Percentages of open access publications in 2016 - 2021

UNL agreed with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to monitor open access publications. UNL agreed to divide the registration into ‘gold’, ‘hybrid’ and ‘green’. Together with experts from the universities, UNL developed a definition framework for monitoring open access publications, which is applied by every university.

Since 2016, the universities have been measuring the proportion of published articles that are open access.

These percentages should be regarded as an initial monitoring of open access publications. There are still some inconsistencies in terms of validity and reliability amongst the measurements used. 

In the current monitor, we define Open Access as "freely and permanently available on the publisher's website or in a trusted repository". The table show that 82% of the peer-reviewed articles from 2021 of the 14 Dutch universities Open Access are available. This is a strong increase of 9% compared to 2020.  

Distinction between ‘gold’, ‘hybrid’ and ‘green’
An article must be accessible to everyone freely and permanently in order to be open access. This applies when the article is published in an open access journal: ‘gold’. A second option is to publish an open article in a paid subscription journal: ‘hybrid’. The ‘green’ route refers to making the article available through what is known as a ‘trusted repository’ (a digital archive depot, for example belonging to a university). In order to determine which journals are available open access, we followed the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This is an online register of open access, peer-reviewed journals. 
In short, we divided open access articles into three categories:
⦁    ‘Gold’: Open articles in open access (DOAJ) journals;
⦁    ‘Hybrid’: Open articles in paid journals and open articles in open journals that are not listed in the DOAJ;
⦁    ‘Green’: Articles that are only available open access because they are offered through a ‘trusted repository’.
The first category comprises every article published in a DOAJ journal during the measurement years. The remaining articles were examined to determine whether they are available open access on the publisher’s platform even though they were not published in an open access journal. The majority are hybrid publications. This leaves a proportion of the peer-reviewed articles. The remaining peer-reviewed articles were examined to determine whether they can be found in a ‘trusted repository’. In other words, the ‘trusted repositories’ were not searched for articles from DOAJ journals and hybrid articles. After all, if the universities were to do so, the total percentage could (theoretically) exceed 100% open access. 

UNL remains committed to a fair, just and sustainable open scholarly publication system. This requires a richer monitoring making measurements more flexible and efficient, with a view to further automation, including expansion to other outputs (books, book chapters and conference proceedings) and with a better connection to different policy needs (e.g. around Plan S). In April 2022, the UNL board approved the framework for such a renewed Open Access monitor based on the recommendations from the Advisory Report on the Renewal of Open Access Monitoring (Dutch only). This new monitor that we will deploy from 2022