KNAW Humanities Cluster builds Diamond Open Access platform for academic journals

On 1 July, the KNAW Humanities Cluster will begin the design and construction of an Open Access journals platform, openjournals.nl. The platform aims to offer a solution for independent Dutch academic journals. Openjournals.nl offers them a low-threshold route to becoming Open Access. The realization of this platform is possible thanks to a three-year project grant from NWO. The platform is expected to go live at the end of 2020.

100% Open Access

The development of openjournals.nl is in line with the aim of both the Dutch government (OCW) and various academic organizations (NWO, VSNU, KNAW) to have 100% Open Access for academic publications after 2020. Understandably, for a long time, a great deal of attention has been paid to the international journals of large publishers. One problem with this is that, especially in the social sciences and humanities, there are also Dutch academic journals that often find it difficult to make the step to 100% Open Access. The Open Access platform will offer a solution for this. Ineke Sluiter, president of the KNAW says: ‘Publicly funded research must be accessible to everyone. At the same time, in many academic fields, there are valuable publishing channels that are not based on a business revenue model. We must therefore work together to ensure that the principle of Open Access can be achieved across the entire breadth of science, taking into account relevant differences.’


A Diamond business model has been chosen for the design of the platform. A model in which there are no financial barriers for authors. The platform’s funding is guaranteed by means of a contribution model from stakeholders such as NWO, scholarly societies and, in the near future, universities and university libraries. The platform provides support and a technical (ICT Provider/hosting) function for the participating editorial and publishing bodies of (not necessarily Dutch-language) journals. Journals are and remain the property of editorial and publishing bodies. And these remain completely autonomous with respect to their editorial policy and decisions about possible subscription structures for their paper publications. Journals and editorial boards together form the governance of the intended platform.

Plan S

The platform is based on similar, successful models in Denmark and Finland. The requirements of Plan S are being taken into account in the setting up of the platform. Authors retain copyright and articles are published under CC BY licence: ‘It is important for diversity in the landscape that Dutch journals also get the chance to make the switch to Open Access. Due to our membership of cOAlition S, NWO feels a responsibility to help in this regard. We are happy that the KNAW Humanities Cluster will take the lead in this,’ said Stan Gielen, Chairman of NWO.

KNAW Humanities Cluster makes OA publications possible

The technical design and development of the journals platform will be done by the Digital Infrastructure department of the KNAW Humanities Cluster. Within the Humanities Cluster, three KNAW institutes work closely in the field of the humanities, namely: the Huygens ING, the International Institute for Social History (IISH) and the Meertens Institute. The Humanities Cluster plays a pioneering role in the development of large-scale national digital infrastructure for modern humanities research. This is possible because within the Humanities Cluster, the largest humanities department of Digital Infrastructure in Europe collaborates with researchers and data managers. Moreover, one of the institutes, the Huygens ING, manages a number of journal archives that are freely accessible via their so-called Resources (see Huygens Resources).

Lex Heerma van Voss, chairman of the Humanities Cluster and director of Huygens ING: ‘We think it is important to contribute to digital infrastructure for the humanities. There are countless important academic journals that are not published by a large international publisher, but by, for example, a Dutch scholarly association. The contributions can also be excellent science. We are happy to help them publish this in Open Access.’