Open access means free and unlimited access to scholarly information. This principle ensures that the financial burden shifts from end users to authors, libraries and academic funds. After all, money is still needed to publish and disseminate scholarly information. In many cases the publication costs (APCs) are paid by academic funds. No costs are charged for almost 70% of open access publications. For the remaining 30% the average cost per article comes to EUR 1,500. The large price differences, with publication costs sometimes reaching up to even more than EUR 3,000, mean that authors can consciously select a publisher with a more favourable pricing system.
In principle there are two ways of funding open access journals.
In a few cases authors themselves are responsible for funding their articles. These costs are usually covered by the department, faculty or a university fund. Payment may involve a single invoice in which the prices are decided based on the nominal prices of the publishers. Universities may also enter into various types of more lucrative agreements with publishers. This could take the form of memberships or advance payments to promote efficiency and advantage, as with BioMed.
Universities can sponsor platforms with open access material. The best-known example is the ArXiv platform, where many Dutch researchers place their pre-print articles.
A few universities in the Netherlands have an open access fund that pays the publication costs for their own authors under certain circumstances. These are TU Delft, Utrecht University and the University of Twente.
As the largest research funder in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has for some years been encouraging open access through the Incentive Fund Open Access. Authors can apply for EUR 2,500 to promote open access at conferences involving more than 100 participants.
Funds such as the Dutch Cancer Society (in Dutch) have an open access requirement.
The European Union has also made open access publishing mandatory for research funded by grants through the Horizon 2020 programme.
The market for open access books is relatively modest, with a database of 4,500 books in the Directory of Open Books (DOAB). Consortium agreements between institutions and publishers are still an unknown phenomenon. There is also little transparency when it comes to pricing, which means there are few price benchmarks, unlike with journals.
Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research