Karin van Grieken is Senior Project Manager of the open access programme. In this blog, she takes a look at the Dutch government’s open-access aims and the ‘struggle’ that comes along with it, including at the European level.
In November, I started as Senior Project Manager for the open access programme. The first question I asked myself was: what exactly is open access? This question isn’t that easy to answer, as a lot of different definitions and formats are used, both in the Netherlands and beyond. At www.openaccess.nl it is explained as follows: ‘Open access is a broad international academic movement that seeks free and open online access to academic information, such as publications and data. When anyone can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search for and search within the information, or use it in education or in any other way within the legal agreements, the publication is called “open access”, as there are no financial, legal or technical barriers preventing people from reading it.’
2020 = 100%
The Dutch government has set the target that by 2020, 100% of academic publications must be open access. Originally this target had been set for 2024, but as the EU has chosen for 100% open access by 2020, the Netherlands has scaled up its ambitions.
So what is the current state of play, in late 2016? The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) is responsible for the transition to open-access publication and for monitoring the process, and it is working alongside SURFmarket and UKB (a consortium of thirteen Dutch university libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands) to make this happen. They have established a framework that sets out the definitions that are used in the Netherlands. The number of open-access publications available from Dutch publishers has increased from 2,000 in 2015 to 2,800 in 2016. The diagram below shows the totals for each individual publisher. But how much is being published open-access in repositories, and how many academic publications appear in the Netherlands every year in total? Unfortunately, as yet these questions cannot be fully answered.
Open-access publications per publisher by year
‘totaal’ = ‘total’
In other European countries, too, monitoring is problematic, while effective monitoring is essential to the research universities and universities of applied sciences and their researchers, who need to be able to arrive at that 100% in four years’ time. Thankfully, we have Knowledge Exchange, the partnership between SURF and five European partner organisations. Here, we exchange expertise and experiences on many different topics, such as research data management and copyright in the EU. However, we do much more than just hold meetings with the six European partners. We regularly host workshops on specific topics, at which we invite experts from research universities, universities of applied sciences, UMCs, libraries and other institutions to enter into a debate with us.
Let’s meet in Copenhagen
On 29 and 30 November, more than 50 experts from 10 different European countries came together in Copenhagen to exchange information and ideas about how to monitor open access. What definitions do we use? What tools do we use? A variety of presentations yielded a wealth of new information and insights about what to do and – no less importantly – what not to do. Representing the Netherlands, VSNU gave a presentation on the current situation in this country. During the second day, we sat down together to draw up a list of recommendations for ways of monitoring open access more effectively. The report to come out of this workshop will be published on the Knowledge Exchange website in February. In the meantime, institutions will be able to implement some of the new insights that can contribute to their strategies.
Would you like to know more? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye on the Knowledge Exchange website and www.openaccess.nl.