On 15 November 2013, State Secretary Dekker (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science), sent a letter on ‘Open access of (academic) publications’ to the House of Representatives with the objective of all (academic) articles by Dutch authors having to be open access by 2024. John Janssen, contract manager content, together with the team and UKB (the Dutch consortium of university libraries) and VSNU has been working on this on a daily basis.
Open access as part of Open Science
Open access is a broad international academic movement that seeks free and open online access to academic information such as publications and data. This movement is part of the broad Open Science, which also concerns the publication of research data, for instance. This is a spearhead that the Netherlands, as President of the Council of Europe from January to July 2016, put on the agenda.
But for now we’ll get back to open access and the year 2024, the year in which there should be a new model for academic publishing, under which information is available to readers free of charge. A noble aim, with a wonderful result, where a lot of work still has to be done. This new way of dealing with academic publications is, after all, new to all parties and has never been done before. This makes the Netherlands a pioneer in the field of open access compared with other European countries, so we have to invent the wheel ourselves.
Three heads are better than one
As a team of content contract managers we are working alongside UKB and VSNU to achieve a transition to open access and to make this transition together with the publishers. Everyone is making their own contribution to this process. We have included a certain form of open access in contracts that have been renewed with various publishers. We would prefer all articles by Dutch authors in the magazines of the publisher concerned to be available under open access, but sometimes an interim solution was the best that could be achieved. It’s a start, but we are not there yet. SURFmarket is making its own contribution to this process with knowledge, experience and is providing support in the practical implementation. For example, I always attend the negotiations with the publishing houses in my portfolio. In addition, I make sure that the negotiating teams have the right information and knowledge in-house and I advise them with their questions.
Open access, and then what?
Our second round of support and advice commences when open access is added to the contract with the publisher. This involves setting up and implementing a new work flow, among other things. We do this in close consultation with experts from the university libraries. It is extremely important that the author of an academic article is aware of the options for publishing under open access and this is especially so at the time that the article is submitted. How do you take care of that? All in all, we are on the right track and so we should be if we want to ensure that 100 percent can be published under open access in 2024.