On 1 July, the KNAW Humanities Cluster will begin the design and construction of an open access journals platform, The platform aims to offer a solution for independent Dutch academic journals. 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 is in line with the aim of both the Dutch government (OCW) and various scientific 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.

‘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.’

Prof. dr. Ineke Sluiter, President of the KNAW


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.’

Prof. dr. Stan Gielen, Chairman Dutch Research Council (NWO)

About the Humanities Cluster

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).

‘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.’

Prof. dr. Lex Heerma van Voss, Director Huygens ING

For more information and interviews with project staff you can contact Hans Spijker:

Lex Heerma van Voss, chairman of the KNAW Humanities Cluster is available for interviews. On behalf of the project, Antia Wiersma, director KNHG, and Aad Blok, head of the IISH publications department are available.
Twitter: @openjournalsnl

The KNAW Humanities Cluster focuses on connecting people, research, data, and collections. We encourage innovative humanities research and build sustainable infrastructure. Our interdisciplinary research groups are experts in the humanities, computational linguistics, social sciences, and semantic web and they strive for innovation in research methodology. The Digital Infrastructure department provides a sustainable infrastructure for (digital) humanities projects.

Various organizations have contributed their expertise and vision to this initiative. OPuS Foundation, in which various University libraries participate, stood at the cradle of Together with its partners, the OPuS Foundation designed the model of this platform and conducted research into various options and examples for the technical infrastructure, governance, design and management of such a platform. It also looked at and collaborated with the aforementioned examples in Finland and Denmark.

Dutch version