The principle of open access is widely supported within the Dutch academic world. Its aim, the free sharing of academic research results in the interests of scholarship, is hardly disputed. However, enthusiasm for open access and the way to achieve it differs across the various disciplines. Criticism has been levelled at its affordability and low status of open access publications.
Below is an overview of some major open access initiatives that have resulted from the efforts of researchers worldwide:
Open access is starting to gain ground in the humanities. Traditionally, many researchers have published in monographs, or chapters in monographs. Some promising new initiatives are OAPEN, Knowledge Unlatched, Open Library of Humanities and Open Humanities Press. The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) contains 700.000 papers.
Open access also ranks high on the agenda within the humanities in the Netherlands, with a symposium on open access journals in the humanities held in Utrecht in 2014. A film clip of researcher Wouter Henkelman (VU Amsterdam/NINO) highlights the importance of open access for these disciplines in an engaging way.
A group of prominent international linguists want to make the access to their scientific results less dependent of expensive commercial publishers. This unique initiative starts under the name LingOA.
Editorial staffs of various scientific journals in linguistics say good-bye to their present publisher and publish their articles at very low costs and make them accessible for the whole society. With this initiative the linguists try to move other journals to the direction of affordable open access.
Lawyers also support open access publishing. In March 2014 Boom Juridische Uitgevers launched Open Access Advocate (OAA), the first and only legal open access platform (in Dutch). In April 2014, 62 legal researchers sent an open letter (in Dutch) to Kluwer publishers, urging them to reduce the costs for universities wishing to access and re-use publications that they themselves have written.
Universities and other institutions
All Dutch universities, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the National Library of the Netherlands and SURF have signed the Berlin Declaration, calling for free access to scholarly knowledge.
As the largest funder of research in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) encourages open access. With effect from 1 December 2015, NWO has tightened the conditions in the Grant Rules with respect to Open Access. The phrase ‘accessible to the public as quickly as possible’ has become ‘immediate Open Access at the moment of publication’.
NWO has decided to implement the data management policy in all NWO funding instruments with effect from 1 October 2016. Responsible data management is part of good research. NWO wants research data that emerges from publicly funded research to become findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) for the use by other researchers. Data management is thus part of Open Science. Due consideration is given to aspects such as privacy, public security, ethical limitations, property rights and commercial interests.
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) believes that research data and publications based on publicly funded research should be freely accessible. All publications by KNAW researchers will be freely available for everyone within 6 months of publication. For the humanities an social sciences, the embargo should not exceed 12 months. All Academy research data will be digitally preserved and made available open access, unless there are compelling reasons (privacy, statutory regulations) that prevent this. This will take place within 18 months of the conclusion of the research. For more information on this policy, see KNAW’s open access web page.
Dutch universities are working hard on open access, both individually and in partnership.
Led by the VSNU (Association of universities in the Netherlands) and with the support of SURFmarket, universities have been working since 2014 on new contracts with publishers that expressly include open access publishing.
In 2005, the Netherlands became the first country where all universities had their own repository. NARCIS is the central portal to the Dutch repositories.
A couple of Dutch universities – Erasmus University Rotterdam (since 2010), Eindhoven University of Technology (2015), TU Delft (2016) and University of Groningen (2017)– have since adopted an official open access policy for their institution. Almost all universities stipulate that PhD dissertations must be made publicly available in their repositories.
The universities of Twente, Utrecht and Delft encourage open access publishing through a special fund.
Dutch universities make great efforts to inform their academic staff about open access via web pages, special newsletters and the like. Symposiums and a range of other activities are held across the country each year during international Open Access Week.
Higher professional education (HBO)
The Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences also encourage open access publishing. The HBO Kennisbank gives access to 50,000 open access publications, including Bachelor’s and Master’s theses. The publications of the UAS professors and other researchers can also be found in NARCIS.
Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research