NWO allocates one million euros to open science

Academics who have a good idea involving open science can now apply for funding from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). At least twenty projects will be able to apply for financial support from a new fund totaling one million euros.

illustration Intueri / Shutterstock

Open science is based on the ideal of scientists sharing their data with the world, so that other people can use it too. The data needs to be open, freely accessible, transparent and reusable.

NWO now wants to reward scientists for their efforts in the field of open science. They could receive a maximum of 50,000 euros towards their project. The first grants from the Open Science Fund are expected to be awarded in the summer of 2021.

Cultural shift

Open science is not yet universally accepted. There needs to be a cultural shift, says NWO chairperson Stan Gielen. “We are trying to bring this about in every way we can.”

The organisation cites the work of ornithological researcher Antica Culina - who has just been awarded the Dutch Data Prize for her bird database - as a good example for other applicants. She noticed that much of the data on bird populations was stored in different formats, hard to find or even missing entirely. But now all ornithological researchers can use the same database.

NWO is also opting for openness in its own practices. The organisation, which provides research funding, is aiming to post every proposal submitted for the new fund (whether successful or not) on its website, along with the feedback from the assessment committee. But that can only happen if the applicants agree.


Open science means going a step further than open access. The latter involves striving for freely accessible academic publications, so that knowledge is not locked up behind a paywall. Open science also relates to the data that the publications are based on.

Share this article