Dutch research institutions and Elsevier initiate world’s first national Open Science partnership

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The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), The Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU), The Dutch Research Council (NWO) and Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, have formed a novel partnership that includes publishing and reading services as well as the joint development of new open science services for  disseminating and evaluating knowledge. The partnership runs until 31 December 2024.

In December 2019, the research institutions and Elsevier signed a framework agreement. During the past four months, both parties carefully developed this into a unique agreement. In parallel the Dutch Research Institutions established an independent expert Taskforce on responsible management of research information and data to determine the conditions and rules under which metadata of public research output can be (re)used and enriched by all public and private organizations. Following the advice of the Taskforce, a set of collaboration principles was agreed, including data ownership (researchers and/or institutions own their own research data), enduring access to data and metadata, vendor neutrality, interoperability, and institutional discretion on the use of the services. 

This has led to the agreement that VSNU, NFU, NWO and Elsevier are pleased to announce today, and which comprises:

  1. Open Access Publishing and Reading services. This is a national deal that covers reading rights to quality, peer-reviewed content across Elsevier’s extensive portfolio of journals and supports the aim of 100% open access publishing for all members of the consortium. From today, 95% of Dutch articles published in Elsevier journals can be made immediately open access through this agreement. The vast majority of Elsevier’s journals already offer an immediate open access option and, as part of this agreement, the company has committed to work towards immediate open access options across all remaining titles.
  2. Open Science Services for Research Intelligence and Scholarly communication. Elsevier will work with the Dutch partners to co-develop new services that help disseminate and evaluate knowledge. The parties will undertake a number of pilot projects to refine and adapt these services to meet the needs of the Dutch Research Institutions and to support the broader ambition of public engagement with science. These pilots will be conducted according to the collaboration principles as mentioned above.

Chief-negotiator/President of Delft University of Technology Tim van der Hagen said: “This deal is a breakthrough in our ambition for 100% open access in the Netherlands and a prelude to a public knowledge base for information about scientific output.”

NWO President Stan Gielen said: “Enabling Open Access to research results has been a core mission for NWO since 2003. This agreement is a giant step in our collective ambition to provide 100% Open Access for all publicly funded research in the Netherlands. It is fully aligned with the principles of Plan S and a major breakthrough for open science in general.”

NFU / CEO of Amsterdam UMC Hans Romijn, said: “This is definitely a game changing agreement in open access publishing in medicine from both national and international perspectives, considering the large impact and the volume of Elsevier journals. This will certainly contribute considerably to the advancement of research, and, most importantly, better treatments for our patients.” 

Kumsal Bayazit, CEO of Elsevier, said: “This agreement, the first of its kind globally, is a testament to the forward-thinking nature of the Dutch research community. We are delighted to partner with the Dutch community in advancing science and health outcomes through more open, reproducible and collaborative scholarly communication and knowledge systems.”

Philippe Terheggen, Managing Director, Elsevier Journals, added: “This collaboration underscores our firm commitment to open and frictionless access to knowledge by everyone. Almost all our journals already offer immediate open access options and we are working to find a sustainable path for extending this to all our titles.”