The second of October was a day to remember, being the date of the 10,000th open access article to be published under the agreements that the VSNU has made with publishers. Over the past two-and-a-half years, more and more publishers have agreed to sign open access agreements. This development has accelerated the growth in the number of open access articles published.
The very first 100% open access deal, between the publisher Springer and the Dutch universities, was signed at the end of 2014. Since then, the VSNU has struck deals on subscription fees for open access publications with various individual academic publishers. An increasing number of open access articles are being published in hybrid journals with which the VSNU has entered into contracts in the last two-and-a-half years. These journals combine exclusive access for subscribers with the additional option of making specific articles in the journal in question accessible to non-subscribers too.
This autumn, new negotiations are due to start between the Dutch universities and various publishers to further promote open access. The VSNU hopes to secure the transition to open access without Dutch academics having to pay double to view articles. As Jaap Winter, chief negotiator for the VSNU and president of the Executive Board of VU Amsterdam, says: “Ten thousand articles is a wonderful achievement and shows that open access is becoming the new standard for the publication industry. The Dutch universities want to see an increase in the number of open access publications as soon as possible and also want to remain front runners in free access to academic articles.”
Agreements about subscription fees for academic journals are made with academic publishers on behalf of all of the Dutch universities. The VSNU is currently negotiating with the eight biggest publishers on their behalf. Universities only want to renew these contracts if the publishers agree to take a substantial step towards furthering open access.