Multi-million-euro open science deal with Elsevier


THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutions have reached an agreement with the scientific publisher Elsevier on open access publishing and open science.

A joint announcement on the agreement was made this week. In December, the parties concluded a ‘framework agreement’ that required further elaboration. The resulting open access agreement, with a total value of more than 80 million euros, has now been finalised.

Dutch researchers can now publish their papers in 95 percent of Elsevier journals based on an open access policy. This means that their articles will be freely accessible to everyone, including interested parties not directly associated with the scientific community. The agreement will run until the end of 2024.

The Lancet excluded

Negotiations with Elsevier are ongoing as regards the remaining five percent of titles, which includes the renowned medical journal The Lancet, although the open access agreement does cover some related journals (such as The Lancet Public Health and The Lancet Microbe).

Agreements on open science have also been made with Elsevier. The objective of open science is to strive for as much openness as possible at all stages of scientific research, so that not just the results but also the underlying data and considerations are made publicly accessible.


The Netherlands wants all publicly funded research to be accessible to everyone free of charge. The European Union shares this aim. Scientific publishers such as Elsevier, who derive revenues from subscriptions, had long mounted a strong campaign of resistance to open science. In addition, they own the most renowned journals, and this is where researchers prefer to publish their work.

When it comes to open access and open science, the revenue model is reversed: you don’t pay to read, but to publish. So, instead of subscription fees, the publisher receives publication fees, enabling many more people to gain access.

HOP, Bas Belleman

Translation: Taalcentrum-VU