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Wiley and Dutch universities take step towards open access

The Wiley publishing firm and the Dutch universities have reached an agreement on investing in open access. As part of this agreement the subscription contract will be renewed until the end of 2015 and an open access programme will be launched by Wiley. Dutch universities and Wiley will work together in this programme to simplify the way in which academic articles are publicly offered. The lessons drawn from this programme will serve as the basis for further negotiations on open access in 2016. ‘We’re confident that we will be able to take further steps toward open access together with Wiley’, says Koen Becking, president of Tilburg University and chief negotiator on behalf of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).

Open access represents the future of academic publishing. Research is predominantly funded by public means. The Dutch government and the Dutch universities have jointly expressed that research results should be publicly accessible as soon as they are published.
Sharing knowledge, a fundamental aspect of open access, is an important driver of innovation in the Netherlands. It is clearly advantageous in many areas: doctors and patients having access to medical research, school teachers using the latest insight from the educational sciences in their classes.

The Dutch universities jointly negotiate agreements on subscription fees with publishers of academic journals, as part of the so-called 'Big Deal' negotiations. The Dutch universities are only willing to renew agreements on subscriptions if publishers take steps towards open access. Several publishers are hesitant to take these steps, given the drastic change in business models that this transition would necessitate.

The present agreement with Wiley was preceded by an agreement with the Springer publishing group in November 2014. The positive outcome in the negotiations with both Wiley and Springer shows that using open access as the primary mode of academic publishing is both possible and within reach. The agreement with Wiley renews the subscription contract with another year while simultaneously simplifying the way in which articles are made publicly accessible. This will enable both parties to draw lessons, serving as the basis for a more extensive open access deal which universities are aiming for.

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 academia, but society and the economy at large.

According to targets set by State Secretary Sander 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.

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Liselotte de Langen

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