Netherlands - Open science country note

Open science and the national context

The Netherlands differentiates between open data and open access to (scientific) data.

Policies regarding open access to data are developed as part of the “Vision on the Future of Science” that the Netherlands Government published in the fall of 2014.

Open science research and innovation actors

The Ministries of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministry of Economic Affairs are the main actors in science and innovation policies.

1)         Research councils and funding agencies

a) The Dutch research council NWO  (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) (

b) Royal Academy of Arts and Science (

2)         Government departments

a) Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (

b) Ministry of Economic Affairs (                    

3)         Higher education institutions 

Universities (VSNU – Association of Universities in the Netherlands) (

Universities of Applied Sciences (

4)         Public research organisations

National Library of the Netherlands (

       5)  Business actors, such as publishers and other multinational companies (see Section 3). 

Open science and business sector actors

The Netherlands hosts several major scientific publishers, including Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer and Springer. The publishers have developed open access business models and are willing to co-operate with the Dutch Government in pursuing the transition from a licence-based business model to the gold model.

Policy design- Open/increasing access to scientific publications

The State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science set out a policy on open access to scientific publications in a letter to Parliament in November 2013 ( The results of publicly funded scientific research should be made freely available without reservation. Through open access, public sectors such as health and education as well as the private sector can profit from the latest insights gained from scientific research. The State Secretary’s position is based on the conviction that open access is beneficial to science but also to society at large and the economy. Within 5 years, 60% of all scientific publications (33 000 articles a year at present) should be available through open access, and 100% in 10 years. A monitoring system will be set up in order to evaluate progress in open access publishing. The State Secretary expressed preference for the golden road for open access and highlighted the need of international cooperation.

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has made open access one of its flagship policies ( Nationally and internationally, NWO aims to have authors finance publications in order to make them freely available. Researchers are obliged to publish in open access when they are funded by NWO. The Council is co-owner of data generated from research funded by it. NWO has funds available for open access publishing.

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (Vereniging Nederlandse Universiteiten, VSNU) has made open access the prime topic for future negotiations with scientific publishers. VSNU will use the occasion of renewing major deals with publishers to come to agreements on open access publishing. VSNU has made a strong appeal to Dutch researchers to publish in open access.   

Open science and international co-operation

The State Secretary wants to accelerate the process of open access publishing through international co-operation. At present, the Government is working together with the United Kingdom on a position paper on open access.

As mentioned above, an international task force under ERAC is in place with the focus on open access to (innovation) data. The State Secretary has also made open science the main priority for the Dutch EU Presidency of 2016. 

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