Open Science

NWO is of the opinion that research results paid for by public funds should be freely accessible worldwide. This applies to both scientific publications and other forms of scientific output. In principle, it must be possible to share research data with others as well. This allows valuable knowledge to be used by researchers, companies and public organisations.

Open Access Publishing

The Internet has radically changed the possibility to disseminate scientific knowledge. Open access aims to make the outcomes of scientific research freely accessible worldwide for everybody. Open access increases the impact of research results. Open access publications are easier to find and are more likely to be cited. Open access also ensures that public organisations and companies have access to the most recent scientific insights.

The routes

Open access publication has different forms. Two routes are usually distinguished. Publication via the gold route means that publications are immediately and freely accessible online for everybody via the platform of a publisher, this is usually via academic journals. Publishers sometimes charge for this: article processing charges (APCs). Hybrid is a variant of gold open access. Traditional subscription journals permit authors to make their publication open access in return for a fee. The green route assumes that the author archives the article in a repository. That can be the repository of the university or a discipline-specific repository.

NWO's open access policy

The Dutch government has set the objective that by 2018 60%, and by 2020 100% of scientific publications funded with public money must be published in open access form. NWO's granting conditions therefore state that all publications emerging from research it funds must be directly accessible via open access at the moment of publication. NWO does not accept any embargo periods for this. Publications are understood to mean peer-reviewed and other articles as well as books (monographs, edited volumes, proceedings and chapters).

Publication costs eligible for funding

As of 1 January 2018, it has not been possible to seek funding for the costs of open access publishing via the NWO Open Access Fund. Instead, these costs have been included in the budget of the project proposal as part of the module ‘material credit’. This budget is intended for costs related to realising the project. For each scientific position within the project, a maximum of €15,000 per year can be applied for. Within this budget, only publication costs via full gold open access will be remunerated. The costs of publishing in hybrid journals will not be remunerated.

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has concluded so-called offsetting deals with a large number of scientific publishers (including Springer, Wiley and SAGE). With these deals, the universities collectively purchase the open access publication costs for Dutch researchers, and researchers employed at Dutch universities can publish their articles open access free of charge or for a reduced fee. This also applies to publications that emerge from research funded by NWO. An open access journal browser has been developed for researchers who want to know which journals these arrangements apply to. Further news about negotiations can be found on the website, which is maintained by VSNU, NWO SURF and UKB (collaboration between the Dutch university libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands).

Conditions for open access publication

Research funded by NWO should be published in open access form. NWO prefers the gold route. If that is not possible, then NWO permits self-archiving. The following conditions apply:

  • If gold open access is chosen, then the journal must be included in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
  • If self-archiving is chosen, then the publication should be placed in a trusted repository.
    NWO considers all repositories that are included in the Directory of Open Access Repositories to be trusted repositories. Refer to the Sherpa/Romeo database for the embargoed periods that publishers adopt in this. Since 2015, the Dutch Copyright Contract Act offers every researcher in the Netherlands the right to make his or her articles open access after a ‘reasonable period’ if these articles emerged from research funded entirely or in part by Dutch public funds.
  • NWO requires publications that emerge from research it has funded to be available in open access form at the moment of publication (zero months). If this gives rise to a conflict between researchers and publishers, then NWO is prepared to play a mediating role. Furthermore, many publishers permit archiving of preprint and post-print versions.

Other conditions

Researchers are asked to state their publications in the final report of the project and to indicate which of these articles have been published in open access form. Researchers are also required to state their publications in ISAAC.

With each publication or presentation, researchers are also requested to state the support received from NWO as follows:

‘Funded by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO): <project number>’.

Enforcement and monitoring

The requirement to publish in open access form is an integral part of the NWO Grant Rules. A researcher's failure to comply with this can have consequences for the determination of the grant and the final settlement. NWO will test compliance with the open access policy on a random basis.


Hans de Jonge (Policy officer Open science and Quality) Hans de Jonge (Policy officer Open science and Quality) +31 (0)70 3494388


Olivier Morot (spokesperson) Olivier Morot (spokesperson) t: +31 (0)6 53175377