Open Access in Spain: key ressources, by Cristina Pauner Part. 1

Dans cette première partie de post, Cristina Pauner nous explique le développement de l’Open Access en Espagne à travers l’augmentation ces dix dernières années du nombre d’archives institutionnelles et du nombre de revues académiques accessibles en ligne. L’auteure évoque ensuite les différentes sources primaires  espagnoles (législations, jurisprudences) librement accessibles.

1. Open Access in Spain. Some key figures

Open access is part of the process of liberalization on access to information and knowledge through the Internet applied to academic and scientific. It’s a movement that has taken strength at the international level and it has been under regulation in Spain since 2011. In the following lines what we are trying to do is provide a general overview of the process of consolidation of open access in Spain, the legal framework under it is regulated and the role that universities play in the consolidation of open access with a special mention to the Universitat Jaume I (UJI), as it is the first Spanish University to sign the Berlin Declaration. Our reflections are more specifically referred to the legal field.

The advantages of this movement to eliminate the barriers to knowledge as well as their compatibility with the rights of the author and review processes have been profusely explained in previous posts. It is well-known that this universal access is materialised through two-ways: one, the uploading and storage of research works (pre-prints or post-prints) in the thematic or institutional repositories on the internet (green option), or, two, publication in open access journals (golden option). Both options have been developed rapidly in Spain and, in general terms, figures allow us to assert that it is a growing and unstoppable process.

Thus, in what refers to the green option, the role of institutional repositories has been key to achieve a very significant breakthrough in the number of publications in open access. Thus, in 2007 the number of directories registered in ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories) and OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) was 27 and 12 respectively. In a decade – January 2017 – the figures have increased to 176 and 124 in the above-mentioned directories. The incorporation of scientific repositories or digital files created by the Spanish universities explains to a large extent this growth (see section 4).

On the other hand, and in relation to the golden option, the number of academic journals which are accessible online in Spain reaches 76%. The data comes from the Dulcinea database (January 2017) which is the most complete, up-to-date and reliable on source on Spanish journals. Against the assertion about the low quality of this type of journals, a recent study in Spain reveals that almost 57% of Spanish journals indexed in the Web of Science or Scopus are open access. The proportion varies depending on the area of knowledge and as to the field of the Social sciences and Humanities it represents 68%. The study reveals an interesting fact that relates to the type of editor and the percentage of open access publications. Thus, journals published by universities and research centres constitute 81% against the titles published by associations representing 71% and only 30% of journals published by commercial publishers are in open access.

2. Access to legal information in Spain. Legal resources available in open access

Simplifying the issue, it could be said that the research in the legal field ought to have access to three essential sources of information. Firstly, legislation; secondly, case law and thirdly, doctrinal studies.

As far as legislation is concerned, the original source of all legislation in Spain is the Official Gazette (BOE) which had a web site since 1995 ( Along with this website, different free or commercial web portals existed offering all or part of the legislation in force in Spain (it is the case of Aranzadi, La Ley, Tododerecho/Iustel/Vlex)

In 2004, the State Administration created a new portal called Iberlex ( The portal provides free access to the full text of the provisions appeared in the Official Gazette since 1968 and adds the rest of documentary resources which hitherto were only available under subscription. It includes a repertoire of basic legislation: the Spanish Constitution (in all the co-official languages and including English, French, German and Italian), the Statutes of Autonomy, a compilation of national laws and most important secondary norms, the legislation of the Autonomous regions and the European Union treaties.

Concerning the case law, the free and official publication of the resolutions of all the Spanish courts is the Center of Judicial Documentation (CENDOJ), a technical body of the General Council of the Judiciary, through the website This website provides free of charge the judgments and other decisions of the Supreme Court, the National High Court and the Regional and Provincial Courts of Justice. In addition, the website offers links to the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court ( and to the European jurisprudence, both that of the Court of Justice of the European Union through the website Eur-lex ( as the of the European Court of human rights available in the HUDOC database ( Apart from these resources, there are obviously expensive commercial databases from which you can access to the Spanish case law in an easy and affordable way.

Cristina Pauner, Professor of Constituional Law, Universitat Jaume I (Spain)

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