Bas Savenije, Director General of the National Library of the Netherlands, reports to the Dutch press on Open Access to Scientific Publications
By Warna Oosterbaan, NRC Handelsblad, 1 August 2009, p. 1
NRC Weekblad: p. 18-21
Scientists who receive subsidies from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) must make their scientific publications available on the internet. That is the view of prominent library directors and scientists. Minister Plasterk (Science, PvdA) agrees with them on “the principle that all research funded by public money should be accessible to everyone.”
Each year NWO distributes 550 million Euros of public money, being the main funder of scientific research in the Netherlands. Only people working at a university have access to the publications. In general, publishers of scientific journals do not allow for articles published on the Internet to be accessible to all.
Bas Savenije, director general of the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) in The Hague, and former director of Utrecht University says “if health centres and GPs asked me ‘can you give us access to recent scientific literature’ I must tell them that the scientific publishers do not allow us to. It would be wonderful if we were able to grant access to patient associations, college programmes, training centres and SMEs”. Savenije wants NWO to grant their subsidies on the condition that scientific publications are accessible.” It is public money that they distribute.”
Lex Bouter, medical researcher and now Dean of the Vrije Universiteit (Open University), states that ‘what is financed with public funds should reach the public domain.”
NWO does not set the condition of public access. In other countries important research financiers do so, including the U.S. National Health Institutes. The European Commission and the European Research Council also demand open access. NWO has made it known “in principle to be in favour of open access”.