VSNU: “Insist on Open Access”

All TU/e scientists have received a letter last month in which they are urged to promote open access to all scientific publications. In the letter, which was sent on behalf of the Executive Boards of all Dutch universities, VSNU Chairman Karl Dittrich also mentions that universities want to come to an agreement with publishers of scientific periodicals regarding the transition to Open Access.

In the months to come, VSNU, an umbrella organization for all Dutch universities, will be negotiating with publishers including Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley. For ten years now, these publishing houses have been working with all-in-one subscriptions that are laid down in what they call ‘Big Deals’, says Dittrich. Universities expect publishers to take relevant steps towards the realization of Open Access, which would enable everyone to access published articles freely. For this Open Access ‘golden model’ researchers would pay the publisher for publication, after which their scientific contribution will be available online immediately.

The letter requests researchers to “urge publishing houses to enable the transition to Open Access where possible”. VSNU also calls on scientists to upload their publications to public repositories managed by the universities themselves. This ‘green’ Open Access model does have a downside, though: sometimes publishing houses demand that articles from their periodicals are not published in such university databases until after a certain time.

Universities have received solid political support in their quest for Open Access: the government has stated that publicly financed researched must be freely accessible. In ten years’ time, State Secretary Sander Dekker wants 100% of Dutch scientific publications to be freely accessible. Within five years, that percentage should already have reached 60.

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