Establishing a Central Open Access Fund The University of Amsterdam (UvA) ranks among the largest comprehensive universities of Europe with approximately 25,000 students. It belongs to the League of European Research Universities and maintains intensive contacts with universities all over the world. UvA staff publish around 7,500 academic articles each year. This case study looks into the steps taken by the UvA to establish a central, institutional fund for the payment of article processing charges (APCs) for open access publication and initiating a systematic process to support investigators at UvA in disseminating their research to a global community. The driver for central funds: improving dissemination After the Berlin Declaration was signed in 2005, the Board of UvA wrote a policy document on scientific information. Part of this policy was concerned with improving the visibility and dissemination of the scientific output of the University. One of the conclusions was that in order to improve visibility and dissemination, it was important to encourage publishing in peer-reviewed, open access journals. At that time faculty and researchers did not have specific budgets to pay for open access publication fees. It was clear that a central fund would be essential to help researchers pay the publication fees of fee-based open access journals to remove any financial obstruction. Setting up the University of Amsterdam Central Fund What departments were involved? The library and the central University Board of UvA were involved in setting up the University open access fund. At the time the fund was set up, in 2005, Dr. Sijbolt Noorda was President of the University. He is an active supporter of open access to published research; he also signed the Berlin Declaration for UvA. Dr. Noorda along with Dr. Nol Verhagen, Head of Library Services, were the driving forces behind the open access fund. In addition, the library stimulated the open access movement within the University by setting up an institutional repository, arranging open access publication memberships with PLoS and BioMed Central and actively supporting new models of publication to give researchers more control over their scientific output. How was the central fund set up? The scientific information policy document was written and communicated within the University in September 2005. The responsibility for setting up and managing the fund was given to the library of the UvA. In May 2006 the library advertised for a new job position: “Repository Manager/Specialist Electronic Publishing” to manage the UvA central fund, the position was filled in August 2006 by Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer. A UvA central fund website, featuring detailed information about open access and a fund request application form, was developed and the central fund was officially launched in January 2007. Financing a central, open access fund The funding for the UvA open access fund came from central funding from the government. The government gives all universities in The Netherlands central budget, which Universities may spend as they feel appropriate. At UvA the central budget is divided up amongst the faculties and central services of which the central library is one. The money from the central budget given to the library was used and split between funding subscriptions and open access. The open access central fund receives 150,000 Euros per year until the end of 2009. Dr. Verhagen estimated this amount as sufficient to fund UvA authors wishing to publish in open access journals. For more information on how to set up a central fund, call The Open Access Publisher +44(0)207 631 9131 or email email@example.com www.biomedcentral.com Open weekdays 9am - 6pm. UK time. Establishing a Central Open Access Fund At UvA the University Board took the initiative to write a policy document on scientific information and set up the central fund: they didn’t have to be convinced by others. Researchers generally support the idea of an open access fund but do not necessarily recognise the need to reserve extra funds. It was therefore essential that a central policy was put into place by the UvA Board to ensure that the funding was made available for the payment of article processing charges (APCs) for open access publication and for initiating a systematic process to support investigators at UvA in disseminating their research to a global community. “At UvA policy makers on the Board were supporters of open access. They instigated the central policy which was vital for moving forward” Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer, Repository Manager/Specialist Electronic Publishing, University of Amsterdam How are monies from the fund being monitored and accounted for? Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer, Repository Manager/Specialist Electronic Publishing, based at the library, manages the University’s open access fund. To be able to use monies from the open access fund, an author has to fill in a request application form on the open access fund website. Each fund application registers the faculty and institute, the kind of journal (open access or hybrid), the publisher, the requested amount of money, the amount paid for, the date of request and payment, the journal, the author(s), the title and the publisher’s DOI. For the application to be successful at least one of the researchers has to be an employee at the university and the journal publication needs to be open access rather than subscription access. If there is still money in the fund, the open access publication fee is paid. How is the fund being used so far? The UvA open access fund officially launched in February 2007 with 150,000 Euros per year. At the end of 2007 64% of the year’s budget was used up. 65% of the requests for the open access fund have come from the Medical Faculty and 60% of the open access fund has gone to BioMed Central publications. Planning for the future The UvA open access fund receives 150,000 Euros per year until the end of 2009. The library will be negotiating with the publishers of hybrid journals, where UvA are paying for open access articles, to lower their subscription charges. It is proposed that the money saved from the lower subscription charges will be transferred into the open access fund. This transition from subscription to open access budgets is not a simple and immediate step but is a long-term aim. For more information on how to set up a central fund, call The Open Access Publisher +44(0)207 631 9131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.biomedcentral.com Open weekdays 9am - 6pm. UK time.