Questions & Answers - Easy Open Access publishing: You share, we take care!

This page contains an overview of Q&As for the easy Open Access publishing project : You share, we take care! This project offers full service to all VU researchers to make their publications open access. Researchers only have to give permission for sharing, the library takes care of the rest. You share, we take care!

Q: Why should I make my publications open access?
A: Publications of research that was funded with public money, should be accessible to the public. As a researcher working at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you are expected to “take every opportunity to share [your] knowledge and experience by means of Open Access.”(VU strategy 2020-2025). Together, we are working towards 100% open access by 2020. Analyses have shown that open access publications attract significantly more academic and social attention than publications ‘behind a paywall’. You will be able to reach a wide audience more quickly!

Q: Why do I have to sign an online agreement? What do I agree to?
A: Dutch Copyright Law grants you a personal right to publish your work open access. The library needs your permission to automatically publish your work. When you leave VU employment the permission ends, but all publications published during your employment at VU Amsterdam stay in the VU Research Portal. The online agreement also warrants full legal backing (see below). You can use this online form to give permission. You can at any time exclude publications from the Open Access permission using this dedicated form.

Q: Do I need permission from my co-authors?
A: No, Dutch law gives you a right to publish your own work Open Access irrespective of the rights of co-authors.

Q: What is article 25fa Dutch Copyright Act (Auteurswet)?
A: It is an amendment to Dutch copyright that was passed in 2015, also known as the Taverne amendment. The law grants researchers a personal right to publish their short scientific work in open access irrespective of the right of publishers and/or co-authors. The published research should be at least partially funded by Dutch public funding.
The verbatim text of article 25fa Dutch Copyright Act (Auteurswet):

‘The author of a short scientific work funded either wholly or partially by Dutch public funds is entitled to make that work publicly available for no consideration following a reasonable period of time after the work was first published, provided that clear reference is made to the source of the first publication of the work.’

Q: What is the VSNU guideline? 
A: It is a practical guideline for the application of section 25fa of Dutch copyright law. The text of article 25fa Dutch copyright is at some points vague and needed clarification for practical purposes. In 2019 all Dutch universities participated in a successful pilot to test practical guideline for this law. Publications of hundreds of researchers have been made available using these guidelines, without any legal objections from publishers. The guideline is officially approved and sanctioned by The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). Employees of Dutch Universities can use the guideline to publish their work in any non-commercial repository or on their personal website. VSNU has approved the guidelines and have pledged a guarantee for full legal backing for all researchers at Dutch Universities who publish according to these guidelines.

The VU University Library will use the conditions of the guideline to publish your work in the VU Research Portal for the ‘You share, we take care’ project.
VSNU guideline for publishing Open Access article 25fa Dutch Copyright Act (Auteurswet):

A.    The work will be shared in its definitive, published version (VOR).
B.    A reasonable period oftime will be uniformly interpreted as six months, regardless of discipline.
C.    ‘First publication’ is the date on which the published version first becomes available online.
D.    Short scientific work includes journal articles, as well as conference papers and individual chapters in ‘edited collections’. It does not include monographs or chapters of monographs.
E.    Applies regardless if a publisher appeals to foreign law and/or only a (small) fraction of the co-authors has been funded by Dutch public funds. The inclusion of a researcher as co-author is prima facie evidence that his or her contribution is of substantial value to the final product.

Q: Are there any legal guarantees in case a publisher objects?
A: The legal basis of the guideline was thoroughly researched and tested in a nationwide pilot. No legal objections were raised by any publisher. However, in case a publisher should object, VU Amsterdam guarantees you full legal backing. It is important that you contact the library as soon as possible when a publisher communicates any objections to you.

Q: What about the contract I signed with a publisher?
A: Dutch law gives you a right to publish your own work Open Access irrespective of the rights you agreed on with a publisher. This particular section of Dutch law takes precedence over any contract you signed and takes precedence over foreign law.

Q: Which version of the article will be used?
A: The publisher’s version PDF (Version of Record) will be uploaded to the VU Research Portal with clear reference to the source publication. By using the Version of Record and correct reference to the source we ensure correct citation. The Version of Record will be presented with a link for easy sharing on for instance Research Gate or social media.

Q: Can I use the VSNU guidelines to share my publications on Research Gate or Academia?
A: No, we would advise against posting publishers versions PDF’s on Research Gate (or Academia). Research gate and Academia are commercial organizations. The law only allows you to share your work for no consideration, sharing through a commercial organization is therefore not allowed. You can however post a link to the publisher’s version PDF in the VU Research Portal.

Q: Do my publications meet Plan S-requirements when published with the Art. 25fa VSNU guidelines?
A: No, if you receive Plan S-compliant funding you are required to retain your copyright, and publish without any embargo under a CC-BY license. This cannot be achieved with art. 25fa. Plan S requires that all publications resulting from research that is funded by funders participating in Coalition S will be published Open Access. In the Netherlands the Dutch Research Council (NWO), including ZonMW, are participating in Coalition S and will implement Plan S from 2021 onwards. However, a substantial amount of research at Dutch universities is not Plan S funded, and can be published Open Access using the guidelines.

Do you want to participate? You can join by using this form to grant the library permission to make your work Open Access. There is no further effort needed from you. You share, we take care!

More questions?
Do you have any more questions about the project or Open Access? You can find more information about Open Access publishing on the University Library website. You can also send an e-mail to Arjan de Rooy, Open Access specialist at the University Library, via