Access to knowledge, information, and data is essential in higher education and research, and it can be greatly improved. The digitising of research results and digital publication in recent decades represents a fundamental shift away from the “age of paper”. Improved access is the basis for the transfer of knowledge (teaching), knowledge generation (research), and knowledge valorisation (civil society). The central idea is that the results of publicly financed research should also be available to the public.
The campaign for Open Access (OA) to research results is steadily gaining in support throughout the world. SURFshare is also an enthusiastic advocate.
The SURFshare flyer 'Greater Reach for Research with Open Access', is stating the advantages and actions involved on the road to Open Access.
Open Access year 2009
With SURF acting as coordinator, the Dutch higher education sector has declared 2009 to be “Open Access Year”. This will give a further boost to open access to the results of scientific/scholarly and practice-based research. Collaborative efforts will be made throughout the year to formulate policy, develop and improve the knowledge infrastructure, create a clear legal framework, and provide information for all concerned. Local “grassroots projects“ have already produced results that will be utilised in the course of 2009.
Open Access week 2009
In the Open Access week numerous activities took place. An overview can be found here.
Dutch Open Access Website
All the SURFpartners have collaborated to set up the Dutch website on Open Access. The website provides information on Open Access and the new possibilities opened up for researchers by ICT; it includes examples from a variety of disciplines. The website is intended to clear up misunderstandings and guide institutions of higher education towards greater re-use and sharing of knowledge.
Overview of Open Access developments
In May 2009 SURF released the study Costs and Benefits of Research Communication: The Dutch Situation by professor John Houghton. In this study three publication models are compared. The greatest advantage would be offered by the Open Access model, which means that the research institution or the party financing the research pays for publication and the article is then freely accessible. The study is available for download here.
In October 2009 SURF and the three other partners in Knowledge Exchange released a brochure in which the differences in outcomes from the various studies on costs and benefits of various journal business models are explained. This briefing paper also looks at the outcomes of the broadly cited RIN study and various national studies performed by John Houghton.
At the end of 2008, the UKB (a consortium of the 13 Dutch university libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands) produced a survey of Open Access for the conference of university administrators. That document gives a good idea of national and international trends in the area of Open Access and how Open Access can be taken further in the Netherlands.
Click here for the UKB’s memorandum on Open Access in the Netherlands: the Next Step (September 2009).
Impact and quality
Researchers have traditionally undertaken peer review and various tasks and responsibilities on the editorial boards of professional journals without being paid for doing so; this kind of work was considered to be part of their task of scientific/scholarly communication. In exchange, their work was distributed. This can result in more readers, more citations, and greater impact. Citations are often the “currency” for career prospects, reputation, and funds to finance further research.
The options opened up by the Internet have led to a change in the traditional method of measuring quality and impact, with alternatives being developed for peer review and impact assessment. The SURFshare program is investigating new review methods and new ways of measuring the use made of publications and data. It assists institutions and research communities in publishing (including enhanced publications), not only as regards organisational and technical matters but also monitoring of copyright aspects.
More information and contact
For more information, contact Annemiek van der Kuil on +31 (0)30 234 6600.