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Open access to Dutch research stagnating
Higher education sector needs to formulate policy and work arrangements for Open Access
Utrecht, 2 April 2012 – Open Access to higher education research results is not increasing. This is shown by the Dutch Research Repositories Monitor 2011*, a study commissioned by SURF. Although the Berlin Declaration on Open Access has been signed by all the Dutch universities, the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO-raad), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), it has not been put to action in the form of specific objectives. There are only a few universities at which the percentage of Open Access publications exceeds 20%. In the Knowledge Bank for Universities of Applied Sciences, which provides access to the knowledge products of these institutions, the number of openly accessible publications and graduation projects is lagging behind the number of graduates and lectoraten (knowledge networks). The study compares the situation of the university repositories in 2007 and 2011. This is the first time such a study has been carried out for the universities of applied sciences.
The report makes recommendations for the higher education and research sector to increase the accessibility of Dutch research: formulate joint policy and make it easy for authors to deposit their publications. Collective work arrangements regarding the national infrastructure must also be maintained and updated. The report offers a means for determining, in collaboration with the parties concerned, how these recommendations should be implemented and by whom.
Repositories supplying NARCIS
The publications that are made available via the NARCIS research portal are supplied by universities and research institutions. The study shows that the total number of publications in NARCIS is increasing but that the number to which there is Open Access remains static. There are only a few universities at which the percentage of Open Access publications (as registered for VSNU reports) exceeds 20%. That is not any substantial improvement compared to the monitor for 2007.
The NARCIS website has a number of deficiencies; these are due partly to the repositories that supply it and partly to the central processing of the data harvested from the repositories. One significant handicap is the lack of joint work arrangements in line with the latest technical developments.
Repositories supplying the Knowledge Bank for Universities of Applied Sciences
The Knowledge Bank for Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO Kennisbank) harvests and displays the content of the repositories of 21 of these institutions. At the end of 2011, this involved a total of almost 20,000 publications, with Open Access to 15,000 of these. It is not possible to establish how this relates to the total number of publications by an institution because neither the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences nor the institutions have the relevant figures. It would seem, however, that only a limited proportion of research publications find their way into the Knowledge Bank.
The available student graduation projects are all available by means of Open Access. The numbers have continued to rise in recent years to almost 2000 in 2010, but the number of graduation assignments available is only a fraction of the total number of students who have graduated.
Scenario for the future
The study investigated the Open Access availability of the research output at research universities, universities of applied sciences, and research institutions. It also looked at the administration and organisation of the repository infrastructure, technical developments, and the services provided on the basis of repositories. The authors, Maurits van de Graaf and Leo Waaijers, then sketch a scenario for the future for NARCIS and the Knowledge Bank for Universities of Applied Sciences, and they make recommendations to the institutions. The main outlines of the recommendations in the report have already been discussed with representatives of the institutions concerned. The representatives see the recommendations as a useful basis for a broad discussion with the stakeholders regarding making arrangements and the division of tasks with a view to optimisation. SURF will coordinate the reorientation of the repository infrastructure.
NARCIS and the Knowledge Bank for Universities of Applied Sciences
The Dutch research universities have been working on an infrastructure for Open Access to knowledge since 2003. They have set up a network of repositories in order to store publications and make them accessible via the Internet. NARCIS is the central portal for research information produced by the Dutch research universities and research institutions. Following the example given by the research universities, the universities of applied sciences began construction of a similar network a few years later. The Knowledge Bank for Universities of Applied Sciences is the joint portal – with functionality including a search function – for users of the knowledge products generated by these institutions.
SURF is the collaborative organisation for academic universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutions aimed at breakthrough innovations in ICT. SURF supports higher education and research in taking optimum advantage of the possibilities offered by ICT to improve the quality of education and research. SURF provides the foundation for the excellence of higher education and research in the Netherlands.
* the report is only available in Dutch. The Strategic Synopsis is available in English.
Annemiek van der Kuil
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