The Dutch universities are pleased with the announcement by the international group of research funding bodies (Science Europe) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) that, from 2020, all publications resulting from projects funded by the affiliated bodies will be published exclusively in fully open access journals. The 2018-2020 Open Access Road Map published by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) earlier this year identifies five pillars, each of which is essential to increasing open access publishing of research. One of these pillars is the establishment of open access contracts with the major publishers.
In future, thanks to the new measure announced by Science Europe and NWO, Dutch authors will be required by their financial supporters to publish their articles open access. This measure will apply to publications in all journals covered by the current VSNU contracts.
The Netherlands has always opted for the ‘gold route’, in which publications are immediately made freely accessible via the publishers’ online platforms. The intended financing condition would, in future, prohibit all forms of publication for recipients, except full open access journals. Currently, the majority of journals covered by the contracts established by the VSNU are so-called hybrid journals; this means that, while not all articles contained in the journals are available open access, those written by the Dutch authors in question are. Financial supporters will be permitted to continue accepting publications’ inclusion in such hybrid journals only for the duration of the transitional period. This measure, for which the NWO has clearly stated the end of 2021 as a target date, will provide the publishers with an incentive to make their entire journals ‘gold’, so that all articles will immediately become open access.
The VSNU has been in negotiations with the major publishing houses regarding the renewal of what are known as the ‘Big Deal’ contracts since 2014. These efforts prioritise open access publishing while preserving reader access.