The success of scientific research depends, to an important degree, on access to scientific information. Thanks to increasing digitalisation, the possibilities for information access have been strongly improved, but the possibility of free access (Open Access) to information is far from being common place.
In the last years, Open Access has received a lot of attention. Many organisations worldwide – including all Dutch universities, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) – have signed the Berlin Declaration. In doing so, they have indicated that they actively want to encourage Open Access of scientific information. Open Access aims at improving and encouraging the spread of knowledge. This enhances the efficiency of propagating scientific information and of the investments in scientific research.
Open Access has two scenarios:
- The Green Road/Repositories: through an "institutional Repository" (IR) in which full-text, peer-reviewed publications by authors affiliated with the institution are archived (also called self-archiving)
- The Golden Road/Open Access journals: these are electronic journals that are accessible free-of-charge to the reader/subscriber; the costs are covered in another way.
The working group Open Access from the Dutch university libraries and the KB have formulated a proposal for the consultation of the rectors involved:
Starting now, the Dutch universities – supported by the NWO, the KNAW and the National Library of the Netherlands will make a joint effort to make research that has been financed with public funds publicly accessible without restrictions. In their endeavour, the 'Green Road' will serve as the starting basis for the policy at all universities, but publishers will also be actively urged to adopt Open Access as the new model.