Across the border

"Ladies and gentlemen, from publications, to data, to software, to educational resources: opening up can help in all fields of research!"

Neelie Kroes, speech open access conferentie Berlin 2013

Open access doesn’t stop at the border. Scholarship is (and always has been) international and so too is open access, which is all about having access to the results of research. Initiatives in one country are taken up by, and have implications for, other countries. The switch to open access won’t be successful and sustainable until all countries have made the transition to open access publishing. That is why it is so important to keep abreast of key developments occurring abroad in this area.

Below is an overview of international open access initiatives that are highly relevant to the Netherlands.

European Union

The European Union supports open science and open access. Neelie Kroes, former vice-president of the European Commission and EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, was a great champion of open access. Researchers with grants from the Horizon 2020 programme are obliged to publish in open access, including grants of the European Research Council

OpenAIRE is a European open access initiative involving all the countries of Europe. Funded by the European Union, OpenAIRE supports EU policy on open access, initially for publications and since 2011 for research data as well. OpenAIRE provides an infrastructure (a portal where open access publications can be found) and helps researchers to publish in open access. The portal now contains over 17 million open access documents and 31,000 datasets. Since 2015, TU Delft and Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) has been the contact points for OpenAIRE in the Netherlands National Open Access Desk - NOAD). OpenAIRE aspires to become an established European institution.

The European Research Council (ERC) is joining forces with OAPEN to ensure open access to research funded by the ERC. They are keen to ensure open access to peer reviewed monographs and edited collections. Open access is no longer an option for new ERC grantees, it’s a legal obligation.

Launched in 2012, Pasteur4OA (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) helps EU countries and institutions to develop policy on open access. The project was finished in 2016 with a conference.

 

United States

Open access is widely supported in the United States. Since 2008 the National Institute of Health (NIH) has made it mandatory for the results of medical research funded by NIH to be made publicly available after a period of 12 months. In February 2013 the US government announced its policy that such a requirement should apply to all results of publicly funded research. Prestigious universities such as Harvard, Princeton and MIT conduct a pro open access policy (known as a ‘green mandate’), whereby their researchers are required to deposit their articles in the university’s repository.

United Kingdom

In 2012 the British government adopted the recommendations of the Finch Report, issued by the National Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings. This marked an important step on the road to open access. The Finch Report came out strongly in favour of the ‘golden road’, or publishing in open access journals. RCUK (Research Councils UK), a major research funder, subsequently formulated additional policy for funding the costs of open access publication (APCs). There was of course some criticism of the choice of the golden road. Although the Finch Group still adheres to the golden road, it recognises the important role played by the green road in the transition towards open access. The UK policy was a source of inspiration for the Dutch open access policy (in Dutch) and the Netherlands and the UK are working together on advancing open access. In spring 2015 State Secretary Dekker and his British counterpart Greg Clark wrote a non-paper on this collaboration, entitled ‘Open access to publications and data’.

Germany

Like the NWO in the Netherlands, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in Germany is a supporter of open access publishing. The Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG), Germany’s main research organisation, laid the foundations for the Berlin Declaration on Open Access. In the spring of 2015 MPG published an authoritative article on the transition to open access, which prompted Dutch libraries to organise a meeting on the subject in June 2015. Successful Open Access Tage are held each year in Germany and the German open access website provides a wealth of information on open access.

Other countries

Not all national initiatives can be listed here, but here are some notable examples:

  • The University of Liege in Belgium is an institution where full ‘green’ open access has been highly successful.

  • In Austria, national research funder FWF conducts a progressive open access policy.

UNESCO’s Global Open Access Portal (GOAP) provides an extensive (and fairly current) overview of all the open access initiatives across the various regions and countries.

International initiatives

The following are important international initiatives:

  • The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark and Finland are working together in the Knowledge Exchange to promote open access. Open access ranks high on the agenda in all five countries, which share knowledge and experiences within the Knowledge Exchange. That knowledge is also shared outside the Knowledge Exchange through workshops and publications.

  • The League of European Research Universities (LERU), a group of 20 leading research universities, is a major proponent of open access. In 2011 LERU published the Roadmap towards Open Access, which many institutions use as a guideline in implementing their own open access.

  • Key organisations involving libraries, traditionally the drivers behind open access, are LIBER, the organisation of European research universities, and SPARC and SPARC Europe. Ways in which they support open access include international workshops on open access and routinely exercising their influence to raise key issues at an international level. LIBER was the driving force behind The Hague Declaration, which has since been signed by many international organisations and which calls for changes to intellectual property legislation to make information accessible on a larger scale.

  • COAR (Coalition of Open Access Repositories) operates in the area of the green road (open access via repositories). COAR is committed to improving the interoperability of repositories, so that their content can be better shared.

  • UNESCO also supports open access as it contributes to the worldwide dissemination and exchange of knowledge.

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Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research

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