The road to open access

Open access developments have occurred in rapid succession in 2016. Not only have agreements been made with the large publishers, but important steps have also been realised in Dutch politics and in neighbouring countries.

Here, in three parts, we will lay out the major developments once more.

1. The proper conditions are created

15 November 2013

Politicians choose
 the gold route


State Secretary Sander Dekker (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) expresses his support for open access to scientific publications in a letter to the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament. He states that publicly funded research should be freely accessible. Dekker chooses the ‘gold route’. The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) agrees that the gold route is the most future-proof solution.


First quarter 2015

Financial backers make open access mandatory


Several financial backers make open access mandatory. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation explains: ‘We have adopted an Open Access policy that enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.’ On 3 March 2015, Canadian financial backers make open access mandatory. NWO followed suit in 2016 by changing the terms of its grants and making open access mandatory. Henceforth, all publications resulting from an NWO ‘call for proposals’ must be accessible to the public immediately at the time of publication.


3 March 2015

Open access in copyright


Due to a motion by member of the Lower House Joost Taverne (VVD), copyright law enshrines an author’s right to publish an article in open access format. This is permitted after a reasonable period after initial publication to enable the publisher to recoup their investment.


12 October 2015

Linguists set the scene


A group of leading international linguists aim to make accessibility to academic research results less dependent on expensive commercial publishers. They say goodbye to their current publisher and start publishing their articles in a form that is freely accessible to the entire community at very little cost. This unique initiative is launched in the name of LingOA. Universities support this important step towards open access.


3. Deals achieved

20 November 2014

Deal with publisher Springer

The Springer publishing group and the Dutch universities reach a negotiation agreement on the transition to 100% open access. Springer explains what this will mean for Dutch scientists. After the first year, it is clear that this step with Springer is beginning to bear fruit.



2 July 2015

Deal with Sage

Yet another publisher enters into an agreement with universities on open access. This time it is the publisher Sage, a world-leading independent publisher of scientific journals and books in the Social and Behavioural Sciences.


26 May 2016

Agreement with ACS

‘It’s the first time that an American publisher is switching to 100% open access with Dutch universities,’ says Gerard Meijer, chief negotiator on behalf of the VSNU. ‘Both in terms of quality and quantity, ACS is a giant in the field of chemistry. For their part, Dutch universities are leaders in the chemical sciences. With this agreement, we and ACS are continuing our relationship by assuming an international leadership role in the area of open access.’

October 2016

Deal with Kluwer

The deal with Kluwer has yet to lead to a subsequent open access step. More time is apparently required to reach a deal regarding open access.

10 December 2015

Deal with publisher Elsevier

Market leader Elsevier also comes out of the gate, if a little more hesitantly, with an agreement between the Dutch universities and Elsevier. Implementation of open access is to take place gradually, starting with 10% in 2016 and increasing to 30% in 2018.

3 February 2016

Agreement with the publisher Wiley

The Dutch universities negotiate an agreement with Wiley for the period 2016-2019. This agreement enables the universities to publish articles open access in all of Wiley's approximately 1,400 hybrid journals.

5 July 2016

Deal with Taylor & Francis

ʻThis deal, which includes concrete agreements on universal open access, brings us a step closer to the goal of 100%,’ according to Jaap Winter, principal negotiator on behalf of the VSNU. ‘That Taylor & Francis have entered into this agreement with us is proof that the trend is irrevocably the way forward. It is a big step in the right direction.’

2. Open access in 2016

February 2016

EUA establishes a roadmap

Universities across Europe, united in the European University Association, share their vision on how to realise the transition to open access. The roadmap also lists concrete actions universities can take to make these steps a reality.



April 2016

European Science Cloud

A Digital single market policy is implemented in Europe in order to create opportunities through the free exchange of goods and services online. To that same end, EU commissioner Moedas also announces plans to realise a European Science Cloud.


August 2016

Obama makes all
NASA records public

Beyond our borders steps are being taken towards open access as well. In Europe, they are taken by the teams of negotiators in various countries that are working on deals with large publishers. In the US, Obama takes the remarkable step of making all NASA documentation available to the public.

April 2016

Amsterdam Call for Action

In connection with the Netherlands’ term as president of the EU, a specific conference is organised to address open access and open  science. This conference takes place in Amsterdam on 4 and 5 April. Politicians, scientists, representatives from educational institutions, publishers and other stakeholders spend two days discussing the steps that must be taken in order to realise open access in Europe. Input from the various stakeholders is compiled in a document geared towards action: the Amsterdam Call for Action. In the following period, an opportunity to submit added remarks is available. A summary of these remarks can be found here.

May 2016

Council conclusions on open access

Ministers of the EU member states agree that immediate open access should be the standard in Europe from 2020. This is firmly established in the council conclusions.

In preparation for the EU conference, nearly 10,000 scientists and universities signed the statement ‘Moving Forwards on Open Access’. This statement was formulated by the League of European Research Universities; it calls on policymakers to lead the charge in the development of open access.

In response to the council conclusions, LERU expresses its pleasure with the outcomes of the Netherlands’ term as president of the EU, with regard to open access: ‘The Dutch Presidency rises to the occasion.’

September 2016

Launch of
open science platform

In order to make concrete efforts in connection with the action plans laid out in the Amsterdam call for Action and the EU’s own policy vision, the EU launches the Open Science Policy Platform. The Netherlands is represented by Karel Luyben, Rector Magnificus of the Delft University of Technology.