and Technology Policy Council have made statements that include support of Open Access.

The Icelandic Consortia’s electronic website enables access to over 17 000 full-text journals and 12 databases through licenses with Icelandic government, Elsever, Encyclopaedia Brittania, Springer, Science Direct, Web of Science, Wiley Online and others.

National and University Library of Iceland participates in a number of international initiatives e.g. NORDBIB, IIPC - International Internet Preservation Consortium; European Digital Library; ENRICH

National and Institutional Open Access Policies

University of Iceland issued a policy in February 2014. Where staff is encouraged to publish articles in open access outlets, such as OA journals, archives, preprint databases et. Reykjavik University issued a policy in November 2014 where academic employees are encouraged to publish scholarly articles in open access and thus make them accessible free of charge and free of licencing restrictions. Bifröst UniversityBifröst University issued an open access policy in May 2011 where academic staff is encouraged to publish in open access either by means of open-access journals or open-access archives. The National and University Library of Iceland issued a policy on open access and open science in November 2016.

Icelandic Center for Research, Rannís issued an open access policy in 2003 with later amendments. Researchers who receive funding shall make their research finding available either through publishing in OA journals or depositing a pos-print version in repositories.

Potential Barriers

Lack of mandates; Thorsteinsdóttir, 2010 comments that “The deposit rate for articles written in other languages than Icelandic and published in journals outside Iceland is only around 2% from 2006 – 2010 and 0% for the year 2009.”

There is limited funding available for OA projects; publishing language barrier (Hedlund and Rabinow, 2007); maintaining the viability of national scholarly publishing alongside open access.

Key Organizations

National and University Library of Iceland

Overview: The largest library in Iceland, combining national (including legal deposit) and university collections to form an extensive research facility accessible through an OPAC (Gegnir) and manages the publicly accessible website.

Communication address: The National and University Library of Iceland

Arngrimsgata 3 - 107 Reykjavik, Iceland; e-mail: lbs(at)

Iceland Consortia website allows public access to a large number of full-text journals and databases at all times.

Landspitali University Hospital

Overview: Landspital University Hospital established a Research Archive, Hirslan, in 2006. The library has made an agreement with the health science publishers to deposit articles in PDF format and accessible in OA immediately after publication.

Communication address: Heilbrigðisvísindabókasafn Landspítala, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland 543-1000; e-mail: bokasafn(at)

National and University Library of Iceland has special collections in Icelandic culture, art and music and provides access to further resources such as Grove Art and Grove Music.

Events and Programs

  • Paywall the business of scholarship, 2018-10-24, Iceland, Organized by Sigurgeir Finnsson, Type: screening, documentary, oa
  • Open Access at the University of Iceland, 2017-10-24, Iceland, Organized by Birna Gunnarsdóttir, Type: presentation
  • In March 2015, Nordicum-Mediterraneum, a pioneer in OA scholarly publishing in Iceland, celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Nordicum-Mediterraneum: Icelandic E-Journal of Nordic and Mediterranean Studies has now expanded its scope to Nordic and Mediterranean matters at large rather than remaining confined to the exchanges between the North and the South of Europe. To celebrate the journal's tenth anniversary, issue 10(1) opened with a large number of book reviews covering recent publications on Nordic and Mediterranean themes.
  • 14-15 August, 2014: 'What is the Status of Open Access to Research Data in the Nordic Countries?' To increase and exchange knowledge about the respective Nordic countries’ views on Open Access, NordForsk invited representatives of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the European Commission to a workshop on 14-15 August to discuss Open Access to research data.


  • Agnarsdóttir Á , Sverrisdóttir, I and Thorsteinsdóttir, S (2008) Two Icelandic Open Access Repositories Sciecom Info Vol 4 ,4:2.
  • Björk, B. C., P. Welling, M. Laakso, P. Majlender, T. Hedlund, and G. Gudnason. 2010. “Open Access To The Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009.” PLoS ONE 5(6). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011273.
  • Björk, B. C., P. Welling, P. Majlender, T. Hedlund, M. Laakso, and G. Gudnasson. 2010. “The Open Access Landscape 2009.” Pp. 404–6 in ELPUB 2010 - Publishing in the Networked World: Transforming the Nature of Communication, 14th International Conference on Electronic Publishing.
  • Hedlund, T, and Rabow, I (2009) Scholarly publishing and open access in the Nordic countries. Learned Publishing 22(3), 177-186(10).
  • James, J. E. 2020. “Pirate Open Access as Electronic Civil Disobedience: Is It Ethical to Breach the Paywalls of Monetized Academic Publishing?” Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology 71(12):1500–1504. doi: 10.1002/asi.24351.
  • Thorsteinsdóttir, S (2008) Open Access in Iceland, State-of-the-Art Report Sciecom Info, Vol.4, 1. Open Access.
  • Thorsteinsdóttir, S (2010) OA Mandates and the Nordic Countries Sciecom Info, Vol.6, 1. Open Access.
  • Thorsteinsdóttir, S (2011) Scholarly publishing at Landspitalinn the National University Hospital of Iceland. Sciecom Info, Vol.7, 1. Open Access.
  • Van de Stadt, I (2007) Ingrid van de Stadt interview with Solveig Thorsteinsdottir Going e-only: All Icelandic citizens are hooked Library Connect Vol. 5, 1: 2.


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