The Springer publishing group and the Dutch universities have reached a negotiation agreement on the transition to open access. Both parties see open access publishing as the road to the future. 'We're confident that this agreement with Springer marks a key step in the right direction', said Koen Becking, president of Tilburg University and chief negotiator for the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). 'It means scientists in the Netherlands will be able to publish in open access format in existing Springer journals, while retaining reading privileges to these journals as well.'
State Secretary Sander Dekker (Education, Culture and Science) has responded enthusiastically to these developments. ‘I’m happy to hear that Springer has taken its responsibility seriously and that the ambitions of both parties on open access have taken hold in the agreement. It is of tremendous importance that major publishing firms such as Springer recognise that open access represents the future of academic publishing. The agreement between the universities and Springer is therefore an important step in the right direction. Sharing knowledge, a fundamental aspect of open access, is an important driver of innovation in the Netherlands. It’s clearly advantageous for many professions: doctors have access to medical research, school teachers can use the latest insight from the educational sciences in their classes.’
Agreements on subscription fees are made for all the Dutch universities with the individual scientific journal publishers, as part of the so-called 'Big Deal' negotiations. The universities are only prepared to renew the agreements on subscriptions if the publishers take steps towards open access. Several publishers are hesitant to take these steps, given the drastic changes in their revenue model this transition would cause. Yet the negotiations with Springer prove that these steps can be taken.
Open access improves access to science
The Dutch universities and the Dutch government are very much in favour of opening access to academic publications. Open access publications are easier to find, more frequently quoted and reach a larger audience – benefiting not only science, but society and the economy at large. According to targets set by State Secretary Dekker for Education, Culture and Science, five and ten years from now 60% and 100% of all Dutch academic publications, respectively, should be open access publications. A great deal of academic research is funded by public means. The Dutch universities aim to prevent a situation in which users ultimately have to pay twice for consulting open access publications.
Click here for the release of Springer publishing group.