Open access is not just a Dutch affair. To make progress, it is essential that other countries and individual institutions make similar arrangements with publishers as in the Netherlands. ‘There will then come a point where the current publishing system is no longer needed’, predicts Robert van der Vooren, open access project coordinator at the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).
The open-access agreements with Springer, Elsevier, Sage and Wiley are a milestone in the Dutch struggle for open access. But the battle is not over yet. More will be needed if we are to achieve the ambition of State Secretary Dekker (100% open access by 2024). Van der Vooren: ‘This is why we are still actively negotiating with other publishers. It is necessary to continue to make progress in the agreements with both the major and smaller publishing houses. If we continue to achieve results, we will remain on track.’
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It is important to note that around two per cent of all publications of research findings annually is from the Netherlands. More will be needed to provide a significant push forward towards open access on a global scale. Van der Vooren: ‘We need to reach the tipping point, which is the moment that publishers will be forced to transform the old publishing models. This will only work if the rest of the world joins in.’
According to Van der Vooren, it is essential that other countries and individual universities reach meaningful open-access agreements with scientific publishers, similar to those that have been made in the Netherlands. ‘The demand for open access publications will then increase globally, and at a certain point, the old publishing models will no longer be needed.’
According to Van der Vooren, what will most certainly help is a very strong lobby in Europe. ‘The Netherlands will hold the EU presidency for several months, as of January 2016. Open access will be high on the agenda during that period. This will be a unique opportunity to give the open access movement a huge boost.’
In addition, it is important to continue to learn from each other. Van der Vooren: ‘For example, the Max Planck Society has developed an open access roadmap, which every country and university can use to get started right away.’
It is up to the Netherlands to share its own success story across the globe. Van der Vooren: ‘All eyes are on us. We can inspire others with what we have achieved and the story behind it. And we, in turn, can learn from what is happening in countries around us. We look forward to the many surprising developments that will occur across the globe, which will propel open access forward in leaps and bounds.’