82% of scientific publications Open Access available

Dutch universities take another big step towards 100% Open Access

Dutch universities published 82% of their peer-reviewed scientific publications Open Access in 2021. This is an increase of nine percentage points compared to 2020. For UU, the percentage is 80.7%.

Jeroen Sondervan, open access expert of the University Library at our university: We believe that everyone – not just the big western knowledge institutes that can afford expensive journal subscriptions – should have full access to and benefit from research funded by public means. This is not out of philanthropy, nor something we pat ourselves on the back for. It is as much self-interest, because we know that if we want a sustainable future, we will have to share and collaborate with others.

Sondervan points out that with the open access policy, UU tries to make it as clear and easy as possible for researchers, for instance by providing awareness and education. In addition, the policy is explicitly embedded in the Open Science programme. There are many links with the other pillars in the Open Science programme, such as public engagement and recognition and rewards. We want to remove barriers together.

Goal: 100%

Dutch universities continue to work towards 100% Open Access publishing. Achieving this requires stronger national cooperation with all knowledge parties, broader monitoring of all scientific output and more supporting laws and regulations. Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) has sent a letter to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science on this subject.

The goal of the Open Access policy is to sustainably remove all barriers to accessing scientific knowledge. The open availability of scientific results makes an important contribution to solving societal challenges. In the corona crisis, for instance, it was of great importance that researchers, students, journalists and others could access scientific information as much as possible without barriers. This should become standard practice in all areas of science. UNL therefore welcomes the investments that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will make in Open Science through 2031.

The nine percent increase in Open Access publications in 2021 is stronger than expected. This is mainly due to a large growth in so-called gold publishing (journals with only Open Access publication options) and better support in green publishing (implementation of the Taverne amendment, where researchers deposit their work in an open repository).

Universities remain committed to achieving the ambition of 100% Open Access. In doing so, universities are making a stronger commitment to:

  • Removing barriers to create, read, reuse and evaluate all Dutch output;
  • Joint investments by knowledge parties and government in a fair and sustainable Open Access policy;
  • Strengthening the various Open Access routes leading to a better guidance by the academic community;
  • Further strengthening collaboration with civil society parties.

The annual Open Access monitor will be expanded to allow better guidance of the various Open Access instruments. From next year, UNL will also report Open Access figures on digital books, book chapters and conference contributions, among others.

To achieve 100% Open Access, it is important that the government supports knowledge institutions in creating the necessary scale, that it releases the necessary funding and that it provides supporting laws and regulations.

Through the Wet op het Hoger onderwijs en Wetenschap (Education and Scientific Research Act), Open Science could be further strengthened on the three core tasks of universities, to open science, open education and open impact. In addition, amendment of the Wet auteurscontractenrecht (the Dutch Copyright Act) is needed, to allow all output of higher education institutions to be made widely available without an embargo period.