Netherlands has a strong OA awareness and an active promotion of open access through institutional mandates, funder mandates, the establishment of OA repositories and OA publishing agreements. 

The International Open Access week is celebrated yearly since 2009 under the coordination of SURF. 

As of June 2015,  OpenDOAR registers 28 OA institutional repositories in the Netherlands and DOAJ indexes 103 Dutch journals. 

ROARMAP registers 8 OA policies.

The Netherlands has an important, globally operating scientific publishing industry: with Elsevier, Kluwer and Brill as important examples. These companies experiment with Open Access publishing in various degrees.

In December 2014, the Dutch universities have reached an agreement with the Publisher Springer on Open Access publishing for Dutch (corresponding) authors in 2015 and 2016. Under the Agreement, all articles published by corresponding authors affiliated with a Dutch VSNU or NFU member institution will be published in Open Access free of charge for the author. The agreement covers around 1500 journals within the Springer OpenChoice program. Journals form Learned Societies, and journals in BiomedCentral and SpringerOpen are not covered by this agreement. The agreement applies to all articles accepted in the eligible journals as of January 1st 2015. 

Amsterdam is also the headquarters of the publishing behemoth Elsevier that dominates the medical and scientific publishing market. Elsevier recently caused controversy by unexpectedly changing its sharing and hosting policy, and is able to use its considerable resources as a major Dutch taxpayer to lobby for industry interests. Particularly controversial was its decision to reinstate embargoes for voluntary deposit of accepted manuscripts into institutional repositories like Research@StAndrews:FullText. It also introduced a policy to apply the most restrictive Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-ND) to accepted manuscripts against the spirit of many funder mandates and sitting uncomfortably alongside an embargo period. A statement has already been signed by many international organizations against the policy.

On 2 April 2015CERN and Elsevier announced that articles published by CERN authors Elsevier Physics journals that are not covered by the SCOAP3 Open Access initiative will now be Open Access. Thanks to this agreement, CERN results in fields such as nuclear physics, instrumentation, astroparticle physics and scientific computing will appear as Open Access articles, with copyright retained by CERN and its authors, and reuse determined by Creative Commons CC-BY licenses. This allows CERN to progress further towards its stated target of 100% ‘gold’ Open Access for all of its physics results as of 2015. This new agreement covers all articles with at least one author affiliated to CERN, published in 2015 and 2016 in the Elsevier journals: Nuclear Instruments and Methods A (link is external), Nuclear Physics A (link is external), Physics of the Dark Universe (link is external) and SoftwareX (link is external). These conditions have also been retroactively extended to eligible articles that were published in 2014 in the same journals. CERN and Elsevier, together with a consortium of thousands of libraries from all over the world, are already successfully cooperating in the SCOAP3 initiative (link is external), a separate agreement that has converted important scientific journals such as Elsevier’s Physics Letters B (link is external) and Nuclear Physics B (link is external) to Open Access at no cost for any author worldwide.

Enabling Environment:

The Berlin Declaration has been signed by 20 Dutch Institutions, including the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Association of Universities (VSNU) and of Universities of Applied Sciences (Vereniging Hogescholen), the Associ and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). 

NWO, the major Dutch research funder, pursues a strong OA policy, inter alia by providing a grants programme for the costs of author fees. OA to data is important for NOW as well. The website provides information and promotes OA. 

Utrecht Publishing and Archiving Services, (Igitur) and Amsterdam University Press are major OA publishers. AUP publishes scientific monographs via OAPEN

Potential Barriers:

  • Insufficient awareness of OA amongst individual researches; 
  • Only a minority of universities have an institutional mandate; 
  • Possible misunderstanding on issues of copyright and intellectual property. 
  • Only four universities have an OA fund.

Major Projects/Initiatives:

In April 2015, work translating the SHERPA/RoMEO interface into Dutch was completed and released while the translation of the publisher policies continues.  There is also a national website for Open Access supported by Utrecht University Library.

Keur der Wetenschap – free access to the scholarly output of the best Dutch scientist as a means to raise awareness. To read more about the project.

Data Seal of Approvalguidelines for good data repositories

Open Access Week in the Netherlands: 

KB international e-depot - digital repository for scientific publications with a specifically long-term perspective: 

Open Access Publishing in European Networks' (OAPEN) - freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

NARCIS - gateway to scholarly information in the Netherlands (universities): 

HBO kennisbank - public access to the results of research done by Dutch Universities of Applied Science. 

National and Institutional Level Policies/Mandates:

The Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences is in favor of Open Access but it lacks a specific Open Access policy in written form. 

In a letter dated 07.04.2011 State Secretary Zijlstra informed Parliament that the government approves of the OA policies of KNAW and NWO and supports these to the best of her abilities, conform the axiom that what is paid with public money should be publicly available. 

The Erasmus University Rotterdam and KNAW have an institutional mandate; Wageningen UR and VU University Amsterdam have thesis mandates. 

Details of Key Organizations:

SURF foundation
Overview: Collaborative organisation to promote effective and innovative use of technology in universities, research institutes and organisations.
Projects: SURFshare: aims to develop an infrastructure that will facilitate access to research information and make it possible for researchers to share scientific and scholarly information using latest ICT technology.

Communication address: SURFfoundation, Hojel City Center, building D (5th floor), Graadt van Roggenweg 340, 3531 AH UTRECHT, Netherlands; e info(at)

Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU)
Overview: Represents and promotes staff and activities in 14 research Universities: Delft University of Technology (TUD); Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe); University of Twente (UT); Wageningen University; Erasmus University Rotterdam; Leiden University; Maastricht University; Radboud University Nijmegen; Tilburg University; University of Amsterdam; University of Groningen; Utrecht University; VU University Amsterdam; Open Universiteit in the Netherlands.

Projects: OA Publishing agreement with Springer to make available articles by Dutch researchers in Springer journals will be made available Open Access, with author's approval.

Communication address: Vereniging van universiteiten, Lange Houtstraat 2, Postbus 13739, 2501 ES Den Haag, Netherlands; e-mail: post(at)

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Overview: NWO is the main funder of scientific research at universities and institutes through subsidies and research programmes. Participates in European association of the heads of research funding organisations and research performing organisations (EUROHORCs) and the European Science Foundation (ESF) as well as in their combined Roadmap. NWO has adopted the Gold OA programme for its funded research and where this is not possible, supports the Green OA programme. NWO has further mandated OA publishing through an “Incentive Fund Open Access” that assists organisations in making humanities research available through OA.
Projects:  NWO made 2, 5 million Euros available in 2010 for the support of OA which includes conversion of existing humanities journals to OA format.

Project web links: NWO and Open Access ; Incentive Fund Open Access - Journals in the Humanities

Communication address: P.O Box 93138 - NL2509 AC Den Haag, Netherlands; email: nwo(at)

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Overview: KNAW coordinates the work of 18 research institutes throughout the country in the humanities, social sciences, the life sciences and science and government policy. It serves as an advisory body to the Ditch government, KNAW does not have an OA mandate.

Projects: KNAW is involved in a number of projects aimed at facilitating access to research output. Two main initiatives are National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System (NARCIS): the national portal for those who are in search of information about researchers and their work and Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) to provide access to datasets by developing data infrastructures in organisations.

Communication address: P.O. Box 19121, NL-1000 GC Amsterdam, Netherlands; e-mail: knaw(at)

National Library of the Netherlands (KB)
Overview: KB is the national library of the Netherlands aiming to provide permanent access to everything published in and about the Netherlands.

Projects: There are a number of thematic project collections but no specific OA projects.

Communication address: Koninklijke Bibliotheek, P.O. Box 90407, 2509 LK Den Haag, Netherlands

Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) 

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) secretariat based in the Netherlands

Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) secretariat based in the Netherlands

Thematic Open Access projects/Initiatives

The National Library (KB) has a number of ongoing thematic projects in diverse areas. These include: Databank of Digital Daily newspapers covering key national, regional and colonial newspapers from (17th onwards; Dutch parliamentary papers; Early European Books; The Memory of the Netherlands: a digital collection of Dutch illustrations, photographs, texts, film and audio recordings.

Past and Future OA Related Activities:

October 2015: VU University Amsterdam: “Connecting research data: Best practices for data sharing and data reuse”. This was a FOSTER-supported training programme organized in partnership with EIFL with the aim of setting in place sustainable mechanisms for EU researchers to Foster Open Science. This was one of the 24 training programmes organized in 2015 for the the research communities of 17 other EU countries.

September 2015: Amsterdam will be hosting the 7th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing.

Open Access Week activities take place annually at HE institutions in Netherlands. Support for the promotion of open access is provided by SURF, the collaborative organisation for research universities, research institutes and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. All information on open access in the Netherlands can be found at:

Past events have included:

  • In 2009 “Open Access Doctors on Call” at Leiden University where library staff were available to help researchers upload publications to the university’s repository. As a result, more than 300 new scientific and scholarly publications were uploaded’.
  • Open Access T-shirts were also distributed at Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilberg University.  
  • In 2010, activities included OA slogans printed on plastic cups in all the coffee dispensers at Eindhoven University of Technology and a symposium on “How to write a world-class paper” at Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR).

25 September 2014: RECODE held its fifth workshop "Policy guidelines for open access and data preservation and dissemination workshop”. The workshop was held at the Meervart Conference Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

19 March 2013Articles are so 60's: New Models for Content Dissemination, Beyond the PDF2, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Open Science and Open Data Related Events

April 2016: Open Science Conference

The Netherlands is committed to OA to scientific publications and the best possible re-use of research data. 

The Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union called out for action in April 2016 to mitigate European Commission funded research to Open Science.

European Commissioner Carlos Moedas introduced the Open Science Cloudat the Conference. Also, During this meeting, The Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science was presented, a living document outlining concrete actions for the European Community to move to Open Science.

Participants shared views on:

  • The importance of a joint approach to Open Science in Europe;
  • Ways of speeding up the culture shift and transition to practices of Open Science;
  • How to bridge the gap between academia and society by sharing research findings in new ways;
  • What are the most promising scenarios for a sustainable OA infrastructure (for publications and data) to be developed in Europe?

The conference focused on fostering innovative initiatives in shaping scholarly communication and in bringing new users into the Open Science equation to increase societal impact. 

April 2016Symposium: Designing and shaping Open Science

This symposium was collectively organized by Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Groningen and the National Research Data Management Coordination Point.

It provided a dialogue platform for participants to debate on issues related to privacy and personal data protection, within the context of growing support for Open Science, data sharing and data re-use.

Starting from testimony on the Open Research Data Pilot in Horizon 2020, it explored the concept of 'Privacy by Design' as a possible way forward, and discussed the case of text and data-mining (TDM).

The Symposium turned towards developing an action plan regarding open data and privacy that fed into the Open Science Presidency Conference which was held in parallel in April in Amsterdam.

October 2015: Connecting research data: Best practices for data sharing and data reuse. 

This was a FOSTER-supported training programme organized in partnership with EIFL with the aim of setting in place sustainable mechanisms for EU researchers to Foster Open Science. This was one of the 24 training programmes organized in 2015 for the the research communities of 17 other EU countries.


List of Publications

30 August 2014: "On Open Access in The Netherlands" by Egon Willighagen posted on blog,  

5 March 2014: "The costs for going Gold in the Netherlands" posted on blog,

19 December 2013: "Open Access in the Netherlands: walking the golden road" by Tim Buiting

2009: report ‘Costs and Benefits of Research Communication: The Dutch Situation’.

Harnad, S (2010) On not putting the Gold OA-Payment Cart Before The Green OA-Provision Horse.

Houghton, J (2009) Open Access – What are the economic benefits?

UKB Survey of OA policy of Dutch Universities (in Dutch)

Van der Graaf & Waaijers Over kwaliteit van onderzoeksdata (in Dutch, with English summary):

Waaijers, L. The DARE Chronicle: Open Access to Research Results and Teaching Material in the Netherlands Ariadne Issue 53.



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