23 February 2010
[updated March 2013]
The National Research Environment
There are 15 universities and 64 schools of Higher Education in Belgium. The French speaking universities are grouped in three academies: the Académie universitaire ‘Louvain’, the Académie universitaire Wallonie-Bruxelles and the Académie Wallonie-Europe. The Flemish-speaking Universities form associations with schools of HE: Ghent University Association, K.U.Leuven Association, Association University and HE schools Antwerp, Association University and HE schools Limburg, the Brussels University Association. Additionally there are several subject-based research institutions.
Major research funders
- www.frs-fnrs.be : FNRS Fonds (National) de la Recherche Scientifique
- www.fwo.be : FWO, the Research Foundation Flanders
- www.iwt.be : IWT the government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology
- www.ibbt.be : IBBT Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology
- www.belspo.be : BELSPO Belgian Science Policy
- BOF “Special Research Funds” are allocated annualy by the Flanders Government to the universities, supporting fundamental research activities.
A concise overview of the Belgian research landscape can be found on the Erawatch-site: Cordis – Erawatch National profile for Belgium
FWO and FNRS obligetheir researchers to self-archive all articles coming from research funded by the FWO and FNRS, in OA repositories. This needs to be done at the latest one year after the publication date, to increase visibility and impact.
Open Access in Belgium
Projects and initiatives
The DRIVER projects have been instrumental in developing OA awareness across the Belgian scientific community. Ghent University Library was the Belgian partner in those projects and created a belgian repository community, DRIVER Belgium. Several technical and legal meetings were organised, the DRIVER Guidelines were distributed to repository managers and a national search interface for the driver compliant OA-repositories was set up. Crucial was the national conference in Feb. 2007, that brought together major stakeholders in Belgium regarding research and where fourteen university rectors, the Ministers of Science of Flanders and Wallonia and the president of the Flemish Council of Schools for HE signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.
The University of Liège adopted an institutional ID/OA mandate (immediate deposit – optional access) in May 2007. In the same year the university organized an Open Access meeting resulting in the creation of Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS), whose goal is to unite universities and research institutions worldwide, particularly with regard to the creation, dissemination and preservation of research findings. In December 2009, Ghent University adopted an institutional ID/OA mandate as well.
In October 2012, three ministers of Science and Research signed the Brussels Declaration on Open Access, in which they agreed to make Open Access the default for all Belgian research output.
Open Access repositories
OpenDOAR list 27 Belgian repositories. The Belgian DRIVER site hosts the search interface to the driver-compliant repositories of the country: http://search.belgium.driver.research-infrastructures.eu/
Open Access publishing
The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 25 Belgian titles (February 2013). Recent initiatives in open access publishing include the titles i-Struct Journal (ISSN 2037-1489) and the European Journal of Taxonomy.
Open Access to Research Data in Belgium
Useful links and resources
A dedicated Belgian website for Open Access has been launched www.openaccess.be
More information on the Belgian Open Access situation can be found in the Belgian DRIVER website.
Contributors Contact Details
Inge Van Nieuwerburgh