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Elsevier partnering with the Dutch research community

In May 2020, organisations representing the Dutch research community (UNLopens in new tab/windowNFUopens in new tab/windowNWOopens in new tab/window) and Elsevier together formedopens in new tab/window a unique open science partnership. The agreementopens in new tab/window, which runs through to December 2024, includes publishing and reading services, and the joint development of new open science pilot services for disseminating and evaluating knowledge.

This webpage includes information, links and documents about the partnership, as well as the latest information about the pilot services.

Partnership at a glance

Partnership goals

This multi-year partnership is centered around the provision of a set of services that support the Dutch open science ambitions and aims to make science more transparent, reproducible, inclusive and collaborative — allowing for the broadest possible audiences to participate, make use of and contribute to the research process. The agreement is unique in that it goes beyond the scope of Open Access Publishing and Reading Services alone. Partners are jointly developing various pilot services which aim to meet the specific Open Science needs and ambitions of the Dutch research community.

Core elements

The agreement between the partners comprises three key components:

Open Science pilot services

What are the OS pilots?

A key element of the Dutch Open Science Partnership is that partners jointly develop new services in support of the Open Science ambitions of the Netherlands. The implementation depends on unanimous approval by the governance bodyopens in new tab/window. Conditions for approval are relevance to Open Science and compliance with the agreed collaboration principlesopens in new tab/window. Services aim to provide enriched and improved data about research that is open for all. These services enable finding research outputs and (societal) impact, finding collaborators for new research project (both with academic and for public engagement), better support the research funding, evaluation and assessment processes.

How are pilot projects established?

From ideation to validation and ending in their implementation, the establishment of new pilot services follows a fixed framework. Once approved, participation in any pilot is always at the sole discretion of the institutions.

Open Science pilot process: from ideation to validation to and roll-out

OS pilots: ideation: Ideation, validation and roll-out process.

Spotlight: The Data Monitor support service

It is often difficult for institutions to have full visibility of thousands of open data repositories and monitor which ones their researchers are using. The Data Monitor will help institutions to better track, report and showcase open data, whilst alleviating researchers’ workloads.

Specifically, the service:

  • Automatically inventories where datasets are located, provided the public data can be tracked (on generalist, domain or institutional (data) repositories or shared privately)

  • Tracks metadata of these research data sets, particularly the description, authors and related research article

  • Integrates with the partner’s CRIS to automatically upload this metadata as part of the standard institutional CRIS curation process

  • Integrates more than 20 million research data records from 1,700+ generalist and domain specific repositories

  • Enables institutions to showcase and report on open data sharing and check Data Management Plans (DMPs)

Pilot participants are: University of Amsterdam, Free University, Amsterdam UMC (AMC + VU Medical Center), University of Groningen, Technical University Delft, Leiden University, Twente University, Wageningen University & Research, Tilburg University, Maastricht University, TU Eindhoven, the Open University, Erasmus University, and DANS.

Reading services

The agreement covers reading access to quality, peer-reviewed content across Elsevier’s journals, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Elsevier-published society titles. Researchers also benefit from access to the ScienceDirect platform, a leading source for scientific, technical and medical research.

Open access publishing services

The partnership supports the Netherlands’ ambition to achieve 100% open access. From January 1, 2020, Dutch corresponding authors can publish open access in Elsevier journals. Read more about the NL Agreement.

Open access  uptake

As part of Elsevier’s open access services, we provide tools for agreement partners to track and monitor uptake. See how UNLopens in new tab/window is using this data: current OA uptake figuresopens in new tab/window.

Governance and participation

Collaboration between the partners is organized via a governance structure, comprising:

  1. A Steering Group

  2. An Executive Board

  3. Various workstreams managing specific pilots agreed between the parties

The governance structure approves pilots, evaluates progress against agreed objectives  and oversees compliance with the agreementopens in new tab/window and its Collaboration Principlesopens in new tab/window.

Roles and responsibilities

Executive Board

Steering Group


Oversees the overall objectives of this Agreement, with a specific focus on the Open Science components

Decides which new pilots will start

Prepares the project statement of works

Ensures adherence to the agreed collaboration principles

Reviews the progress of individual pilots and implementation projects

Prepares solution design and development of the Proofs of concept/MVPs

Reviews and signs off on the annual evaluation process

Supports pilot and implementation workstreams that will execute the projects

Executes the projects

Manages escalations that cannot be resolved in the operational tier

Prepares the annual evaluation for the Executive board

Reports progress to the Steering group and relevant stakeholders

Ratifies very large strategic pilots of a national or transnational nature

Ensures the availability of proper documentation and communication to all relevant stakeholders

Connects with existing collaboration structures (PURE user group, UKB teams)

Prepares escalations, if any, to the Executive Board

Initiates ideation for new concepts

Ensures that the collective pilots support the Dutch Open Science ambitions

Pilot participation

Any partner can suggest pilot ideas which will be submitted for approval to the joint steering group. Upon approval, a Statement of Work (SOW) must be signed by participating institutes (see schedule 5, section 5. of the agreement). Participation remains at the sole discretion of the institutes. Key considerations for the approval of pilots by the steering group include relevance to Open Science and adherence to the agreed Collaboration Principles, which is validated in the Pilot Framework template document. Upon approval, both SOW and Framework templates are made publicly available.

The above mentioned documents are available in the specific pilot sections on the partnership websiteopens in new tab/window.

For more information regarding the joint governance and pilot programs, please reach out to Joep Verheggenopens in new tab/window or Guillaume Warnanopens in new tab/window.

Collaboration principles

The governance structure ensures adherence by the partnership to a jointly defined set of collaboration principles related to:

  1. Interoperability and vendor neutrality: Users and institutions are free to use their own or third-party products and services. In working together with its partners, Elsevier will ensure optimal interoperability for its services.

  2. Transparency, inclusion and collaboration: The services and resulting deliverables aim to make science and research more transparent, efficient, inclusive, openly and freely accessible, and collaborative. The partners have agreed that the broadest possible audiences should have the opportunity to participate, to make use of and to contribute to the scientific process.

  3. Access to research data and metadata: Elsevier will provide partners with ongoing access to all research data, including metadata, analytics and information.

  4. Data portability: Institutions can freely transfer their data to their own or to a third-party host environment.


The Dutch Open Science agreement was developed by partners UNLopens in new tab/windowNFUopens in new tab/windowNWOopens in new tab/window and Elsevier. Because diverse parties with differing perspectives are involved in this agreement, the partnership reflects both the common as well as the diverse interests and needs of Dutch research, making it highly inclusive and truly national partnership.

Further reading

Contact us and stay informed

For questions or comments about the open science services, please reach out to Joep Verheggenopens in new tab/window or Guillaume Warnanopens in new tab/window.