ZonMw tijdlijn Open Science - FAIR data https://www.zonmw.nl/ Het laatste nieuws van de tijdlijn van Open Science - FAIR data en-gb Fri, 18 Jun 2021 22:20:23 +0200 Fri, 18 Jun 2021 22:20:23 +0200 TYPO3 news-7064 Thu, 18 Mar 2021 16:58:45 +0100 Changing the game: on the assessment of researchers and their research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/changing-the-game-on-the-assessment-of-researchers-and-their-research/ Today a consultation meeting of research performing organisations took place. The European Committee Research & Innovation organised this meeting. Several European research funders focused on the assessment of researchers and research teams. Jeroen Geurts, chair of ZonMw and ambassador for the Dutch initiative Recognition and Rewards, was there to represent the Dutch perspective. Jeroen Geurts started his contribution to the round table discussion with a short statement in which he highlighted the position paper Room for everyone’s talent: towards a new balance in the recognition and rewards for academics and gave some examples of activities to assess researchers not only on their research but also on education, a balance between individual and team science, leadership and clinical research. Examples were among other things the introduction of a narrative CV in the funding scheme ‘Talent programme’ of NWO and ZonMw, a national report about professionalising data stewardship by setting out guidelines for competences, training and education, and to make Open Science (open access and FAIR data) a standard item to be addressed in calls and application forms.

Jeroen Geurts: "Reasons for success in the Dutch Rewards & Recognition process were the early build of a strong coalition of RPOs and funders and a subsequent bottom-up process that enabled thorough, local implementation of the changes proposed. This way, we could change not only the rules, but the entire game."

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news-6808 Tue, 19 Jan 2021 11:30:00 +0100 Access for researchers to worldwide open access publishing platform https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/access-for-researchers-to-worldwide-open-access-publishing-platform/ 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 projects they fund: making publications openly accessible immediately. Europe PMC is one of the largest open access platforms and is the European mirror version of the American PubMed Central (PMC) that is used throughout the world. For example, Europe PMC contains 6.6 million full articles and 38.1 million abstracts, including those from PubMed and PubMed Central (PMC). Whereas PubMed provides access to abstracts and PMC to full articles, Europe PMC provides online access to a worldwide collection of abstracts, full articles, preprints and patents in the field of medical and life sciences. The membership of Europe PMC helps NWO and 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.

The advantages of open access publication via Europe PMC

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. Some publishers will automatically upload articles emerging from research funded by NWO and ZonMw to Europe PMC.
Europe PMC is pleased that NWO and ZonMw will become members of this global platform for open access publishing.

Aiming for 100% open access publishing

In 2019, the research funding agencies NWO and ZonMw endorsed Plan S with the ambition of fully implementing the principles of Plan S with effect from 1 January 2021. Plan S was drawn up by cOAlition S, a collaboration between international research funding agencies whose aim is to accelerate the transition to 100% Open Access. In recent years, NWO and ZonMw committed themselves to realising this. 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.

NWO and ZonMw will soon inform researchers and other stakeholders about the way in which the services of Europe PMC can be used.

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Europe PMC:

NWO Open Access policy: 

  • NWO open access publiseren (NL) 
  • NWO open access publishing

ZonMw Open Access policy:

news-6374 Mon, 19 Oct 2020 09:04:20 +0200 Largest study ever on research integrity launches, aimed at all researchers in the Netherlands https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/largest-study-ever-on-research-integrity-launches-aimed-at-all-researchers-in-the-netherlands/ The National Survey on Research Integrity (NSRI) is being distributed to nearly 40,000 researchers in the Netherlands starting today. The survey marks the starts of not only the largest study ever conducted, worldwide,on research integrity, but also the first and largest study to target the entire research communityin the Netherlands, acrossall disciplines. The survey seeks to sketch as accurate and complete a picture as possible of theissues that can foster or hinder research integrity, such as open science practices, competitiveness, trust in published studies, work pressure, and questionable and responsible research practices.

“We are living in a time when scientific research and outcomes are essential to making decisions that affect the general populationand our country’s welfare,” said professor Lex Bouter, project leader for the NSRI. “There is much at stake, and it is imperative that those who are relying on science can also trust our research practices.”

The NSRI is one ofthe projects in the Fostering Responsible Research Practices (FRRP) programme, conducting “research about research”and underwritten by the Dutch organisations ZonMw, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and their partners. ZonMw, NWO and their partners are investing a total of 3.8 million euros over five years to realise the four pillars of the FRRP programme, of which the NSRI is one of.

According to FRRP: “By means of the NSRI, we will gain insight into the nature and causes of questionable research practices. The results will be used to implement substantiated improvements.

"Why research integrity –and why now?"

Different to ethics, research integrity generally refers to the principles and standards whose purpose it is to ensure validity and trustworthiness of research,” according to Gowri Gopalakrishna, the post-doc researcher on the NSRI team. “It has become an urgent topic not only in the Netherlands, but also worldwide, especially with the open science movement.”

Accelerated scientific publishing during the Covid-19 pandemic is an example that Bouter, Gopalakrishna and their team have cited as a reason to bring research integrity topics to the front of researchers’ attention, noting that the first four months of the pandemic resultedin muchmore related scientific publishing than in 2003 with the outbreak of SARS.

“The rapidly increasing number of publications combined with the urgency to quickly understand the new pathogen presents a significant challenge for maintaining the integrity of the underlying evidence base, and to ensure that research is conducted according to global standards of research integrity,” Gopalakrishna and Bouterargue in a commentarywritten in June 2020 for British Medical Journal Opinion.

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news-6307 Tue, 06 Oct 2020 16:37:10 +0200 Powerful US research funder unveils strict open-access policy https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02793-5?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=f99132318c-briefing-dy-20201002&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-f99132318c-43672369 One of the world’s richest biomedical research organizations, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), announced on 1 October that it will require scientists it funds to make papers open access (OA) as soon as they are published — a change to its current policy, which allows a delay of up to one year before results must be free to read. news-6102 Tue, 01 Sep 2020 09:41:36 +0200 Animal-free innovations for better COVID-19 research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/animal-free-innovations-for-better-covid-19-research/ 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. In April of this year, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport made 40 million euros available to ZonMw and NWO for research into the coronavirus pandemic and the consequences of this for society, such as the illness COVID-19. The research results should become available as quickly as possible for everybody who has an interest in this illness: doctors and nurses, national and municipal governments, care providers and citizens. With animal-free innovations, research can be done better and faster. And that is vitally important now: the committee of the ZonMw research programme More Knowledge with Fewer Animals therefore made extra funding available to realise projects with such animal-free innovations within the research programme COVID-19. ‘I’m proud of the performance delivered by everyone involved, applicants and assessors, because an awful lot of work was realised in a short space of time’, says Dick Tommel, chair of the committee More Knowledge with Fewer Animals.

The Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing also made funding available for this call for proposals. ‘Many animal experiments are performed for research into COVID-19. We will almost certainly see that in the figures’, says Debby Weijers of the Society. ‘With this initiative, we want to contribute to COVID-19 research without animal experiments. For this disease in particular – and similar diseases in the future – we hope to achieve a lot with human models. That is because these models reveal far more accurately how the disease progresses in humans. Also, with human models, we can personalise the research, for example by using stem cells or computer simulations based on patient data. With such approaches, we can better investigate why the virus makes certain groups more ill than others. Animal models will not be able to provide an answer to these and other questions.’

Exemplary projects

In this special round, embedded in the COVID-19 call for proposals, five projects were selected that make broader use of existing animal-free innovation or make the development of new animal-free innovations possible.

A heparin puff against coronavirus infection? - Theo Geijtenbeek (Amsterdam UMC)

Theo Geijtenbeek, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Immunology at Amsterdam UMC, will lead research into the possible preventive effect of the anticoagulant low molecular weight heparin against SARS-CoV-2. Already, COVID-19 patients are now immediately administered heparin by means of injections when they are hospitalised in order to prevent blood clots. But Geijtenbeek and his group discovered that this drug also blocks the binding of the virus to cells and consequently prevents infection. Now they want to investigate whether inhaling heparin can have a preventive effect so that, for example, healthcare personnel can use a heparin inhaler to protect themselves from infection. The first step in the research is innovative, says a proud Geijtenbeek. Volunteers will be asked to inhale heparin via the nose. Subsequently, the researchers will remove some nasal mucosa cells (just like during a coronavirus test) and will subsequently expose these cells to the virus to investigate the antiviral effect of heparin. Geijtenbeek: ‘We want to do it in this way to prevent the need for animal experiments and so that we can enter the clinical phase earlier. And time is an important factor in this pandemic’. In addition, the research group will make use of a dynamic human cell model to further investigate the effect of heparin on the coronavirus infection.

A broadly applicable dynamic model – Robbert Rottier (Sophia Children’s Hospital)

A dynamic cell model is a research setup that the consortium led by Robbert Rottier, senior researcher at the Pulmonology Department of the Sophia Children’s Hospital, will use for their research. Static lung systems are used a lot in today’s coronavirus research. The disadvantage of these models is that they only simulate the functioning of human lung cells to a limited extent. Therefore, Rottier’s team, together with professor Roman Truckenmüller from Maastricht University and the MERLN Institute, will produce a closed dynamic system. They will use an existing bioreactor to simultaneously culture human cells from both the epithelium of both the respiratory passages and blood vessels. By transporting microfluids through this, a dynamic system will arise. That can be used to better study the development and progression of our infections such as COVID-19. Through the collaboration with Truckenmüller, an expert in the area of nanotechnology and biochips, and the MERLN institute, this system can also be rapidly produced at a commercial scale and made available to laboratories. The team is also working on a protocol so that the model can be used without the need for extra training. According to Rottier, working on animal-free innovations has additional advantages: ‘Since we started working on this type of innovation, we have increasingly looked for alternatives within the research group, and our use of laboratory animals has decreased.’

Combining human cell models with genetic characteristics – Jeffrey Beekman (UMC Utrecht)

Working on animal-free innovations can make researchers more aware of how they do their research. It is also what Jeffrey Beekman, Professor of Cellular Disease Models at University Medical Center Utrecht discovered. ‘Before this, I did not particularly focus on animal-free research, but the call for proposals and writing the proposal has made me more aware of this. I now pay more attention to the materials I work with, such as the human cells that originate from individuals and the serum that I use to allow those cells to grow. That serum often has an animal origin.’ For research into COVID-19, Beekman and his research team will use cell models to study how the coronavirus infection works in vivo on various organs: upper respiratory passages (nose), lower respiratory passages (lungs), intestines and kidneys. ‘By combining these models with unique genetic characteristics of the cell donors, you can compare the different tissues and discover factors that influence the effects of the coronavirus and the efficacy of the drugs used against it’, says Beekman. ‘In the case of COVID-19, that is particularly important because the virus affects various organs.’

Microchips as mini-patients with COVID-19 – Andries van der Meer (University of Twente)

How can you simulate a COVID-19 patient so that you can investigate why some patients develop blood clots? That was the question which Andries van der Meer, Associate Professor in Applied Stem Cell Technology at the University of Twente, and his team will tackle. Some 10-30% of people with COVID-19 who are hospitalised, end up developing blood clots. Consequently, this group of patients has a far worse prognosis. The basis for the project is a model of mini-blood vessels on a microchip developed by the University of Twente. By adding blood plasma from patients to this model, Van der Meer and his team hope to develop models of COVID-19 patients. These models can then be used to simulate the development of blood clots. To realise this, they sought collaboration with Saskia Middeldorp, Professor of Internal Medicine at Amsterdam UMC, and Christine Mummery, Professor of Developmental Biology at Leiden University Medical Center. For the research, it is vital that material from different patients with and without COVID-19 is used. Because why do some COVID-19 patients suffer from these clots and hypoxia, whereas others do not? These individual models will function as mini-patients on which treatments and drugs can be tested in the second phase. For Van der Meer, the use of these human models is a logical step: ‘The technology has developed in such a way over the past 5 to 10 years that we can now make models that closely resemble humans and consequently make a fast “turn-over’ towards patients. The reflex of using animal models in medical research is deeply rooted. However, with the extra tools that are now at our disposal, we can do exciting things that have added value and are animal-free.’

Better insight into lung damage due to COVID-19 – Pieter Hiemstra (Leiden University Medical Center)

Patients recover slowly from COVID-19, and it seems that both the virus and the immune system’s response to the virus cause damage to the alveoli. How do the cells that cover the respiratory passages and alveoli, the epithelial cells, respond to the virus and how does that response contribute to lung damage? These are the questions that Pieter Hiemstra, Professor of Cell Biology and
Immunology of Lung Diseases, will tackle together with his colleagues from Leiden University Medical Center. For the research, the team will make use of tested human cell models, organoids andconventional culture models. In the first phase, epithelial cells from, among other things, the nose and alveoli will be cultured to examine what the virus does with the different cell types.

news-6091 Mon, 31 Aug 2020 09:43:46 +0200 Open Access: more impact from research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/open-access-more-impact-from-research/ 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? Better research and more impact through Open Access

Sharing publications and data in a quick and accessible manner (Open Access) helps science, healthcare and education to progress. Doctors, patients, policymakers and professional practitioners can immediately make use of the most recent insights and data. The quality of research and data improves because colleagues can immediately examine the results published and can reproduce experiments in their own lab. It also improves national and international collaboration between researchers. Furthermore, It becomes clear at an earlier stage if something does not work, which means that research can then be adjusted or stopped. For example, it was mainly thanks to Open Access publications that the efficacy and safety of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 patients was quickly shown to be inadequate. Jeroen Geurts, chair of the board of ZonMw: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has very clearly underlined the importance of Open Access publishing’.

Implementation of Plan S

Since 2013, ZonMw has required researchers to make all publications that emerge from research that is partially or entirely funded by ZonMw available in Open Access form. A study by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) reveals that in 2018 that was already the case for 60% of publications. ZonMw wants to accelerate this positive development. In mid-2019, ZonMw endorsed Plan S for Open Access. This plan has been drawn up by cOAlition S, an international collaboration of research councils, with the aim of realising 100% Open Access. Just like NWO, ZonMw will implement the guidelines from Plan S this year.

Direct 100% Open Access from 1 January 2021 onwards

The principles of Plan S apply to all call proposals that ZonMw publishes with effect from 1 January 2021. Therefore, compared to 2020, ZonMw will further tighten the guidelines. In practice, this means, for example, that there is free access to the publications and no embargo period between the date of publication in a journal and the publication being freely accessible online. Publication will also be under a Creative Commons licence, enabling sharing/reuse of results. Also retainment of copyright by authors or institutes will be aimed for.

Obstacles to overcome

Many researchers already publish in Open Access form but not in all cases and not always directly. The implementation of Plan S will therefore provide researchers from ZonMw projects opportunities but also obstacles that need to be overcome. For example, researchers experience that large sums sometimes have to be paid for Open Access publishing. That problem is currently being worked on, for example through national agreements between universities and publishers. ZonMw will also examine possible solutions to this problem. Rob Diemel, ZonMw coordinator Open Science: ‘ZonMw wants encourage Open Access via several routes so the project leaders can make their own choices. For example, in new funding rounds from 2021 onwards, applicants can include a post in the project budget for publication via the so-called full golden route (publications that are immediately free and accessible for everybody ). We will also facilitate the green route by offering researchers access to a repository that is frequently used worldwide. This will lead to the more rapid spread of research results and will offer researchers greater visibility.’

Open Access to utilise knowledge in society

Even though the transition from publishing behind paywalls to Open Access is a difficult process, Jeroen Geurts also sees that researchers are increasingly embracing Open Access: ‘Of course, researchers also feel the need to allow their findings to be used by society. In the case of COVID-19 research programmes, you can see that there is a considerable amount of expertise in the Netherlands to counteract the medical and non-medical negative effects of COVID-19. Rapid access to each other’s research and being able to make use of each other’s research is vitally important for researchers, especially if they are working in a race against the clock.’

Recognising and rewarding researchers

Open Access also requires a different way of recognising and rewarding researchers. Open Access publications are easy to find, are cited more often and have a greater reach. It is important that researchers are rewarded for the quality of their research and its importance for science and/or society, and not for controversial indicators such as the journal impact factor and H-index. Therefore, from 2021 onwards, the DORA (Declaration on Research Assessment) principles will be used in the assessment and selection of ZonMw funding proposals. Amongst other things, that should lead to another way of recognising and rewarding researchers.

Requiring but also informing and facilitating

During the course of 2020, ZonMw will mainly focus on implementing the guidelines from Plan S and informing and advising researchers and project teams about the Open Access publication of their research. The ZonMw Open Access team will also facilitate this implementation by including the guidelines and the processes and thoroughly preparing ZonMw employees for these changes so that they can help applicants. All of the information can be found on the ZonMw website and, of course, if you have any questions, you can contact the employees of the Open Access team.

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news-6016 Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:42:01 +0200 ZonMw’s approach to optimize reuse of COVID-19 related data https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmws-approach-to-optimize-reuse-of-covid-19-related-data/ Under the urgency of the outbreak of the corona pandemic, we take a number of actions to enable researchers in ZonMw’s COVID-19 projects to create FAIR data that can be used by humans as well as machines. As a result, data become findable through computer search, and accessible for learning-algorithms (comparable to the Personal Health Train concept). The results of the activities are available for the entire research community of COVID-19. VODAN for COVID-19 patient data

In spring 2020, ZonMw commissioned the GO FAIR initiative and its VODAN (Virus Outbreak Data Access Network) Implementation Network to make COVID-19 related data FAIR.  As a result, real world COVID-19 patient data become available for research, under well-defined conditions and with patient privacy well protected.

In summer 2020, the VODAN project delivered a proof of concept of a working VODAN infrastructure to open up COVID-19 patient data via so called FAIR Data Points: VODAN-in-a box. It is made up of a number of components:

  1. A semantic data model based on the case report form (CRF) following the WHO standards;
  2. Localized VODAN FAIR Data Points (FDP’s), where the (meta)data of the machine-readable eCRF files could be hosted. Several FDP’s have been installed, in the Netherlands, USA and on the African continent (funded by the Philips Foundation).
  3. A user-friendly data-entry-wizard, allowing data stewards in the local clinic or hospital to capture patient data in the CRF.
  4. Creating/updating the metadata on the installed VODAN FDP’s, “link” the patient data and indicate if the data can be shared.
  5. A simple tool to allow queries to “visit” the (meta) data across multiple FDP’s, thereby performing analysis based upon certain characteristics of the recorded patients.

FAIR data services and a national COVID-19 data portal

As a next step, building on the knowledge and deliverables from VODAN, ZonMw has commissioned the GO FAIR Foundation and the Health-RI Foundation to develop FAIR data services and a national COVID-19 data portal. These services will support researchers in the creation of FAIR research outputs, and to find and reuse COVID-19 related observational data from Dutch health care providers (taking privacy and other ethical, legal and social issues in to account).

An advanced approach for creating FAIR data

The FAIR data services will function as a three-point FAIRification Framework, where FAIR metadata are crafted for each project (1) as part of the overall COVID-19 Programme FAIR Implementation Profile (2) which then configures the FAIR Data Point (3) where COVID-19 Programme research outputs can be easily discovered and reused. The planned national COVID-19 data portal will form a human friendly interface to the metadata and observational hospital data.

Data experts collaborate with domain experts

A crucial aspect of the FAIRification approach is that domain experts collaborate with data experts in order to include the standards, technologies and infrastructure that match the research community, in this case COVID-19. We will therefore facilitate that COVID-19 researchers and data stewards from ZonMw projects make use of the three-point FAIRification Framework, with the support of the FAIR data experts from GO FAIR and Health-RI.

Workshops and training

Researchers and data stewards from ZonMw’s COVID-19 projects are invited for a workshop series in autumn 2020 for an introduction to the FAIRification framework, and to take part in tailoring the framework to the needs of the COVID-19 research community.
In addition, data stewards from the ZonMw projects will be trained by and get support from the FAIR data experts of GO FAIR and Health-RI. Support through the data steward community will be organised within the Data Stewardship Special Interest Group (DSIG).

Taken together, by taking part in these activities, researchers and data stewards create – as a minimum - FAIR metadata for their research data. They thereby allow other research on COVID-19 to directly benefit from their activities, and accelerate solutions for the corona crisis. In a broader sense, they contribute to a growing knowledge base on FAIR data, enabling innovative research methods.

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news-5750 Tue, 02 Jun 2020 11:00:00 +0200 Heading for 100% Open access: NWO and ZonMw on the right track, but further steps are needed https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/heading-for-100-open-access-nwo-and-zonmw-on-the-right-track-but-further-steps-are-needed/ 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. On behalf of NWO and ZonMw, CWTS analysed how many NWO and ZonMw publications were Open access between 2015 and 2018. The CWTS also looked at the different types of Open access (gold, green, hybrid, etc.). Since 2009, NWO has been committed to ensure all publications resulting from NWO funding are made available in Open access. In 2015, NWO made further agreements on this with the State Secretary at the time, Sander Dekker. CWTS used the bibliographic database Web of Science and Unpaywall for its analysis.

The study’s most important findings are as follows:

  • Between 60% and 70% of the publications published between 2015 and 2018 are available as open access, either via a repository (green route) or in a fully Open access journal or hybrid journal.
  • 80% of the publications of NWO institutes are openly available, mainly via the green route.
  • On average, Open access publications funded by NWO and ZonMw have a higher citation impact than publications behind a paywall.

Stan Gielen (chair of NWO): “These are excellent figures. They show that we were on the right track in 2018 with almost 70% Open access. To achieve 100%, we will have to step up our efforts, however. From 1 January 2021 onwards, we will introduce Plan S. As the CWTS report demonstrates, a more stricter way of monitoring compliance might  help in that respect. Where publications are not available in Open Access at the end of the project, we are going to request researchers to correct that by depositing their publications through their institutional repository. Remember that with the Taverne amendment, copyright law gives every Dutch author the right to openly share their work. So there is absolutely no reason whatsoever not to do that.”

Jeroen Geurts (chair of ZonMw): “At ZonMw, we will also use 2020 to tighten up our Open access policy. The principles of Plan S will apply to all calls for grants open from 1 January 2021 onwards. And we will actively help researchers to make Open access publishing possible.”

This CWTS analysis only concerns Open access publications from NWO and ZonMw. The report is a baseline measurement that will be carried out annually from now on. VSNU publishes figures on Open access publications throughout the Netherlands.

More information:


news-5744 Fri, 29 May 2020 14:33:32 +0200 Update COVID-19 Programme: many applications https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/update-covid-19-programme-many-applications/ The interest for our calls for proposals within the COVID-19 Programme is considerable. In the past few weeks, we were pleased to receive many applications. In this update, you can read about the current state of affairs and the planning for the coming period. The COVID-19 Programme is a collaboration between ZonMw and NWO, and funds research that focuses on the effects of the coronavirus crisis and the measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic. Knowledge, practical solutions and research are urgently needed because limiting the negative consequences of the pandemic is a top priority.

Considerable interest

The funding rounds of the three focus areas yielded a lot of project ideas. We received 120 grant applications for the funding possibility Science for professional practice.

  • From 1 to 14 May, the bottom-up funding round was open for the submission of project ideas for focus area 1, Predictive diagnostics and treatment, and focus area 2, Care and prevention. We received 189 project ideas for focus area 1 and 306 for focus area 2
  • From 8 to 25 May, the bottom-up funding round for focus area 3 Societal dynamics was open. We received 508 project ideas for this
  • From 8 to 25 May, the funding round Science for professional practice was also open. A total of 120 research proposals were received for this

Granting Urgent Research Questions

Previously research groups were invited for the route Urgent research questions. From this route two proposals for focus area 1, Predictive diagnostics and treatment have provisionally been assessed and selected for granting. Two other proposals for focus area 2, Care and prevention also have been granted. At this moment three proposals for urgent research questions are being worked out in a full proposal for focus area 3, Societal dynamics and will be assessed soon.


The next step for the three focus areas is the assessment of the proposals by the committees. If the committee issues a positive advice, then the applicants will receive an invitation to elaborate their project idea into a research proposal. At that moment, FAQs about this will be published on our website.
The selection procedure for the research proposals for Science for professional practice will start shortly.

The most up-to-date information about the process and the planning can be found on the various programme pages (only in Dutch):

  • Focus area 1: Predictive diagnostics and treatment
  • Focus area 2: Care and prevention
  • Focus area 3: Societal dynamics
  • Science for professional practice

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news-4265 Mon, 01 Jul 2019 08:13:50 +0200 Professor Monique den Boer receives second ZonMw Open Science Boost https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/professor-monique-den-boer-receives-second-zonmw-open-science-boost/ On Friday 21 June, Monique den Boer from the Princess Máxima Center received the second ZonMw Open Science Boost. Radjesh Manna, director of programmes at ZonMw, handed her the prize during a surprise visit to Utrecht. Monique den Boer, Professor of Molecular Pediatric Leukemia, together with her research group, made a big contribution to the objectives of open science: responsive, transparent, and responsible science. With this boost, ZonMw wants to encourage her to continue along this path and be an example for researchers within and outside her research group. Ambassador for open science

The ZonMw Open Science Boost consists of an award of 1500 euros that Monique den Boer can use for a visit to an international conference. ZonMw also asks her to be an ambassador for open science there. She furthermore received a trophy in the form of a crystal ball as a symbol for a future with transparent and responsible medical science.

Surprise visit to the Princess Máxima Center

The awarding of the ZonMw Open Science Boost was a surprise for Den Boer. On Friday afternoon, Radjesh Manna stood in front of her to award the second Open Science Boost 2019. Manna explained that she has received this encouragement because the final report for her Vici project "Challenging old dogmas: improved diagnostics and tailored therapy by unraveling biology of acute leukemia in children" revealed that she, together with her research group, makes open science possible in a structural manner. During her Vici project, she published 33 articles in open access form, as a result of which everybody has access to the results. With this, she made a big contribution to open access. She also realised a systematic review, as a result of which she had an as complete as possible overview of all previous research on her subject, made data from her research available, and also published the negative results of her research. The latter unfortunately happens too little, partly because the current publication culture is mainly focused on positive results. The publication of negative results ensures that the knowledge within a research field becomes more complete. By making all knowledge accessible, unnecessary research can be prevented.

Particularly impressive: how her research group works

For Monique den Boer, open science is more than just open access, making data available and carrying out systematic reviews. It is also part and parcel of how she leads her research group by encouraging collaboration and letting the group assume joint responsibility for responsible and transparent science. One of the ways she has achieved this within her group, which is also part of the Oncode Institute, is the introduction of an audit system for publications. Before an article from her research group is published, the researchers first determine, on the basis of raw data, whether the data and conclusions are correct. A colleague from the group performs this audit. This not only contributes to the transparency of the data but is also a learning exercise for the more junior researchers. Furthermore, she has ensured the systematic use of a digital lab journal. All researchers in her group use this system to archive the data in a clear, uniform and accessible manner. By regularly using this digital lab journal in work meetings, everybody can contribute ideas about the documentation of experimental data and suggest how this can be improved. This approach to archiving works so efficiently that other groups within and outside of the Princess Máxima Center want to adopt this approach too.[QUOTE van Monique] “Data stewardship is a team effort with high gains  in data transparency and reproducibility!”

Role model for Open Science

ZonMw is impressed by how Monique den Boer structurally embeds Open Science in her research and her research group. With this, she has made a big contribution to the objectives of open science and responsible science. She is a role model for her research group and researchers in the field of paediatric cancer. With the Open Science Boost, ZonMw endorses her efforts for responsible and transparent science and hopes that her example will inspire other researchers to realise the objectives of open science in the medical sciences.

More information

ZonMw actively supports Open Science. Open Science make science accessible for researchers, society and the economy. Collaboration and exchange of knowledge are key aspects of this. The aim is to increase the quality and impact of scientific research. See the ZonMw website about Open Science.

Monique den Boer has received various grants from NWO and ZonMw:

  • Vidi: "Biological role and clinical relevance of miRNAs in childhood acute leukemia"
  • Vici: "Challenging old dogmas: improved diagnostics and tailored therapy by unraveling biology of acute leukemia in children"
  • Programme Translational Research: "Proof-of-principle study of a new diagnostic test for classification and stratification of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia"

Monique den Boer was appointed as senior principal investigator at the Princess Máxima Center in 2018. With her group, she investigates paediatric leukaemia. Leukaemia develops due to changes in the DNA. This only happens in the leukaemia cells and not in the healthy cells. The research focuses on finding errors in the DNA that cause the leukaemia cell to divide and proliferate whereas this does not happen in healthy cells. With this research, the researchers hope to develop better criteria for the diagnosis and treatment of paediatric leukaemia and to better match the choice and use of medicines to this ("targeted therapy", also referred to as "precision medicines").  

Monique den Boer leads the Oncode research group "Acute lymphoblastic leukemia", one of the 62 research groups of the Oncode Institute. The Oncode Institute is a network of more than 800 researchers from 12 institutes. Oncode consolidates the strengths of the Dutch research world and translates fundamental cancer research findings as quickly as possible into applicable methods for diagnosis and treatment.

news-4127 Mon, 03 Jun 2019 10:17:54 +0200 Automated tools to ensure value in research https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/automated-tools-to-ensure-value-in-research/ Research environments are expected to drastically change with recent advancements in artificial intelligence and automation. Dr Gerben ter Riet and Dr Mario Malički have been commissioned by ZonMw to identify automated tools that could enhance funder's workflow and support funders in ensuring value in research, while stimulating open science and research innovation. Their findings are published in the report ‘Possible uses of automation technology for optimizing funder’s workflow’. The project included a broad literature study on automated tools and stakeholder consultations. As a result 34 current tools and services were identified and grouped according to the task they aim to facilitate within the funder workflow. For example, automation of knowledge synthesis, writing of proposals or publications, finding reviewers, and evaluating research impact. Validation of the automation tools is still lacking: nevertheless, these tools have the potential to enhance the current workflows. In addition, these tools will help to avoid research waste, fostering responsible research practices and ensuring value in research.

Read more about their findings and recommendations for funders in the article:

Mario Malički and Gerben ter Riet: Possible uses of automation technology for optimizing funder’s workflow. Report For the Committee on Open Science at ZonMw (April 2019) pdf

At The Researcher to Reader Conference in London in February 2019 they organised a series of workshops to discuss their findings.

Video of Mario Malički introducing the workshops

Video of Gerben ter Riet sharing the conclusions of the workshop


news-3952 Fri, 19 Apr 2019 09:49:00 +0200 ZonMw, NWO and KNAW to sign DORA declaration https://www.zonmw.nl/nl/actueel/nieuws/detail/item/zonmw-nwo-and-knaw-to-sign-dora-declaration/ KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) will sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) on 18 April. DORA is a global initiative that aims to reduce dependence on bibliometric indicators (such as publications and citations) in the evaluation of research and researchers, and increase the use of other criteria. The declaration outlines a set of recommendations on how to improve research evaluation. KNAW, NWO and ZonMw fully endorse the principles laid out in the DORA declaration and will adapt their own procedures to it.

The DORA declaration was published in 2012 and targets research funders, publishers, research institutes and researchers. The declaration has already been signed by more than 1,200 organisations and almost 14,000 researchers around the world.

Signing the DORA declaration fits within the broader aim of developing new approaches for recognising and valuing researchers in the Netherlands. Moreover, this coincides with the transition to open science and open access. The key aim is to evaluate research and researchers on their merits.

Signing DORA means that organisations have to align their practices and procedures with the principles in this declaration. DORA is about more than just that, however. Endorsing the values of DORA requires a broader discussion within the scientific community about how researchers evaluate (each other) and about the criteria for evaluating scientific quality.

Joint follow-up actions

KNAW, NWO and VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands, which had already signed the declaration) will team up to ensure that the DORA principles become firmly entrenched during the forthcoming review of the standard evaluation protocol (SEP).

As far as the KNAW and NWO institutes are concerned, staff policy will be made DORA-proof where necessary. Indeed, more attention will be devoted to the value of the content and the impact of the research, and other forms of output like citations or impact factors of journals will be taken into account as well. On 23 May, ZonMw and NWO are organising the conference 'Evolution or revolution?' to launch a discussion about rethinking how we recognise and value scientists. KNAW is organising a gathering for its members on 7 June to discuss the significance of DORA.

    Join the conversation about the scientist 2030 at the conference Evolutie of revolutie (23 May 2019)

NWO and ZonMw’s follow-up steps

As a result of having signed the DORA declaration, NWO and ZonMw are planning to take the following concrete steps:

  • Identify (and substantiate) more clearly which criteria will be used to evaluate quality. This will be carried out for all funding instruments in the context of the specific objective of the instrument in question.
  • Remove all references to Journal Impact Factors and the h-index in all call texts and application forms.
  • Actively inform referees and committee members about NWO and ZonMw’s signing of DORA and the consequences that this will have for them, namely: that their main priority when evaluating research proposals must be the quality of the researcher and of the proposal’s content and not the prestige of the journals in which researchers have published or the statistics derived from that, such as the Journal Impact Factor or the h-index. A training activity is being developed for referees, committee members and secretaries.
  • Take other scientific outputs with scientific and/or societal impact into account as well (such as data, software, codes, patents, and so forth) when evaluating quality.
  • Maximise publication lists in applications. Ask researchers to explain in detail how they are contributing to their scientific field: why and what was the impact of their work on science and/or society? Some experience has been gained in this area already, among others through the pre-proposal pilot for the Veni scheme.
  • Accept preprints as research output, in line with recent policy changes introduced by the European Research Council (ERC).
  • Explicitly recognise open research practices by applicants in evaluation procedures and acknowledge their value. NWO is considering a pilot with an ‘open science track record question’ on application forms. Researchers would thus be asked about their commitment (in the past and in the future) to open science activities: open access publishing, sharing of preprints, sharing of research data and other kinds of open science.

KNAW’s follow-up steps

KNAW has further adapted its procedures and practices to the DORA principles during the past period. The guidelines for nominating members to KNAW and The Young Academy are already DORA-proof. The guidelines for awards and funding handled by KNAW will be brought more in line with the DORA principles.

In the coming period, KNAW will also focus on DORA’s points of departure by facilitating discussions between scientists. What are the benchmarks for evaluating quality? What kinds of opportunities have presented themselves? As a scientist, how do you proceed in practice when you have to evaluate dossiers as a member of an appointment committee, as a department head or as a peer reviewer for grants or for nominations and recommendations?

This discussion, which is already being conducted in various juries and committees, will take place during a member gathering on this theme on 7 June, for example.

More information

news-3298 Mon, 03 Dec 2018 12:05:48 +0100 Handbook for Adequate Natural Data Stewardship https://data4lifesciences.nl/hands2/data-stewardship/ The revised version of the Handbook for Adequate Natural Data Stewardship (HANDS2.0) has been launched on November 28. The handbook is a guidance for data stewardship in research at the umc’s. The guidances are helpful for ZonMw-projects.