The Netherlands is undergoing rapid growth in the field of open access, which is being recognised across the globe. This rapid growth is the result of a unique approach, inspired and supported by other national and international organisations.
In October 2014, I stated that although the Netherlands is not alone, I am confident our country is leading the way towards open access. It is up to you to be the judge of this, as you read through this e zine. Dutch universities have together taken great steps towards enabling open access to scientific articles for everyone. Contracts with large publishing houses have been concluded whereby the articles of our researchers can now be openly accessed online, at no extra cost. More and more publishers are willing to make the switch to open access publishing. Some publishers want to make the switch right away, while others are willing to do so in smaller steps. Our neighbouring countries are benefiting from the road that we have taken in the Netherlands. It helps them to make progress in the field of open access and, conversely, it helps the Netherlands to continue to develop. This reciprocity is necessary, because not all publishers are convinced that the time has come for open access. The Dutch presidency of the EU can help to stimulate its development across Europe.
I read and hear many opinions about the path the VSNU has embarked on together with other stakeholders. There are critical questions about the cost and the differences between disciplines. However, the principle of open access is not in dispute. Its social importance is too great for this to be an issue. After all, we know that many citizens are already consulting open access medical journals, for example. It demonstrates how dynamic the field of open access is and shows that there are many possible applications in the future. There is still a way to go, but I am confident that open access will strengthen the link between science and society!
President of the VSNU