May 22, 2022

Netherlands: Dutch Universities and Elsevier Reach Agreement in Principle On Open Access and Subscription

After 13 months of negotiations a deal has been reached.

From the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU):

The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and scientific information provider Elsevier have reached an agreement in principle that marks a milestone in the Netherlands’ transition to Open Access scholarly publishing and provides Dutch researchers with continued subscription access to high-quality research.

Details of this 3-year agreement, which is to start in 2016, will be finalized in the near future.

“We are pleased about this agreement as it facilitates a sustainable transition to Open Access,” said Prof. Gerard Meijer, chief negotiator for the VSNU and Chairman of Radboud University Nijmegen. “It gives academics at Dutch universities subscription access to Elsevier journals and allows them to publish Open Access in a selection of these journals. The Dutch universities aim to make 30% of their researchers’ publications Open Access by 2018 this the agreement makes it possible to get there. It’s genuinely good news and a big deal for Open Access in the Netherlands.”

An FAQ about the deal (2 pages; PDF) from VSNU is also available.

From the FAQ:

Q: What happens after 2018? Why was a three-year contract chosen?

A: This agreement makes it possible to reach 30% gold open access articles by authors with a Dutch affiliation by 2018. We expect that the open access landscape for academic articles and their publishers will have changed to such an extent that we will need to re-examine in 2018 how to proceed in the future. The guiding principle for universities is that 100% open access should ultimately be achieved.

Q: If academics do not have to pay APCs for articles in the designated OA journals, who does?

A: The costs for the APCs (a sum that an academic pays for the open access publication of his/her article) for authors with a Dutch affiliation have been bought off in this agreement with Elsevier. For the next three years the costs fall under the big deal, provided that publication is in a selected journal.

Q: Is there an option for open access publication if my intended journal is not on that list?

A: Open access publication in the selected journals is free of charge for the full year. If a journal is not on the list, but you still want to use open access publication, Elsevier continues to offer the option for open access publication after payment of the APC costs. These APC costs will not be reimbursed automatically though. In cases like this, the academic can choose a different journal or he/she must seek their own funding for those APC costs.

Direct to Complete FAQ

On a related note: About three weeks ago, Springer announced a similar type of deal (aka Springer Compact) with VSNU.

See Also: Netherlands: Dutch Researchers Being Asked to Boycott Elsevier Publications, Resign from Editor Positions (July 4, 2015)

See Also: Dutch Universities Dig In For Long Fight Over Open Access” as Talks With Elsevier Resume (January 8, 2015)

See Also: Negotiations Between Dutch Universities and Elsevier Over Open Access Have Failed (November 4, 2014)

Hat Tip and Thanks: @ASCLibrary and Vysotsky

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.