Open access is changing the world and strengthening the link between science and society. As a result of this conviction, Dutch universities are working to make academic articles freely accessible to all!
It is with due pride that I say that open access in the Netherlands is growing exponentially, and that fact is being recognised across the globe. This rapid growth is the result of a unique approach, inspired and supported by other national and international organisations. The principle, ambitions and approach serve as an international example in the academic world, for national governments and within the European Union.
A few years ago, the importance of open access was only marginally discussed in political debates. Today, I see the theme featured prominently on the agenda of virtually every political party in the Netherlands.
During its term as president of the EU in 2016, the Netherlands has made a clear contribution to the continued growth of open access in Europe. Europe has committed to the goal of ensuring open access for all academic publications by 2020. In order to realise this, we in the Netherlands are happy to share our experiences with members of various international consortia.
And in the meantime, we will steadily continue working to achieve our own goals. The e-zine, which we published in the spring of 2016, was very warmly received and is now due for an update. Besides the aforementioned national and international developments, the Dutch universities have – once again – together taken great steps towards enabling open access to scientific articles for everyone. Contracts with large publishing houses have been concluded whereby even more articles by our researchers can now be openly accessed online, at no extra cost.
Meanwhile, it has become clear that the principle of open access is no longer in dispute. Its social importance is too great for this to be an issue. After all, we know that many citizens are already consulting open access medical journals, for example. It demonstrates how dynamic the field of open access is and shows that there are many possible applications in the future.
Open access is a concrete prelude to the wider goal of open science. This will entail not only the accessibility of publications themselves, but of the underlying data as well. Both objectives are aimed at strengthening the link between science and society. This is what we will be continuing to work towards, with pleasure and with the many parties involved, in the period to come!
President of the VSNU