Across the border

As I see it, European success now lies in sharing as soon as possible, because the days of "publish or die" are disappearing. The days of open science have arrived.”

Speech by Commissioner Carlos Moedas in Amsterdam, 4 April 2016

Open science does not stop at the border. Science is (and has always been) international and so is open access, which after all is about access to scientific results. Initiatives in one country are imitated and have consequences for other countries. The transition to open access will only be successful and sustainable if all countries switch to open access publishing. That is why it is good to be aware of the most important developments abroad in the field of open access. There are also many international developments regarding Open and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) research data.

Below is an overview of the most important international open science initiatives for the Netherlands in the field of open access to publications and Open/FAIR data.


European Union

The European Union supports open science. A researcher who receives a grant from the Horizon 2020 programme is obliged to publish open access, and to publish the research data FAIR and, if possible, openly. This also applies to grants of the European Research Council. The new European research programme Horizon Europe, which started in May 2021, also requires open access publications and FAIR and open (if possible) research data. The EC has had an Open Research Europe publishing platform developed, in which researchers can publish.



European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)

The aim of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), launched by the EC in 2018, is to give all researchers in Europe access to all research data, regardless of discipline or country borders. The EOSC portal provides access to data, scientific services (e.g. analysis options), training modules (e.g. regarding Research Data Management) et cetera.
The research data should be kept FAIR, and published as open data, if possible. Many European projects have been launched to develop the EOSC, including FAIRsFAIR.



OpenAIRE is a European open access initiative in which all European countries work together. OpenAIRE was a project funded by the European Union until March 2021, but OpenAIRE has since become a legal entity, under Greek law, called OpenAIRE AMKE. OpenAIRE supports the EU open science policy. OpenAIRE offers an infrastructure, a portal in which (open access) publications, datasets and research software can be searched. In addition, OpenAIRE supports scientists in publishing open access publications and open/FAIR data by means of webinars, flyers, etc. The portal now contains 126 million (open access) publications, 1 million datasets and 79,000 research software linked to publications. The national portal NARCIS, a DANS service, is harvested by OpenAIRE and thus provides the Dutch scientific input for OpenAIRE.

OpenAIRE is also a network of NOADs, National Open Access Desks, in all European countries, who have contact with the open science movement in their country. In the Netherlands, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) is the point of contact for OpenAIRE (National Open Access Desk - NOAD).

Open Science policy in European countries

The OpenAIRE website contains an overview of the Open Science policy per country in Europe.

Other international initiatives

The following international initiatives are important for the Netherlands:

  • In September 2018, Plan S was launched by cOAlitie S, a coalition of now 27 science funders to accelerate the transition to open access. In the Netherlands, NWO (including ZonMW) is a member of cOAlition S. Plan S is an initiative of cOAlition S, a consortium of funders that aims to accelerate the transition to open access. Plan S demands that all publications arising from research that is financed from funding from the affiliated research funders are made available in open access, without embargo.
  • OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) promotes open access publishing of books.
  • In Knowledge Exchange (KE), the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, France and Finland work together to promote open access. Open access is high on the agenda in all five countries and knowledge and experiences are shared within the Knowledge Exchange. This knowledge is also disseminated outside the Knowledge Exchange through workshops and publications. For the Netherlands, SURF participates in KE.
  • The League of European Research Universities (LERU), a group of 23 leading research-intensive universities, is a strong supporter of open access. In 2021, the LERU published the memorandum 'Implementing Open Science'. LERU had previously published a 'Roadmap towards open access' (2013) and a 'Roadmap for Research Data' (2013). For the Netherlands, the universities of Amsterdam (UvA), Utrecht and Leiden participate in the LERU.
  • Key organisations involving libraries, traditionally the drivers behind open access, are LIBER, the organisation of European research universities, and SPARC and SPARC Europe. Ways in which they support open access include international workshops on open access and routinely exercising their influence to raise key issues at an international level. LIBER was the driving force behind The Hague Declaration, which has since been signed by many international organisations and which calls for changes to intellectual property legislation to make information accessible on a larger scale.
  • COAR (Coalition of Open Access Repositories) operates in the area of the green road (open access via repositories). COAR is committed to improving the interoperability of repositories, so that their content can be better shared.

  • Lots of factual information about open access can be found in the Open Access Directory.

  • UNESCO also supports open access as it contributes to the worldwide dissemination and exchange of knowledge.

  • The OECD, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) promotes Open Science, see their publication 'Making Open Science a Reality' (2015). The OECD is a partnership of 36 countries to study and coordinate social and economic policies.

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Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research

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