A next step on the road to Open Access

1000 publications made open access available via ‘You share, we take care!’

On 31 August the national pilot ‘You share, we take care!’, initiated by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), came to an end. Due to the success of the pilot, the project will be continued until the end of 2019.

Scientists give the university permission to make their publications in the repository (the digital scientific archive of a university) open access after a six-month period. A change in the Dutch Copyright Act allows for this option.

More than ninety Utrecht University scholars signed up for the pilot, resulting in more than 1,000 publications made open access through the Utrecht University Repository.

59 publications Open Access

Erik Molenaar, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Professor of Law of the Sea at the University of Norway in Tromsø, deputy director of NILOS and a participant in the pilot, leads with 59 publications made open access available  through ‘You share, we take care!’ A well enough reason to thank him with flowers and to take the opportunity to ask why he decided to join the pilot.

Erik Molenaar (on the left) receives flowers from Jeroen Sondervan, Publishing Consultant Utrecht University Library. Photo: Frans Sellies

What did you think when you were asked to participate in the pilot?

 “When I read the email with the request, I was immediately in favour of the idea. It is virtually impossible to explain that you are paid with public funds and that third parties make a lot of money out of that. I would like to contribute to the transition in the publishing process, even though the new ways of publishing still have to take shape. In addition, it remains important that the quality of the publications is guaranteed and that the people who are responsible for this task get properly paid.”

It is virtually impossible to explain that you are paid with public funds and that third parties make a lot of money from that.

Talking about quality…

 “I must be getting at least ten emails a week from all kinds of parties wanting to publish my manuscripts. I do not trust their requests. It remains important that there are publishers you know you can trust to deliver quality. It is a well-known fact that the pressure to publish is high in the academic community, and that questionable parties take advantage of this fact. I am lucky in that I hardly experience this pressure to publish. My teaching activities are limited and to others it may be rather inconvenient that I choose  to work, without fellow authors,  on large publications which take me months to finish. Moreover, within my discipline of Law, the impact factor of journals is not considered such a matter of importance.”

Another milestone

Through Narcis, the Dutch national portal which gives access to scientific output, including open access publications from all Dutch university repositories, 55,000 Utrecht University publications are now open access available.

A more transparent system of recognition and appreciation

The theme of the Start of the Academic Year 2019/2020 was Recognition and Appreciation. The scientific community is undergoing a transition. The era when scientists are judged solely on their ability to publish in top journals, hidden behind paywalls,  is coming to an end. Today, there are many other ways to present scientific output and to receive appreciation for it. A more transparent system of recognition and appreciation ( Rewards and Incentives) is also one of the five central topics of the  Utrecht University Open Science Programme.