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.
In addition to manuscripts, ZonMw also encourages making other types of scientific publications Open Access available (such as monographs, books, conference proceedings and gray literature), but also research data and knowledge products from practice-oriented research (such as models, artifacts, protocols, prototypes, digital tools, demonstrations). As well formulated by the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences: "This openness is essential for promoting the circulation and creation of knowledge, so that the impact of practice-oriented research is enhanced. This impact is then visible in the professional practice, the enterprise, the municipality, the health facility, and in education."
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 is implemented with effect from 1 January 2021, which means 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.
ZonMw membership of Europe Pubmed Central
On 1 April 2021, ZonMw, together with NWO, will become member of Europe PMC (PubMed Central), an open science platform that maintains a worldwide collection of scientific articles and other research output. This membership allows ZonMw funded researchers to globally share their publications via one central location. With this, they will also satisfy one of the requirements that ZonMw set for the research projects they fund: making publications openly accessible immediately.
ZonMw will soon inform researchers and other stakeholders about the way in which the services of Europe PMC can be used. For more information, also see the press release.
The advantages of open access publication via Europe PMC
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Europe PMC is more than just a platform. It is also a search engine that provides the richest sets of results in the area of the life sciences and medical sciences. Publications are automatically enriched or linked with information from other sources, such as preprints and information from research funding and project data or, for example, with links to underlying research data.
In recent years, ZonMw and NWO committed themselves to realising the implementation of Plan S. For example, they have both made their funding conditions stricter by stipulating that all scientific publications that emerge from research they fund should be published immediately in open access form. The membership of Europe PMC is the next step in supporting researchers to realise this and comply with the principles of Plan S. The membership of Europe PMC helps ZonMw funded researchers to make the research results openly available, according to the so-called “green route”, and to share these in open access form at a single location thereby making their work even more visible and findable.
On 1 April 2021, NWO and ZonMw will become members of Europe PMC (PubMed Central), an open science platform that maintains a worldwide collection of scientific articles and other research output. This membership allows NWO and ZonMw funded researchers in the life sciences and medical sciences to globally share their publications via one central location. With this, they will also satisfy the requirements that NWO and ZonMw set for the research...
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