Q&A open access


The FAQ have been categorized according to the following topics: General questions about open access, Questions about open access for scientists, Questions about negotiations with publishers and the role of other stakeholders, Current status on negotiations per publisher (Elsevier, SAGE, Springer, Wiley, OUP, ACS, Taylor & Francis, Wolters Kluwer and other publishers) and How about LingOA.

Current status on negotiations Elsevier

Why is there an agreement with Elsevier?

Both parties have endorsed the principle of open access and have reached an agreement on that ground. Universities view this agreement with Elsevier as a major step in the right direction. The agreement will be in force from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2018.

What does the Elsevier agreement entail?

The Dutch universities aim to make 30% of their researchers’ publications Open Access by 2018. The coming three years will see substantial progress made towards Open Access. This is a transition to Open Access in a sustainable way. The agreement continues to provide academics at Dutch universities access to all Elsevier journals and allows them to publish through Gold Open Access in a selection of Elsevier journals at no additional cost to the individual researcher.

What happens after 2018? Why was a three-year contract with Elsevier chosen?

This agreement makes it possible to reach 30% gold open access articles by corresponding authors by 2018. We expect that the open access landscape for academic articles and their publishers will have changed to such an extent that we will need to re-examine in 2018 how to proceed in the future. The guiding principle for universities is that 100% open access should ultimately be achieved.

What about the costs?

Due to this agreement, individual corresponding authors face no additional costs if choosing to publish Open Access in the journals within the scheme. The agreement is also cost-efficient for the universities. Under the old situation academic themselves had to pay an additional sum of money for the open access publication of an article they had written, over and above the subscription costs that the universities were already paying for access to Elsevier journals.

Which academics can make use of this ‘Dutch’ agreement with Elsevier?

When a journal has been earmarked as an open access journal, for the selected Elsevier journals the agreement serves to collectively buy off the APCs for individual articles by all corresponding authors at Dutch institutions currently entering into the new agreement with Elsevier. New articles in the selected journals will immediately become available on an open access basis upon publication.

How do you arrive at the selection of Elsevier journals?

The negotiators have reached an agreement to achieve an annual growth rate of 10% for open access articles by identifying a selection of journals in which open access articles can be published. The predicted percentage of articles published by Dutch researchers in the selection is 10% of the total number of articles published by Dutch researchers in Elsevier journals, and is set to increase to 20% in 2017 and 30% in 2018.

The selection of relevant titles has been compiled on the basis of an extensive analysis:
•    Selection of subject domains with a somewhat mature open access culture;
•    Selection of a limited number of different domains to prevent fragmentation and minimise the administrative burden.

A proposal has been made to Elsevier that matches the envisioned Dutch publication volume.
This proposal has been evaluated for:
•    Optimal distribution across the universities;
•    Quality and impact.


The selection of journals will be agreed upon annually to keep it current.

Additional information on the process and an overview of selected journals can also be found on the website of Elsevier via this link:


How do I know which Elsevier journals are included?

The list of journals is published on the library websites of the respective institutions, and possibly also elsewhere. It is recommended to consult the list before submitting articles. This also applies to other publishers. As with other publishers, a work process will be set up in cooperation with Elsevier which will notify the author of open access options after his or her article is accepted.
Additional information on the process and an overview of selected journals can also be found on the website of Elsevier via this link:

What happens if the 10% figure is exceeded or not reached?

If it turns out that the 10% figure has been exceeded, this will be taken into account when increasing the selection of journals for the next year. Academics can therefore never unexpectedly be confronted with the situation in which they cannot publish under open access in the selected journal.
If the annual threshold for the number of open access publications is not reached, the remaining number of articles will, for the duration of the contract, be carried over to the following year.

If academics do not have to pay APCs for articles in the designated OA journals, who does?

The costs for the APCs (a sum that an academic pays for the open access publication of his/her article) for authors with a Dutch affiliation have been bought off in this agreement with Elsevier. For the next three years the costs fall under the big deal, provided that publication is in a selected journal.

Is there an option for open access publication if my intended journal is not on that list?

Open access publication in the selected journals is free of charge for the full year. If a journal is not on the list, but you still want to use open access publication, Elsevier continues to offer the option for open access publication after payment of the APC costs. Alternatively, the article can, after an embargo period, be made available via the institutional repository (the ‘green route’). These APC costs will not be reimbursed automatically though. In cases like this, the academic can choose a different journal or he/she must seek their own funding for those APC costs.