Message on the transfer to the National Initiative Open Science

‘Since the launch of the NPOS in 2017, progress has been made in many aspects of the transition to Open Science. The percentage of open access publications of ZonMw and NWO-funded research has increased to 90%. Job descriptions for data stewards have been professionalised and the citizen science network has been established.  Locally, several open science programmes were set up, and researchers started open science communities, digital competence centres and domain-specific data infrastructures were established or strengthened.

Trainings and workshops, for example on FAIR software or open hardware, have greatly increased knowledge of open practices. Publications and events such as the National Open Science Festival have highlighted examples of open working. Publinova, the platform where anyone can freely find the results of diverse practice-based research has been developed and will go live in the first half of 2023. In the field of recognition and appreciation, steps have been taken, and national ambition is high.

At the international level, the European Open Science Cloud was launched and the UNESCO recommendation on Open Science was unanimously adopted by 193 member states. More countries drew up a national Open Science plan or agenda. 

During this period, a general trend started: the definition of what is meant by Open Science was enlarged. There is broader thinking about involving citizens in the world of research, there is more attention to domain-specific aspects of data sharing and digital security. We also see new developments in publishing interim research results and open access models without publication costs for authors. Finally, there is a growing awareness that the welfare of students and researchers must be at the centre of all future changes and decisions, as well as the effects on the climate and people worldwide, and involving parties from all parts of the kingdom.

These developments and insights have been included in the NPOS2030 Ambition Document and Rolling Agenda, or will play a role as we collectively move into the implementation phase. Through an open consultation, 78 institutions, networks, communities and individuals previously contributed to the Ambition Document. The Rolling Agenda was then written by several writing teams, and has the support of partners involved in the NPOS Steering Committee, the Advisory Board and the Rolling Agenda editorial board. The final version of the Ambition Document and Rolling Agenda is presented to Minister Dijkgraaf and available under DOI:

This does end NPOS’ facilitation of all stakeholders. With the 20 million euros made available annually by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to accelerate our Open Science ambitions, this facilitating role will be passed on to the National Initiative (Regieorgaan) Open Science now being set up within NWO.

To further implement the agenda, it is essential that all parties individually and collectively take responsibility for this. Implementation (and its coordination) will not be the task of one organisation. Partly at the request of OCW, NWO has appointed a director with the assignment to come up with a proposal for the set-up, design and organisation of the Regieorgaan Open Science within NWO. The process for this is ongoing but not yet finalised. The aim is to arrive at the establishment of the Regieorgaan in Q1 of 2022. More information will also follow in Q1 about the funds already allocated in 2022 that will be spent on strengthening local data stewardship capacity and Open Science Communities.

An important task of the Regieorgaan will be to enable the plans developed in recent years by providing temporary impulse funding. In addition, the Regieorgaan will play a role in continuing to bring parties, organisations and communities together at various levels, including the national consultations at administrative level on open science. Further elaboration of this will be precipitated in a covenant that will form the basis for the establishment of the Regieorgaan.  

The Steering Committee would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the NPOS, and specifically in the drafting of the Ambition Document and the Rolling Agenda. We will now continue to build together. As before, the partners and stakeholders involved will bring in different perspectives. Individual objectives of the Rolling Agenda are more relevant to one partner than to the other. Some objectives will be coordinated by the National Initiative, others can be taken up by the partners individually. In a Rolling Agenda -the name says it all- objectives are also added or adjusted over time, to keep them in line with future developments.

This flexibility in working: together, with different emphases and sometimes in different compositions, aligning on the basis of shared overarching ambitions, reflects the values of co-creation and also Open Science. Given the enormous involvement of various parties, we are confident that together we will make the transition to Open Science a success.’

Stan Gielen, voorzitter NPOS Stuurgroep,
Jet de Ranitz, voorzitter NPOS Advisory Board,
Sander Bosch & Melanie Imming, voorzitters Editorial Board NPOS Rolling Agenda

National Programme Open Science

In line with international initiatives like the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the goal of NPOS is to enable all national stakeholders to jointly transform science. The Netherlands occupies a leading position in the field of Open Science. This is due not only to the efforts of individual stakeholders, but also to their collective commitment under the NPOS banner.

Building on this solid foundation, it is now time to accelerate the transition towards our Open Science ambitions. To this end the NPOS2030 Multi-Annual Plan, which includes the NPOS2030 Ambition Document and a Rolling Agenda, is drawn up.

1. NPOS2030 Ambition Document

The developments in the years after the National Plan Open Science was launced, and the new insights they brought, are taken into account in the new NPOS2030 Ambition Document. This Ambition Document was drawn up through an open consultation with the field, and is based on four strategic goals, which include cooperation, inclusiveness, efficiency, transparency and integrity, accessibility and re-use.

2. Rolling Agenda

The Rolling Agenda will contain:

  • The milestones leading to the strategic goals of NPOS;
  • The action lines for achieving these goals and the related criteria and guiding principles that cut across the action lines;
  • The resources needed to implement the action lines;
  • The stakeholders engaged in the action lines and how they are involved.

3. Governance

Since the launch of the National Plan Open Science in 2017, the NPOS has led to greater collaboration and connectivity. In 2019, it was decided to work within a programme structure. Since then, investments have been made in strengthening national networks and also a number of projects.

It is expected that the current organisational structure will change. On 17 June 2022, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science announced in his Policy Letter (only in Dutch) that 20 million euros per year will be made available for Open Science starting next year. He has asked NWO to take responsibility for the spending of these funds and to set up a temporary ‘Regieorgaan Open Science’. This is based on the example of other directional bodies which fall under the NWO. With this body, efforts on a national level can be better coordinated and bundled.

These plans will be worked out in more detail in the coming months, in collaboration with the universities of applied sciences, the university medical centres and the service organisations such as SURF, DANS and 4TUdata. NWO has appointed the quartermaster/director Regieorgaan Open Science in augustus 2022. Until then, the current programme structure will remain in place. This is as follows:

The NPOS Steering Committee has the task of managing the transition to Open Science on a national level, with a connection to an international context. The Steering Committee consists of the directors of the largest research performing and funding organisations in the Netherlands, namely:  

  • Universities of the Netherlands (UNL)
  • Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Stan Gielen is Chair of the NPOS Steering Committee.

The National Coordinator Open Science (NCOS) is responsible for national coordination as well as for connection to Europe. The Steering Committee reappointed Karel Luyben as NCOS in 2020. In addition to NCOS, Luyben is chair of the Task Force Open Science of CESAER, and President of the European Open Science Cloud Association.

The NPOS Advisory Board has the task of giving both solicited and unsolicited advice to the Steering Committee. Although such advice is not binding, non-compliance by the Steering Committee will require an explanation. The Advisory Board is viewed as the Steering Committee’s sounding board. Members of the Advisory Board are:

  • SURF
  • The National Library of the Netherlands (KB)
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW)
  • Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (VH)
  • DANS
  • Collaborating Health Foundations (SGF)
  • Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Care Innovation (ZonMw) 
  • PhD candidates Network Netherlands (PNN)
  • eScience Center (NLeSC)

Jet de Ranitz is Chair of the NPOS Advisory Board.

The execution of the current NPOS programme tasks is organised along three programme lines

  • Fair Data, lead: Ruben Kok, DTL 
  • Open Access, lead: Darco Jansen, UvNL 
  • Citizen Science, lead: Margaret Gold, Citizen Science Lab, Leiden University

where the action lines in the forthcoming Rolling Agenda are set out along four different lines.