Dutch universities reach Open Access agreement with Elsevier
After a year of negotiations, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has reached an agreement with Elsevier about new ‘big deals’, subscriptions to scientific journals. By 2018, 30 percent of the Elsevier articles written by Dutch scientists have to be freely available, without a pay wall. Tilburg University president Koen Becking has handled the negotiations with publishers for the VSNU, together with his Nijmegen colleague Gerard Meijer.Elsevier is market leader in scientific publications. Until now, the publisher was reluctant to take away the pay walls on its content. The VSNU demanded Open Access, in accordance with the Dutch government’s wish. Today, all parties involved publish a statement, saying that Elsevier and the negotiaters “have reached an agreement in principle that marks a milestone in the Netherlands’ transition to Open Access scholarly publishing and provides Dutch researchers with continued subscription access to high-quality research.”
This means that scholars keep access to Elsevier journals and that for a selection of this journals, Open Access publishing will be possible. The government and university’s ultimate goal is complete Open Access publishing of Dutch scientific content by 2024. At the beginning of this year, president Koen Becking stated in Univers that he thought a fair deal could and needed to be agreed upon: “We are happy to do business with publishers on reasonable terms, but will not go along with unlimited cost increases.” Since then, the negotiators took steps in a limited boycott of Elsevier, to increase the pressure, resulting in the agreement we see today.