Open Access aims to make publicly funded research accessible online to everybody. Open Access publications are more easily found, are cited more often and have a greater reach. This applies to both perusal and reuse, without further financial and/or legal thresholds. In addition, this publication must be findable via a generally accessible medium (the internet). Journals that publish according to Open Access standards have no subscription or purchase costs. That means that the results of publicly funded research are accessible for a wider public. In this manner, ZonMw wants publications to be not just immediately accessible for researchers, but also for clinicians and patients. It is also important that the publications are rapidly read and shared by professionals from industry and civil society organisations. Therefore Open Access helps science to advance and encourages knowledge exchange between disciplines and between science and society.
ZonMw Open Access policy
ZonMw requires researchers to make all publications resulting from scientific research, that is wholly or partially subsidised by ZonMw, available via Open Access. For more information about the ZonMw Open Access policy, the different Open Access routes, the conditions and possibilities, we refer you to the ZonMw Open Access policy
Many national and international developments have taken place in the area of Open Access. In mid-2019, ZonMw decided to support Plan S. Plan S has been compiled by cOAlition S, a collaboration of international funding bodies that aims to achieve 100% Open Access. We draw your attention to the fact that Plan S will be implemented with effect from 1 January 2021, which will mean a refining of the ZonMw Open Access policy. You can find more information about this in the aforementioned document ZonMw Open Access policy.
How does Open Access benefit you as a researcher?
Your publication about your research results makes a positive contribution to the accumulation of knowledge and the spread of those results. With that, you increase the chances of your article being found and read and that may even provide a possible citation advantage. In addition, the reach (readership) is greater, among both academic and societal stakeholders. Examples are collaborative partners in academia (Team Science) and society (for example patient associations) who can help realise impact for the research.
Open Access and healthcare research
The Dutch government’s ambition is that all publicly funded research will be made available in Open Access form. To achieve this, ten parties, including the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and ZonMw, signed the National Plan Open Science in 2017. The then state of affairs in the area of Open Access in health research was itemised in 2017 on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
In this report, it was recommended that, based on the National Plan Open Science, refinements were needed for health research due to context-specific elements:
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Open Access publishing in health journals is, on average, more expensive than in journals that fall under most other disciplines and is therefore more difficult to realise.
The experienced urgency for accessibility and comprehensibility is higher among patients and care professionals than among the average citizen and professional in other sectors.
The performance incentive around publishing in journals with a high impact factor is (still) more clearly present in health research than in other disciplines.
The above-mentioned factors, specifically the interest of patients and care professionals in having free access to all available knowledge emerging from research, means that in health research, in particular, Open Access is vitally important. The European plan to accelerate the transition to publishing in Open Access journals and on Open Access platforms ties in with this.
This summer, 40 research projects into the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of thisstarted with funding from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. We rapidly need a lot of knowledge about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease COVID-19. Animal-free models can play a role in that because the results can be better translated to humans and yield outcomes faster. Five projects with animal-free research will therefore start.
Open Access publishing ensures that research is quickly and easily accessible. During the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of that has become clearer than ever before. For example, doctors and patients search for information about the treatment of COVID-19. To increase the impact of knowledge, ZonMw will tighten the guidelines for Open Access with effect from 1 January 2021. What will change?
In 2018, 68% of the publications resulting from NWO funding were Open access. The percentage for ZonMw was 60%. These are the findings of an analysis published today by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS). NWO and ZonMw are aiming for 100% Open access. Achieving this target will require an extra effort and further steps.