National Open Access Desk

  • Elly Dijk  |

    Just de Leeuwe  |
    • Last updated on 26 March 2020.

      There are 14 research universities in the Netherlands, organised in the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands). 30 per cent of all research is done at these universities. All eight University Medical Centres (UMCs), which are members of the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), are partnerships between a teaching hospital and the medical faculty of a university.

      In addition, there are several research institutes: 10 hosted by KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) and 9 by the National Research Funder NWO.

      The 36 universities of applied sciences are taking on a growing role in research and are organised in the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (Vereniging van Hogescholen).

      All information on the Dutch research environment can be found at 'Science in figures' of the Rathenau Institute.


      Support and landscape

      • An important organisation for the promotion of Open Science in the Netherlands is SURF, the collaborative organisation for research universities, research institutes and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands.

        Also the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science are involved in promoting open science, especially in the field of open access of publications.

        The national funders NWO and ZonMw also promote open science.

        All are participants of the National Platform Open Science.

      National initiatives

      • For an overview of the current policies and initiatives on Open Science, check the overview on the national Open Access website. In 2005, the Netherlands became the first country where all universities had their own repository. NARCIS is the central portal for the Dutch repositories. NARCIS harvest open and closed access publications from all the academic repositories and from other research institutes, and open and restricted data from various data archives. NARCIS is a service of DANS, Data Archiving and Networked Services.

        Article 25fa of the Copyright Act allows researchers to share short scientific works (e.g. articles & book chapters), regardless of any restrictive publishers' guidelines.

        Taverne Amendment
        The law states:The maker of a short scientific work, the research for which has been paid for in whole or in part by Dutch public funds, shall be entitled to make that work available to the public for no consideration following a reasonable period of time after the work was first published, provided that clear reference is made to the source of the first publication of the work.

        The Dutch universities have decided to give open access an extra boost from 2019 by starting a pilot. On the basis of the Taverne Amendment, the publishers' versions of short scientific works can be shared after six months via the university repository. It is important that the researcher explicitly gives consent.

        As a result of the pilot, 2500+ articles, book chapters and conference proceedings have already been published in Dutch Repositories. The results and outcomes are now evaluated at the VSNU, (Association of Dutch Universities) in order to see if policy can be made on this legislation (to be updated February 2020)

        National working groups
        There is a number of national working in the context of open science. Most of the working groups are in the context of the UKB, the Dutch consortium of university libraries and the National library of The Netherlands.

        UKB Open Access working group
        This WG monitors developments in the field of Open Access for university libraries and university colleges, and where necessary formulates action points that can be picked up by the members of the working group or their colleagues in the institutions.

        UKB Working Group Licenses
        Goal of this working group is making good agreements - commercial and legal - with publishers about prices and access to information.

        UKB Research Impact Coordination Point
        This group focuses on initiatives that contribute to (increasing) research impact and, where necessary, coordinates cohesion.

        UKB Working group Research Data
        The purpose of the WG research data is to exchange knowledge in the UKB and transfer this knowledge to the university research community.

        Working group metadata
        This working group is led by the National Library and DANS. The purpose of this working group is to make arrangements about the exchange of metadata. 

    • The national website about Open Access,, in the Netherlands gives information, updates, and news about open access publishing for various stakeholders in the Netherlands. On this website you can find information about the monitoring of open access articles and the framework with open access definitions.

      The website of the Dutch Association of Universities VSNU shows the number of open access publications in 2016 and 2017 according to definition framework. In 2018 54% of the peer-reviewed articles from the 14 Dutch universities are available open access. All articles published during the measurement year with one or more authors affiliated with a Dutch university were examined by the institutions. The study only looked at articles that 1) are aimed at a scientific audience; 2) were peer reviewed; and 3) were published in an academic journal. In 2016 42% of these articles were published as open access.


      Source: J. de Leeuwe, TU Delft, 2019

      NARCIS, the national aggregator of publication and data repositories, contains a number of graphs with in formation on open access publishing in the Netherlands. Two graphs present the current content in NARCIS, and contain an overview of the number of open access publications and the number of open access articles in NARCIS, coming from 38 repositories of the universities and other Dutch research institutions. Since 2013 there has been an upward trend in the number of open access publications and the number of open access articles in NARCIS. The last chart shows the percentages of open, closed, restricted and embargoed access publications, according to the different publication types in NARCIS.

      NARCIS contains 788.000 open access publications from Dutch Universities and research institutes, and 253,000 open research data from various data archives (March 2020).

      OpenAIRE statistics

      993294 OA publications in 452 repositories
    • National policy

      National Platform Open Science

      In February 2017 the National Plan Open Science in the Netherlands was published. This Plan shows the ambition of the involved institutes towards Open Science. The implementation of this plan will be followed up by the National Platform Open Science. Together with the publishing of the plan a new website was launched: National Platform Open Science.

      The parties involved are Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, national funders NWO and ZonMw, the Academy KNAW, DANS, Association of Universities VSNU etc.

      The focus of the Platform is to accelerate the key areas:

      • Full open access publishing: The Netherlands' ambition is to achieve 100% open access in 2020. The leading principle in this regard is that publicly-funded research results should also be accessible to the public at no extra cost.
      • Optimal reuse of research data: The aim of open science is that researchers reuse other parties' research data and services where possible and make their own data available as far as possible.
      • Corresponding evaluation systems for recognition and rewards: in May 2018 the publication "Memo - Researcher Recognition and Rewarding" was published.
      • Encouraging and supporting open science.

      In May 2019 NPOS changed to a programme, with 10 projects in the field of the above-mentioned topics.

      EOSC-related activities

      In the Netherlands there are a number of institutes involved in the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) project aims to make it easier for researchers to share and combine data, also across disciplinary boundaries. The institute DANS is involved in different EOSC-related projects, besides OpenAIRE:

      • DANS is projectleader of FAIRsFAIR. The ambition of FAIRsFAIR is to assist the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) governance bodies to deliver FAIR-aligned Rules of Participation in the EOSC. These rules will be designed to establish FAIR compliance of components and practices. Moreover, FAIRsFAIR will open up and share all knowledge, expertise, guidelines, implementations, new trajectories, courses and education needed to turn FAIR Principles into reality.
      • The EOSC-hub project has a consortium of 100+ partners from more than 50 countries. The consortium will develop the vision of the Hub as the integration and management system of the future European Open Science Cloud. Other involved institutes in the Netherlands are SURF, University Utrecht, Astron, KNMI, and Meertens Institute. Project leaderof EOSC-hub is EGI Foundation in Amsterdam.
      • FREYA is a 3-year project in which twelve partners are involved. The project aims to build the infrastructure for persistent identifiers (PIDs) as a core component of open science, in the EU and globally. FREYA will improve discovery, navigation, retrieval, and access of research resources.
      • The aim of SSHOC - Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud is to ensure that initiatives from the current European research infrastructures in the field of Social and Human Sciences (SSH) are better aligned with each other and with the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). An other involved partners in the Netherlands is CentERdata.
      • EOSC-synergy extends the EOSC coordination to nine participating countries by harmonizing policies and federating relevant national research e-Infrastructures, scientific data and thematic services, bridging the gap between national initiatives and EOSC. One of the partners is EGI Foundation in Amsterdam.
      • DANS is member of the EOSC Working Group Skills and Training. In the Netherlands there are more members of the different EOSC Working Groups.


      Institutional policy

      A couple of Dutch universities – Erasmus University Rotterdam (since 2010), Eindhoven University of Technology (2015), TU Delft (2016)  and University of Groningen (2017) – have adopted an official open access policy for their institution. Almost all universities stipulate that PhD dissertations must be made publicly available in their repositories.

      The universities of Twente, Utrecht and Delft encourage open access publishing through a special fund. VU University Amsterdam and Utrecht University and TU Delft support researchers wishing to set up open access journals.
      Dutch universities make great efforts to inform their academic staff about open access via web pages, special newsletters and the like. Symposiums and a range of other activities are held across the country each year during international Open Access Week.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

      See for more information the national website on open access:

      Funder policy

      In addition to direct funding by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science research in the Netherlands is also funded by the following organisations:

      • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) – NWO is of the opinion that research results paid for by public funds should be freely accessible worldwide. This applies to both scientific publications and other forms of scientific output. In principle, it must be possible to share research data with others as well. In the Regulation on Granting with respect to Open Access NWO asks for "immediate open access at the moment of publication". NWO also wants publicly funded research data to become Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). With effect from 1 October 2016 NWO implemented a data management policy in all NWO funding instruments.
      • NWO is one of the funders in Plan S, which will start in 2021
      • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) – The Academy believes that research data and publications based on publicly funded research should be freely accessible. All publications by KNAW researchers are freely available, preferably immediately but at the latest after 18 months. The same applies to research data unless there are compelling reasons (privacy, statutory regulations) that prevent this. KNAW makes budget funds available to encourage KNAW researchers and institutes to make their publications and data accessible through open access.
    • Key networks and aggregators

      • There is widespread awareness of Open Access in the Netherlands. Since 2005 all Dutch universities, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, the KNAW, NWO, the Royal Library and SURF have signed the Berlin Declaration. In 2005, the Netherlands became the first country where all universities had their own repository with open access publications.

        DANS, an institute of KNAW and NWO, provides access to all content of Dutch university repositories, KNAW, NWO, and a number of research institutes; through the national portal NARCIS. NARCIS provides access to (open access) publications, datasets of a number of data archives; and to descriptions of research projects, institutes and researchers. NARCIS has been developed by DANS, in close cooperation with the universities and other scholarly institutions.

        The Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences also encourage open access publishing. The HBO Kennisbank gives access to 57,000 open access publications, including Bachelor’s and Master’s theses. The publications of the UAS professors and other researchers can also be found in NARCIS.

        The national Open Access website,, provides information on open access publishing for various stakeholders.


      Data repositories

      NARCIS is the gateway that provides access to over 252,000 of scholarly datasets (March 2020) from researchers at Dutch universities and research institutes. DANS with the data archive EASY and 4TU.ResearchData provides durable storage and access to research data. These data sets are also made public by NARCIS.

      Storage of research data during the research

      In 2013 a number of Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences, and research institutes joined the DataverseNL, a partnership that jointly manages and deploys the Dataverse Network open source application for the archiving, citing and sharing of research data during the research by researchers themselves. The data management is in the hands of the institutions; DANS has been managing DataverseNL since May 2014.

      Storage of research data after the research

      DANS provides sustainable access to research data especially in the field of humanities and social sciences through EASY, an online archiving system. Researchers can use EASY to archive their own research data for the long term. Most data are open data or open after registration. 4TU.Centre for Research Data (4TU.ResearchData), a cooperation of TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, Wageningen University and Research Centre, and University of Twente, guarantees the storage, reuse and continuing accessibility of science and engineering research data.

      Collaboration Research Data institutes

      DANS, 4TU.ResearchData, and SURFsara have joined forces on sustainable data archiving within the Research Data Netherlands (RDNL) partnership. The partnership is also open to other parties.

      More information

      For more information on open data in the Netherlands see

      National publishing initiatives

      University Journals

      To promote open science, and to retain copyright and ownership of texts, data, and all other products of research, universities should take control over publication and dissemination. With this project proposal we request funding for setting up a technical and editorial infrastructure for so-called University Journals, a new electronic open access publication platform with the appearance of a set of academic journals.
      With University Journals, all products of research can be published quickly and fully, using university repositories. Building on existing infrastructure and expertise, University Journals require only modest resources and have many advantages over the current system that depends on commercial publishers.
      University Journals are an immediate alternative to journals that charge open access fees and especially to the so-called predatory journals. In the longer term, University Journals can also be instrumental in achieving the goals of open science.
      The requested funding for setting up University Journals would help finance a collaborative project by universities in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe

      University journals is a joint project of 14 universities

      Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
      Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
      Universitat de Barcelona
      Erasmus University Rotterdam
      Technische Universiteit Delft
      Tilburg University
      University of Essex
      Utrecht University
      University of Groningen
      Wageningen University
      Linköping University
      University of Zurich
      Maastricht University
      University of Amsterdam

      More information on this project will follow December 2019

      Current University Publishing platforms

      Uopen Journals is an incubator of Open Access Journals, Univerity Utrecht
      TU Delft OPEN
      also publishes journals, dissertations and books.

      National agreements with publishers

      Since 2015 national licenses with academic publishers are strongly connected with open access. The renewal of what is known as the ‘big deal’ towards 'publish and read' or transformative agreements is an important opportunity for negotiating with the publishers on this. Publishers have been offering their journals in big package deals for over a decade. This provides universities with access to the publisher’s entire range of titles. The Dutch universities will take that opportunity to discuss not just the extension of those licences with publishers, but also the transition to open access. Universities expect publishers to make a serious effort to facilitate this transition.

      The negotiations with the publishers will be held in close cooperation with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and UKB (the consortium of university libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands). Currently, 16 agreements, including Wiley, Springer, Elsevier, Taylor and Francis, RSC, SAGE and ACS,  have been made with publishers. This means that articles from corresponding authors associated with VSNU will be published as open access and authors will not be charged. A dedicated webpage gives insight into the publisher agreements, workflows and the statistics and reveals the licenses online. 26.000 articles (Oktober 2019) are published because of the agreements with publishers. For more information please read the frequently asked questions on open access by the VSNU.

      OA books

      As is the case with open access journals for some time, there is no institutional or funders policy to financially support open access books

      Some universities as Groningen, Leiden and Tilburg support open access books through participation in Knowledge Unlatched or by paying the costs of the Book Processing Costs (BPC) on behalf of the authors to publishers

      Amsterdam University Press is primary partner in the OAPEN project, concerned with the Open Access publishing of humanities and social sciences monographs.

    • The national website about Open Access,, gives information, updates, and news about open access publishing for various stakeholders in the Netherlands.

      Visual material in order to promote open access is available at open Dutch universities make great efforts to inform their academic staff about open access via web pages, special newsletters and the like. Symposiums and a range of other activities are held across the country each year during international Open Access Week. Every university has trained open access staff like repository managers and data librarians to support the researchers.

      On the national website,, you can find information about the monitoring of open access articles and the framework with open access definitions.

      Research Data Netherlands (RDNL) provides the course Essentials 4 Data Support. This is an introductory course for those who provide support to researchers in storing, managing, archiving and sharing their research data (data support staff).

    • Funding Agencies

      The Netherlands has three major funding agencies which are listed here:

      Integrated in OpenAIRE

      The Netherlands has one major funding agency integrated in OpenAIRE.

      The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (24.180 projects)


      See also Monitor Statistics of Netherlands NWO

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      13 February 2019
      Dutch Copyright Act offers an alternative route to open access The Dutch universities will give open access an extra boost by starting a pilot to make publications available after six months in c...
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