Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
21 June 2024

Science
& Education

Open access now also available for old publications

Scientists from VU Amsterdam can also provide access to their old publications to everyone. All they need to do is give permission, everything else will be arranged by the University Library.

All those open access deals that are now being arranged with scientific magazines usually apply from the moment the deal was made. But older publications are often just as valuable for non-scientists.

“Copyright for the articles belongs to the researchers, says Sander Bosch, open science coordinator for the university library. “Five years ago an amendment was added to the Copyright Act that makes it possible to open up publications older than six months, regardless of the demands of the publishers. We now plan to facilitate this.”

No lawsuits

Last year the Association of Universities in the Netherlands used the pilot programme You Share, We Take Care to find out whether making old publications accessible would lead to lawsuits, but this did not happen. Now every university can get started on it. “We have decided to appropriate our own grey area”, says Bosch. “But publishers know that the open access storm cannot be stopped. If they decide to take action against this decision, they’ll only end up hurting their own reputations.”

Due to the fact that it is quite a lot of work to track down old publications, the University Library has decided to begin by opening all publications from 1 January 2018 to scientists who sign up for it. Bosch explains: “We want to move to 100% open access. As scientists we have been spoiled because we can easily access whatever we want, but if you are not employed by a university you can currently only access half of all VU Amsterdam publications. Universities in developing countries are also often unable to pay expensive subscription fees.”

Multiple routes

The articles of VU Amsterdam scientists will be added to the VU Amsterdam research portal. This portal is linked to the national science database Narcis. Narcis is indexed by Google, so the open access publications will be shown in the hit list.

Bosch emphasises that there are multiple routes to open access. “This is useful for articles more than six months old. But sometimes funding bodies require that articles are immediately publicly accessible. The University Library is now working on policy for the various access routes.”

More information about You Share, We Take Care at VU Amsterdam can be found on the University Library website.

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