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Posts tagged open access

Trying to make the best out of it

Three months have passed in 2018, three hectic months, where I combined two roles. Besides being Library Director at TU Delft, I also started as Program Manager Open Access at the VSNU.
In the past weeks we launched the 3rd E-zine, concluded some negotiations, and are preparing for the renegotiations with Elsevier. It is a lot of (extra) work, which I of course expected and accepted, because this is a nice time to be heavily involved in the transition to a world where open access is the default.

I cannot agree more with Richard Poynder, who in his latest blog describes the necessity to have not only accessibility and affordability, but also transparency in the open access deals. And as one of his “well-intentioned people” I must admit that our Dutch approach is bringing us (a lot of) open access, but is not yet solving all these parameters, and surely not at once.

After my “100 days” period, I would like to make some observations. The first is one I also made last year when I was main author of the National Plan Open Science in the Netherlands. I wrote about the compromise we had to make, given the time constraint, by making the writing process open in a limited way. Not exactly the “open” I normally have in mind when talking about transparency.

Another observation relates to the issues VSNU brings up in its E-zine. “..the road to open access may require a number of different routes..” or “VSNU will develop an application of the right to open access as referred to in the Copyright Act (Taverne Amendment, clause included in 2015)”, and “An open infrastructure for open access appears to offer a suitable solution in this regard..”. The examples of research(ers) in charge that are given, are also indicative. ScholarlyHub, SciPost and the upcoming EU publishing platform (here is the tender that was recently published) are put in the spotlight.

The VSNU roadmap to open access was launched on 7 March 2018.

Finally, in the article my colleague Library Director of the University of Amsterdam (Maria Heijne) and I wrote we forecast next steps and conclusions: “Even so, the results should be seen not as the end point, but as part of a full trajectory, because eventually we want to unlock the ‘library license budgets’ and use them for new promising initiatives, such as LingOA, OLH and Knowledge Unlatched .. Other elements of this trajectory are discussions with the smaller publishing houses, and attention to disciplines with output other than mainly journal articles or that face problems in the transition period.”

So all-in-all we can and will only continue in what we have been doing so far, and that is collaborating with colleagues from abroad (e.g. in the EUA working groups) or teaming up with the current Spring “Compact” clients and keeping our principles on top of the table. In our road the coming years we intend to get in negotiations with open access publishers, to arrange “green” open access for disciplines which the current publication deals fail to cover, and we will investigate what the publication platforms bring “into the equation”.

The coming weeks (months, if necessary) we will be opening up as much information as possible of the recently closed deals on, hopefully providing a lot of answers the community has about the Springer and OUP ones. The news about these deals was spread very quickly after we agreed that there is mutual ground (because it is essential our research community is informed). However, contract details still need to be settled. In every contract settlement we add lessons learned. That can be issues related to text and data mining, the upcoming GDPR, workflow improvement, reporting requirements and obviously disclosure of the financial paragraph (and that is in fact a negotiation in itself). To give an idea, our first Springer “Compact” contract was signed almost 10 months after reaching our outline agreement.

Concluding with something I also took with me from the writing process of last year. “Beware of that demon called ‘Changing The World’” (a quote by Marty Rubin). We are no heroes, we are no villains, we try to make the best of it.

Ending 2017 with Open

On 5 december I attended the London Information Info. Mainly because I promised to speak about the National Plan Open Science (more or less the same talk as I had at Visby). There were a few observations I made walking around at the not-so-crowded venue that I would like to share in this blog.

Ziyad Marar of Sage Publishing referred to a FOO Camp they organize together with O’Reilly and Facebook – the first social sciences FOO camp connecting social scientists with data scientists. Sage obviously moves from an interest to content to an interest in tooling for researchers. Their mission is “by social scientists for social scientists”. They question themselves how they can become more supportive of research.

In the panel “whose research is it anyway” I particpated together with amongst others Phil Jones (from Digital Science) and Sybil Wong (Sparrho). An interesting part of the discussion was brought up by Phil. We should realize that journals are still mainly connected to the vertical colons university faculties once were. With the societal challenges research is more grouped into multidisciplinary coalitions and the traditional journals do not fit here. (Note that in one of the parallel vendor sessions Springer Nature talked about their Grand Challenges Program.) Sybil told us that the target group she worked with (early career researchers) often were frustrated by the fact that research was put into cages, where they preferred to work in the open and share. Her contribution in relation to the discussion about traditional journals was also interesting. She mentioned that these journals have a limited aims&scope and are often very biased within their peer review community: new research always needs to fit in. That was a reason for her to appreciate the way peer review is done at PloS – where quality focuses on methodology, and less on the “content”. The panel session was in fact on the topic of ownership. We all felt that this would become less important, or as an Elsevier representative said: “we are moving from copyright&ownership to credit&control”. The question that remained was that if ownership is not something you get a return on investment on, what is the economic value in future (for the scholarly publisher)? Interestingly we all agreed that the role of libraries as guardians of metadata remains or even expands.

I found this “christmas tree of barrels” at the tube stations in London. At TU Delft Library we have a homemade christmas tree of books this year!

After an intermezzo by Alfred Rolington (Cyber security intelligence) about the 4th digital revolution, who asked us all to be far more aware of the social consequences in this revolution than we have been before, the open science / open future session started. Rosalind Smyth (from UCL Institute of Child Health) has been involved in Open access for quite some time (she served for 10 years at the PLoS Board). Her institute will be the first academic institute adopting the open research platform. She is convinced she will seduce her researchers to use it, but she will not keep her academics from publishing in Nature. The platform is fast, inclusive, open, reproducible and transparent, contains living articles and open peer review. Hannah Hope from Wellcome Trust also expanded on their open research platform. The first results show that new opportunities are fully used now (with software notes and datasets in the top 5).

Enough interesting stuff there to be happy I got there on a one-day visit. Fiona Bradley (RLUK) mentioned a detail that I shared with more people last week, i.e., that more and more people only get to Internet via Facebook nowadays. But perhaps even better to refer here to the paper Erin C. McKiernan recently published in PloS Biology on the “open” university. I still have to take time to read this more thoroughly. She touches on so many relevant things a researcher, an institute, or a funder can do to be open (and probaly also a Library director in Delft). And reminds us on the why of having open scholarship: to be more inclusionary, to increase the societal impact of your research; to accelerate the pace of discovery and addressing the reproducibility crisis. She gives good examples where research has been shared, and she outlines her own personal pledge:

As an open scholar, I pledge to:

  1. edit and review only for open access journals,
  2. publish only in open access journals,
  3. openly share my working manuscripts as preprints,
  4. openly share my code and data under version control,
  5. openly share my electronic laboratory notebooks,
  6. sign my manuscript reviews,
  7. preferentially assign openly licensed materials in my classes,
  8. create openly licensed teaching materials,
  9. ask my professional societies to support open scholarship,
  10. speak out in support of open scholarship.

A perfect example to follow!

Better data, better decisions

I first thought that this was my fourth RDA Plenary, but I think it was my fifth, from Göteborg, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, now to Montreal.

RDA is not a normal conference, with a division between plenary lectures and parallel sessions in blocks of thematic topics. No, it is all about birds-of-a-feather sessions, interest groups or working groups, depending on the status (approved of) and maturity of the group. You need to select what groups or sessions to attend, surely if you are not personally involved in one of these groups.

Is open science starting a revolution? I went to the museum of fine arts to see what happened in the sixties.

That is why the morning session of the second day (I missed the first day because of the DataCite Board Meeting, and a meet-up with Stephanie Gagnon from University of Montreal) was useful for me. It was a quick overview of working groups, being in the middle or at the end of their 18-month period. I bring a few things home to @tudelftlibrary colleagues, e.g.

  • Datacubes, dataarrays – is that something we are working with? For me these were new words, but I am of course not a datalibrarian.
  • Take a look at
  • Materials Resource Registries (to make it easier to find and share resources about materials science). Examples at
    Note that the software can easily be used for other disciplines. Of course this draws my interest, being a materials science engineer myself.
  • David Wilcox with his research data repository interoperability group is looking for adopters.
  • Anne E Thessen is improving the metadata schema so that curation history can easily be found, and curators can get credit, and valuable work does not need to be repeated (but can be found).

After the Library session (where I presented our RISE self-assessment on behalf of our own Library Research Data Services group), I attended the Make Data Count BOF session. A lot of our colleagues from DataCite were there. Interesting and useful work, i.e., to develop a hub for all data level metrics, so that usage tracking is made easier, throughout all research communities. The first draft COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data has been created and is open for comments. I invite everybody to give their input to this valuable work.

On the third and last day I attended the interest group on education and training for research data handling. There was an overview of available courses and training for support staff on research data handling, or for engaging or guiding the researchers. It was obvious by the eight or some brief talks that there is so much out there, that our own proposal (from Ellen Verbakel @tudelftlibrary together with Irina Kuchina @EIFL) to create a data supporter curriculum, that is based on the research life cycle, seems wise. We want to define the learning goals and competences for the data supporter. The idea is to develop a more unified education, where all the current and present education and training on handling of research data is taken into account. And by the way a tip for ourselves, we should not bypass the Library Carpentry efforts, because here real hands-on work is being stimulated. After reviewing the content of existing courses, we would like to identify and describe the modules missing in these courses. After that we will need to define what modules are mandatory in a course for data supporters. We will also consider the thought of bringing in different levels, a question asked at the workshop. Perhaps I should consider doing a Library carpenter training myself!?

The theme of the conference was “better data, better decisions”. 100% true of course, the better we describe and maintain the data we preserve, the better findable, interoperable and reusable they are, and by doing so every user, also the data producer, can make better decisions.
I mentioned my meeting with Stephanie Gagnon. Talking about better data and better decisions. I read about the big deal cancellations in this blog, and our license manager Marina Lebedeva contacted Stephanie. Being in Montreal was too much of a coincidence, and it was very nice to talk to her. Going through her presentation says it all. From downloads, citations and mentions you can end up with essential journals per discipline for your institute, and that should be the basis of your negotiations. We promised to stay in touch, to enter open access in the equation in Canada/Montreal. Montreal has a good press at the moment in relation to open science, so I am pretty hopeful we will be able to join forces.

Making open science the new reality

The National Plan Open Science has been presented, and the National Platform Open Science and website have been launched, as we had planned for, on 9 February 2017. It was great to have been able to play a part in this.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for me was finding the balance between being the neutral writer (because the Plan is a joint effort, and expresses the ambitions of the responsible coalitions, not mine) and the Librarian with an opinion (which I obviously have).

We have delivered fourteen concrete ambitions related to 100% open access for scientific publications (created via public funding) per 2020; optimal reuse of research data; implementing a broader view on the way research and researchers are assessed and rewarded; and promoting and supporting open science.

It was great that all Parties involved created responsible coalitions per ambition, and the collectivity that is needed for this, is perhaps one of the major achievements during the creation of this Plan. I said it before “I am, because we are”.


I like to share in this weblog just a few of the things that came along, but were too difficult to grasp at this moment, or were not big enough to make it into an ambition:

  • Could we give credit to researchers who start new research based on existing research data (and thus stimulate reuse)?
  • How could we stimulate researchers to cite data(sets) as part of their reference lists?
  • What would it mean if we would say: “if we invest in science, it needs to be open science”?
  • An event for researchers to present all available infrastructure and tools is one thing, but do not forget to involve administrators and managers, and also those working in HR, Finance and ICT.
  • All articles submitted are first routed to the research library > here the open access policy of the journal selected is checked, taken care of the right sort of license, and the final version after publishing is stored in the institutional repository. Is that a crazy thought?

Take some time to read our National Plan, and have a look at our website. Let us know if you have ideas, comments, or would like to participate in the Platform. We need each other to make open science the new reality.


There are many people I could thank, but these are the most important ones: our wonderful writing team!

Our own shade of open

Another update in the writing process of the national plan open science for The Netherlands. The good news is that we have drafted our first version and discussed this with a group of stakeholders during a second creative session. Just wait a bit, and weeks will become days will become hours, and it will be a second that our plan reaches its audience.

It is not yet that second. I can tell a bit more, though, about our approach and steps.

Creative sessions
We read, and talked, watched and listened, as I mentioned in my first weblog. Obviously the Council Conclusions and the Amsterdam Call for Action on open science form a strong basis. The first tuning of our findings took place on 7 December 2016, where we met with a group of twenty-some people in the Hive room at TU Delft Library. A wonderful report was made by Marina Noordegraaf. We found it important that we made a strong visual report, so that regardless of the result at the end, each step is worth the effort. Of course this session was, though an important one, only one of the many inputs to our plan. At this first session we took the scientific process as the central point, and all people present plotted their current and future actions on the several phases of the process.
This gave us valuable input – we could make overviews of both, i.e., of current and future actions. We used the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to write down a 60% version of the plan. The plan starts of course with the definition and context of open science, and ends with what will happen next after finalizing the plan early February. The middle part is the most important part: there we show what The Netherlands are doing at this moment and what we will be doing the coming years to open up the scientific process.
On 11 January 2017 we had a second meeting, with more or less the same group. Here we took the future actions and discussed why they are needed (the problem) and what they will solve (the solution), who would be action holder and the estimated time line. We had an active discussion. We learned that people preferred to talk about ambitions instead of actions, and about a coalition instead of action holders. We are now in the middle of finalizing these ambitions with the stakeholders involved.


11 January 2017 – The Hive @tudelftlibrary.

“No pressure, no diamonds”. Having three months in total for composing our national plan means that we have to make choices. Every choice is a direction, so it is good to make choices, and by doing so to make progress. One of the choices, of course upon consultation with our supervisor Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, was to involve (semi-) public stakeholders only. The people attending our creative sessions were from higher education- and research institutes, their libraries, funding bodies, the national library, research data centres, ICT and research(ers) organisations. Besides these, we have spoken with (representatives from) private companies, their confederation (VNO-NCW), the international organisation of STM publishers, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), Business Europe and consulted several individuals (such as researchers, teachers and health care workers) to get inspiration or answers. However, the plans or ambitions of the latter group for open science will not be covered in our national plan. The plan is the start, though, of a process where other bodies and stakeholders need to be involved.

Talking about open science is talking about researchers, so how are they involved? In the Plan, the ambition is written down to organize a researcher-targeted conference on open science later in the year. For now we have (apart from the larger higher education- and research institutes) researchers involved via DJA (The Young Academy), PNN (“Promovendi” Network Netherlands) and we intend to get in touch with

How open can you get?
Another choice is to decide when it is the best time to open up the result. Is that something you do right from the start, in the middle or at the end? We have chosen for a sort of compromise. The plan is not ours (us being the writing team), but theirs (them being the stakeholders involved). We want the actions, I mean ambitions, to be feasible and realistic, and showing too early what we are going to do, might have a negative effect if things mentioned have to be deleted after all. However, here at TU Delft we have just started our Year of Open, and for me Open is more than opening up the scientific process. It is also an attitude. It is about being honest, telling people what you are doing (and why), and motivating people to do the same.

The compromise
So this is the compromise: if you send an email to, you get an 80% version (in Dutch) of our draft plan (after 17 January 2017). We can send you an English version after 26 January 2017, that will be the 95% version. I cannot guarantee we will respond to all remarks / comments we receive, but at least there is a “shade of open”. The plan will be final and presented on 9 February 2017.

Making open science the default road. Making open science just science.

Quote by Thomas Carlyle. At the end of each session, I used another quote from him: “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you will be able to see further”.

Published 15 January 2017; small edits 17 January 2017.

Just science

So here I am, starting to write the national plan on open science for The Netherlands. This seems to be a heavy task, with a deadline of early February 2017. And nothing on paper yet. Why do I have confidence that we will succeed?

  1. I am, because we are. The full quote is: “I am because WE are and, since we are, therefore I am.” A quote by John Mbiti, of which the short version was used at a “tile painting” workshop at Royal Delft (De Porceleyne Fles) we recently organized during our “Day out of the Library with all our personnel”. The assignment was to paint a quote that had a relation with the benefits of working together. I succeed, because we succeed. Not only is the writing process a team effort (with Hester Touwen, Anke Versteeg and Astrid van Wesenbeeck), we are not making up our own ideas. We read, listen, view, talk, get together, and – though our time is limited – aim to put the actions that The Netherlands is undertaking in relation to open science together. We do this in close connection with and under supervision of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences.
  2. “Beware of that demon called ‘Changing The World’.” A quote by Marty Rubin. We know the Council Conclusions on the transition towards an open science system, and of course the Amsterdam Call for Action (see here the blog I wrote about the Congress). Open science means that we open up the scientific process, as much as possible. This will further science and society. Economy and innovation may flourish by opening up the scientific process. For our plan we restrict ourselves to three lines, based on the goals as laid down in the Council conclusions, i.e., 100% open access for scientific publications (that were created via public funding) per 2020; optimal reuse of research data; and perhaps the most important of all, implementing a broader view on the way research and researchers are assessed and rewarded. We are aware that a lot is going on, both in and outside our country. It is impossible to mention everything, though we will incorporate a few initiatives in relation with these three lines, and we will be listening to the users from science and society. No we will not be changing the world by writing this plan, but we will be adding our practice, ideas and actions to reach our result: meaningful access to science and scientific processes.
  3. A plan is not the end; it is a beginning. In February we will have a national plan open science, and at the same time our Ministry will launch the national platform open science. In this way continuity is guaranteed, actions can be followed, new ones can be added, and changes can be made.


Let us support our researchers so that it is clear for them, on their bumpy road, what they can and cannot do, what tools they should be using (in what way), and how they can reach a destination that seems to be blocked. Making open science the default road. Making open science just science. 

Indications which road is closed ("afgesloten"), or still available ("bereikbaar") should be given.

Indications which road is closed (“afgesloten”), or still available (“bereikbaar”) should be given.

It should be clear who is allowed to do what.

It should be clear who is allowed to do what, and what tools are useful.

It should be clear what you cannot or should not be doing.

It should be clear what you cannot or should not be doing.

“Go as far as you can see.
When you get there
You’ll be able
to see farther”

Thomas Carlyle


Educate. Innovate. Create.

Educate. Innovate. Create. After we transformed to a Library Learning Centre, several years ago, these were the words that we posted on our walls. I thought of them again during the two days of the Open Science Presidency Conference in Amsterdam. I am not going to repeat the words of the Dutch State Secretary Sander Dekker or European commissioner Carlos Moedas (though I am very pleased for the priority and attention that they give to open access to publications and sharing of research data). I would like to reflect on the session we organized on the second day, the break-out session on Innovation. The key items for this session were looking at successful new models for scholarly communication, and how new users can benefit from opening up science.

Takforce innovation (without Ralf Schimmer, Mark Patterson and Eefke Smit).

Taskforce innovation (without Ralf Schimmer, Mark Patterson and Eefke Smit).

Under inspiring guidance (thank you David Bohmert), we listened to several speakers:

  • Cees Leeuwis on responsible life sciences innovations for developing countries (referring to EVOCA, environmental virtual observatories for connective action). He would benefit if (grant) calls would be interdisciplinary and targeted, and he emphasized that we should open up the whole research process (do not focus entirely on research outputs).
  • Lucia Malfent reported to us about the experiences with the citizen science project ‘Tell Us’ as a best practice of open innovation in science. She asked us to train scientists in applying methods of openness, and in the discussion afterwards we realized that citizens would also benefit if we would make open “what is already out there”. Should universities be funding citizen science?
  • Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer broadened our perspective with 101 innovations in scholarly communication. On 15 April 2016 they will open data of their survey amongst researchers. They presented their G-E-O model Good Efficient Open (as goals for science & scholarship). Focus for researchers is mainly on doing things efficiently. So we need to stimulate the open or good angle.
  • Daniel Wyler brought it back to money: he talked about innovations in funding and funding innovation. He made it clear that new funding schemes encourage innovative research.

The talks were preceded by Vincent Lien, who set up an ePetition in the UK to call for free access to research journals for teachers in August 2014.

The results of our session, and of the conference, were captured in a Call for Action, that was published on 7 April 2016, both as a pdf to view the state-of-the-art on that day, and as a dynamic wiki, so that all participants and other stakeholders could add comments (possible until 14 April).

In our Innovation session we collected the ideas or improvements of our delegates in an innovative way (of course!). Everybody was invited to write these down on a postcard, and we connected them, to make a truly concerted action line. All actions have been processed in our own Trello board, including the tweets harvested via #innotrack.

Creating a concerted action line.

Creating a concerted action line.

We also wanted to showcase nice innovations in our sessions, but two hours is not that much. Marina Noordegraaf created a Tour d’Horizon. In this short movie we show three models in the developing landscape of Open Science: 1. APC funded journals; 2. distributed publishing roles with the overlay journal as one of the examples;  and 3. building innovations around timely sharing smaller units of research outputs. We call for “research and innovation to take a long term perspective and not be trapped by the past”, quoting commissioner Moedas.  If the Commission wants to make Europe open to innovation, open to science and open to the world, it must dare to choose new models for opening up research outputs and credit participatory and Open Science.

Wrapping up: a nice session, a good experience! Educate each other, Treasure innovations, and Be creative!

Dutch State Secretary with organizing committee.

Dutch State Secretary with organizing committee.

P.S. Talking about different approaches. On 7 April Leiden University launched a movie “On being a scientist“. Touching issues on plagiarism, publication pressure and integrity. Nice!

Learning from experience @OpenEducationWeek

Anka Mulder, Vice President of Education and Operations at TU Delft, invited me to speak briefly about Open Science at our Open Education Seminar during Open Education Week 2016. I had only limited time so I could not really expand on the topic, but I think that it is really good to combine the two. We want to share our work or results to society, so that both economy and society-at-large can benefit. Open up your software, your research data & publications, your education and your campus. To move forward. To make science better. Of course open if possible, closed if necessary.


As I stated it all started over (far) more than a decade ago with lobbying for open access. Open access, a topic that goes hand in hand with libraries. TU Delft Library’s mission is to let knowledge flow freely, because students, teachers and researchers will become better when they use knowledge of others, and share their own (see also an older post “share to grow“). In The Netherlands things have gone rather “wild” lately in relation with open access to publications, and I think that has a reason.

The Netherlands are now seen as a forerunner, as guide towards open access. To my opinion this was due to two factors: enhancement & diversity. After the statement by our State Secretary, we joined efforts (VSNU, UKB and Surfmarket) in the negotiation teams, and we had them chaired by our Vice Chancellors. Three of them were directly involved and formed a front of our universities towards the publishers. A true enhancement with respect to the situation before where we had our negotiations without Board level involvement. When we discussed our conditions with the publishers, we made it explicit that we wanted to move to open access via the license deals, without us paying more money. We stuck to our principles, but we added diversity by accepting a variety of paces along the way.

Learning from experience is always wise. We will start at TU Delft as per 1 May 2016 to have all Delft authors to post their paper (final accepted version) in our institutional repository. We diversify, i.e., we follow the gold route as far as we manage to be successful in our license negotiations, we follow the green route where journals do not offer other open access solutions (or far too expensive ones) and we stimulate new initiatives. We enhance our Open Science umbrella by implementing Open Research as stepping stone to Open Science. We are setting up a data stewardship programme with our faculties supported by a multidisciplinary team (Library, ICT, Legal Services, Strategic Development) as part of our 2016 agenda. Understanding that for research data diversification means that we open them if possible, and close them if necessary and using a fair (findable accessible interoperable reusable) approach.

TU Delft is also a forerunner in Open Education. We started with OpenCourseware by providing free and open educational resources in 2007. Many other initiatives have arisen in the mean time, from free MOOCs, online masters to paid Professional Education. So also here, some content is open, some is closed. The bottomline is that we want to share. Or as Anka Mulder puts as tagline on her weblog: “Deliver World Class Education to Everyone”.

About a FAIRy tale and more

I attended the first two days of the IATUL conference 2015, on Strategic partnerships for access and discovery, on July 6 and 7, 2015. It has been a while that I visited an IATUL conference (the last time was in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2008), so it was nice that I was invited by TIB Hannover to give a keynote and be able to attend the meeting in Hannover, Germany.
IATUL celebrated its 60th anniversary, and  last year the General Assembly had decided that members from other university libraries than technical ones are now also welcome to IATUL membership. Though of course at this conference there were still mainly representatives from technical libraries (which I like, perhaps because it potentially can provide a more focused flavour, though in the end we all have the same challenges of course). Let me mention a few observations I made during these first two days:

  • The obvious topic of open access was immediately addressed on the first day by Martin Hofmann-Apitius, who gave a very explicit case and reason why publishers should allow automatic text mining and by doing so would save the lives of cancer patients. In the panel afterwards he said that he thought scientific youth has been spoiled by Google: “We should come back from the hype, and define what solid-based literature search means”.
    José Cotta (from CONNECT, Directorate-General of the European Commission), the second keynote speaker, phrased open science as a “democratisation” of science, and explained that free flow of data is necessary for a digital single market. He divided open science as follows: E-infrastructures for open science; Open access to research results & processes; Evidence-based policy making (Global systems science); and Public engagement (citizen science, crowdsourcing). Cotta further referred to the blogpost Moedas and Oetinger jointly wrote, and ended with his statement that we need to “catalyse a change in culture”. (I had already heard the update on the pilot for research data Cotta gave.)
  • Look out for the English translation of a public paper from ETH Zurich about the strategy for their collections (summary is already available). They identified the following four functions of scientific collections: Research; Teaching; Transfer of knowledge to the public; and Preservation of cultural heritage.
  • Frank Seeliger (from Library TH Wildau, Germany) showed some nice visual presentations in the (digital or physical) library environment, or as he puts it: “making knowledge and science tangible”. They invite their professors to the library with this tagline: “Come to us to play”. Twice these two IATUL days a reference was made to the fluid library, i.e., the library can be where you want it. The tangible example at Wildau: every table in the library has an rfid reader, and when a book is put there, it can stay there, and be available (because it is localised).
  • Simone Fühles-Ubach (Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Germany) explained a model for a library strategy, where the focus is on what the user wants to do instead of what they want. It is called the Openstrategies PRUB-model, because libraries run Projects to produce Results which customers and citizens Use to create Benefits.
  • Wolf-Tilo Balke made it clear that libraries can (or should) connect information science and computer science, and combine this with their knowledge of the subject domain. He believes that this is necessary because otherwise people are lost in the information overflow, and “taking something out of the collection is the same as putting something on the 2nd page of Google”.
  • I have made notes to take a better look at who presented themselves as “a global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals”. I must also investigate the impressive overview of research support services Hester Mountifield (University of Auckland, New Zealand) provided in her talk called “Through power of collaboration. How we increased our impact by helping researchers to increase theirs”. And I should have a better look at the circle (slide 20 in the linked pdf at this page) of the (physical) library functions Brian Irwin showed in his joint talk with Sharon L. Bostick.

The Congress Centre (but we were in a different part!).

I stayed in the Congress Hotel am Stadtpark, near to the Congress Centre. Our welcome reception was at the Zoo, which was very close to the Congress Centre.

Our welcome reception was at the Zoo, which was very close to the Congress Centre.


Wall paper in room at Congress Hotel am Stadtpark.

So enough to get back to when I am in Delft. I did like the meeting and the talks with the attendees I had. The organisation was very “light”, which made it pleasantly informal, and there was also a lot of diversity in the topics, (perhaps some more focus in the total programme would have made it even better).

I have already given some attention to my own keynote via slideshare and twitter, but I would like to repeat very briefly what I feel is important for us librarians. We know why we find open access important, because we want everybody to have easy access to research findings. We should work together to reach this goal, and be Flexible, Assertive, Innovative and Realistic while doing this. If you want to know more, just reach out (and I’ll be there;-).


Stop funding open access – just a thought

While we are implementing (hopefully more and more) open access deals in The Netherlands (e.g. with Springer) there is one thought that crossed my mind. For quite some time funding agencies support the open access publication of scientific articles. This is of course what we want, because we want knowledge to flow and our economy to grow. However … is all the extra funding in open access publications a sensible way forward? The reason I am asking this is because of the upcoming offset deals. We (institutes, libraries) have put money in the publishing system in the old days for access, for reading (and of course for more services the publishers offered alongside in the digital age). We have created a movement to (try to) change to a system where we (will) pay for the publication production part, and reading or access is “for free”. There is a lot to read about the total cost of publishing, and how open access will cost us much more than we pay for “closed” access right now.

And where does or will the extra money we need come from? From the funding agents, research grants, other faculty budget, or perhaps the government (the latter is not the case in The Netherlands). We are creating complexity in the world of publishing, we are finding ways to fund open access, where it perhaps could be as simple as it used to be. Apart from member or personal subscriptions, the major proportion of costs for the reading access came from the institutional (library) budgets. There was no budget for this from funding agencies; if you wanted extra content, not covered by the “big deals”, you needed to arrange this with your librarian, and publishers marketed their content via their libraries and via the researchers (“ask your library to …”). So why are we changing this? If a library or consortium wants to have an open access arrangement for or alongside the subscribed content, you cannot “use” this extra money in the system. If I refer again to the Springer deal the money paid is (we accept that in this transition period) mainly for opening up our articles in hybrid journals, and it is not possible to fund this (what I do understand). However, we all know this extra money is there and exists, and we cannot ignore this during our negotiations. And this creates complexity.

Let there just be one budget for publishing (and for the sake of simplicity I leave out the surcharges that might be paid by the authors out of their own research budget, also in the old days), and have no, I say no, extra funding for open access. Too bad. Not because I am not in favour of Open Access. But because I am.

Green or gold? It is all fish.

Green or gold? It is all fish. ©2015 Copyright Full Circle CRM

A few afterthoughts (and of course do not consider this blogpost as a well-thought-of and reviewed article, I am just writing it in the train):

  • This total publishing budget should be the university’s. The library can keep it, but we need to make sure that authors understand what costs are involved in publishing.
  • We need all stakeholders to make the transition happen, as I stated earlier, there is a true choice to decide to make progress in open access.
  • We need to take care that open access is not adding a barrier for people to be able to publish (resesarchers who are not connected with research institutes that can afford this – though we had the same problem with subscriptions of course).
  • In the transition phase funders can stimulate open access, but I think that funding apc’s is not the way to do this.
  • The complexity is perhaps more created by traditional publishers that do not want to change models due to an uncertain future. We know that there are upcoming successful open access publishers with a changed business model.


© 2011 TU Delft