Het succes van open access

Nieuws | de redactie
23 augustus 2006 | De tijd dat wetenschappelijke artikelen alleen via dure tijdschriften toegankelijk waren, loopt ten einde 150.000 fulltext artikelen zullen tegen het einde van 2006 beschikbaar zijn via DAREnet, evenals 10.000 proefschriften. Dat is meer dan driemaal de wetenschappelijke jaarproductie in Nederland. In het boek Open Access : Key strategic, technical and economic aspects vertelt Leo Waaijers over zijn gevecht tegen het kartel van wetenschappelijke uitgevers, en het onverwachte enthousiasme van auteurs.

“This project taught us important lessons, the most interesting of which was undoubtedly the enthusiasm of the researchers. We were not at all sure of this before we started, and we used role-play to practise the counterarguments we would put forward against possible objections. It turned out not to be necessary. Not only were almost all the researchers who were invited happy to lend their cooperation; spontaneous registrations also started to flow in. The target of 150 participants was easily surpassed with 207 plus a waiting list of around 30. Recently the University of Tilburg has decided to add 70 new authors and the University of Utrecht is adding 28 more of their top researchers.

Naturally, copyright was a tricky problem. An important mental breakthrough came when we adopted the standpoint, with the exception of one category, not to develop a central policy, but to rely on the party that is in fact the most important in this matter: the authors themselves. This choice was prompted by the insight that the transfer of copyright to publishers is currently undergoing rapid development. It is no longer necessary for OA journals, while for the traditional subscription journals, policy varies per publisher (see the Sherpa/RoMEO list ), with many exceptions being made to this on an ad hoc basis. Springer even surprisingly gave permission for open access to all Springer articles within the Cream of Science. The only category for which we did define a central policy concerned material that had been obtained by scanning paper articles from before 1997. Before then, the copyright in the articles had been transferred exclusively for publication in a printed journal. The copyright in the digital version therefore still rested with the author. Many authors were not aware of this. This view was therefore given wide and fairly emphatic publicity by SURF, naturally among the authors, but also among the publishers (who have never disputed the standpoint) and the libraries. The final and remarkable outcome of this agile approach to copyright was that 60% of the complete works of the Cream of Science could be presented as open full-text documents.

A third crucial lesson was about the need for optimisation, both locally and nationally. The OAI protocol, in combination with the agreement to use simple DC as the bibliographic format, was an inadequate foundation on which to build a robust, scalable and efficient service. Locally, a workflow had to be set up that was compatible with the institutional environment, so that documents automatically find their way into the repository. An extra complication with Cream of Science was the separate workflow required to deal with the scanned material. In harvesting on a national scale, the variety of repository software used by the DARE partners (not only DSpace but also ARNO, i-Tor and a number of local solutions), differences in architecture (such as the use of sets) and the loose use of DC were the cause of much brain- cudgelling by the central DARE team (Feijen and van der Kuil 2005). Nevertheless, the site turned out to be a huge success, so huge that the day after the opening, the large number of visitors (50,000!) caused the site to give out. A review of the repository situation in thirteen countries (11 European, US and Australia) showed that by mid- 2005, DARE was still in a forward position internationally (van Westrienen and Lynch, 2005).

The final phase

The final phase of the DARE programme was defined in September 2005. Based on previous experiences, it was decided to demonstrate that when the DARE Programme reached its conclusion, the Netherlands would have an operational production environment of well- filled institutional repositories. Concrete decisions taken for this included the following: the DOI ( Digital Object Identifier ) will serve as identifier for the digital objects; a national system of DAIs (Digital Author Identifiers) will be introduced. In order to show specific sub-collections within DAREnet such as Cream of Science. Emphasis will be shifted from constructing dedicated sets within the local repositories to the use of generic OAI filters. This means concrete uniform agreements must be made about the use of DC within the DARE community. For instance, dc:type will distinguish between ‘bachelor thesis, ‘masters thesis’ and ‘doctoral thesis’. Metis will play a central role in the entry of metadata at the universities. Metis is an application for the bookkeeping in research projects. Its data are used to generate the annual report on scientific research and to record progress of projects or production figures in research. Developed at a single university, Metis has gradually come to be adopted by all universities in the Netherlands. Just as in DARE, in Metis the metadata of academic publications are an essential part of the system. For this reason a link from Metis to DARE was realised in 2005. In its final phase, the DARE Programme will further attune the two systems. But the final phase of DARE takes its name, HunDAREd Thousand, from a quantitative challenge: by the end of 2006 the number of accessible full- text publications in DAREnet will have risen by 100,000 to a total of 150,000. A related goal is for the number of doctoral theses to grow from 6,000 to 10,000. These doctoral theses will be shown as a separate view within DAREnet under the name of Promise of Science. To dimension these figures: the annual scientific production at Dutch universities is 51,000 publications, 2,500 of which are doctoral theses.


When the DARE Programme is concluded, the Netherlands will have a robust but elementary infrastructure of institutional repositories. At that time, there will no longer be any organisational or technical obstacles to the inclusion of the complete annual academic production of the Netherlands in the repositories and thus to making them available to numerous services in the fields of research (journals, refereed portals) and education (learning environment) or for society (practitioners, the general public). Promising spin offs of the Programme are the network of educational repositories LOREnet and the European DRIVER project (see Vogel and Enserink, 2005).

Lees hier het hele artikel DARE also means dare van Leo Waaijers