Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Scientists respond to commitments of Dutch Government to Open Access

3 May 2014

The Dutch government is in favour of using Open Access publishing to make scientific literature publicly available. Their enthusiasm is not shared by scientists Peter van Tienderen, director of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem dynamics (IBED) and Jacintha Ellers (VU Amsterdam). Both professors fear, amongst other things, a rise in (research)costs and the loss of quality. They recently published an opinion article on Open Access in ‘Bionieuws’ number 8.

State Secretary Sander Dekker from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science recently announced his plans to make serious progress in increasing the number of Open Access publications by Dutch scientists. The two researchers fully support the idea underlying Open Access; scientific knowledge should be freely accessible and efforts to promote the dissemination of scientific knowledge have been scarce during the last decade.

However, the two disagree with the narrow focus on Open Access publications, the ‘Golden Road’ to Open Access. This will lead to additional costs (several kEuros per publication) and loss of quality, while sound alternatives are being overlooked and ruled out. ‘The blind stimulation or mandatory publication in Open Access journals is unwise, it will lead to extra costs in times of stressed research budgets and it does not necessarily contribute to knowledge transfer’, note the two researchers.  

Other governmental initiatives, such as ‘Science in Transition’ make a plea for reducing the pressure on publishing and emphasising on the quality of research, which too finds its resonance in Dutch politics. The oversimplified view on stimulating Open Access therefore seems to be at odds with such developments.

The full article by Prof. Ellers and Prof. Van Tienderen can be downloaded for free using the download button below. ‘Bionieuws’ is a professional magazine for Dutch biologists.

Published by  IBED