Open Access


The arrival of the Internet radically changed opportunities for disseminating scientific knowledge. Digitisation has meant that potentially anyone with Internet access can benefit from new scientific insights. Open access aims to make findings from scientific research (particularly that financed through public funding) freely available online to as many people as possible. Dutch universities strongly support open access and have been working to achieve it in various ways over the past few years.


The five pillars of open access

The UNL open access activities in a nutshell – click on the pillar to see what it entails


UNL created a fourth eZine on open access. The eZine 'Open access - International Alignment' covers the progress of the roadmap open access 2018-2020. In the context of negotiations, for instance, attention is paid to the conditions that apply when entering into contracts with publishers. Under monitoring, the main differences in publication cultures within various scientific fields are also identified. Developments for the future are discussed as part of a number of key trends that help to illustrate scenarios for the years ahead. Finally, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shares its funder’s perspective on the developments in open access. 

Open up to open access! 
A special ‘open access journal browser’ has been developed for researchers, which gives researchers the possibility to check what journals offer open access options, with the current arrangements. Information about this journal browser, the latest update about the negotiations, the amount of articles published in open access, are published on the website, edited by UKB, NWO, Surf and UNL.

The topic open access has come under the scrutiny of the government too. In a letter to the Lower House, the then state secretary  Dekker took the view end of 2013 that publicly funded research should, in principle, be freely accessible. He recommended a policy of pursuing the gold route: the author pays the publisher to publish his/her article in open access, where other articles of the same journal still might be behind a paywall. In 2017 the government reconfirmed the importance of open access with the coalition agreement stating that “open access and open science must become the norm for scientific research”.
Universities in the Netherlands have responded positively to the government’s support. Universities also approve of opting for the gold route in principle. This route is likely to be the most sustainable solution in the longer term. But it is also complex. Universities expect that publishers will actively work towards this too. 


The renewal of what is known as the ‘big deal’ agreements is an important opportunity for negotiating with the publishers on this. Publishers have been offering their journals in big package deals for over a decade. This provides universities with access to the publisher’s entire range of titles. These deals run for 3 to 5 years. As of 2014 negotiations took place with several large publishers about the renewal of those contracts. Universities are using that opportunity to discuss not just the extension of those licenses with publishers, but also the transition to 100% open access. At more contract information is provided. 

Open Access Week 2018

  • Mr. Drs. Ingrid van Engelshoven Minister of Education, Culture and Science: "It is important for society as a whole that research is publicly accessible."


  • Prof. Dr. Frank Miedema: "Open access is one of the most important elements of open science and is the solution to science in the 21st century. Much more impact!"


  • Prof. Dr. Rianne Letschert: "Scientists not only want to reach scientist, but also NGOs or policy makers, for example. That is why it is important that their work is open access available."


  • Anne de Vries: "Open science is the future of science."


  • Dr. Koen Becking: "Open access is an absolute requirement for me and this research must be immediately and freel accessible to everyone around the world."