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. The University of Iceland, University of Akureyri, University of Bifröst, Reykjavik University, Holar University College and the Iceland Academy of the Arts have set up a repository (Skemman) and the University Hospital has an institutional repository (Hirslan). DOAJ indexes 3 journals from.

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.

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.

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.

Major Projects/Initiatives:

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

Details of 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)

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)

Thematic Open Access projects/Initiatives

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.

Past and Future OA Related Activities:

“With the limited funds we have available, it will be difficult for librarians to continue to provide access to all the important literature. Together with publishers we need to find ways to make nonsubscribed material easily accessible, without the administrative burden that is currently associated with Pay per View and ILL solutions”  (Solveig Thorsteinsdóttir in Van de  Stadt, 2007).

Plans to invite increased participation in Skemmen (currently joint repository of University of Iceland, University of Akureyri, University of Bifröst and the Iceland Academy of the Arts).

List of Publications

Agnarsdóttir Á , Sverrisdóttir, I and Thorsteinsdóttir, S (2008) Two Icelandic Open Access Repositories Sciecom Info Vol 4 ,4:2.

Hedlund, T, and Rabow, I (2009) Scholarly publishing and open access in the Nordic countries. Learned Publishing 22(3), 177-186(10).

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.


(Modified on December 2013)

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