A census of Open Access repositories in the Netherlands

Open Access receives a lot of attention in the Netherlands. All universities have formulated OA policies explicitly, signed the Berlin OA declaration. Erasmus University Rotterdam Stipulcated a mandated OA policy for its researchers. All Dutch universities have repositories in place and there is an overarching repository, narcis.nl, which harvest the repositories of all universities and major research institutions. The UNESCO Global Open Access Portal (GOAP) reported last year “Netherlands has a strong OA awareness and an active promotion of open access through institutional mandates, establishment of OA repositories, OA publishing agreements. SURFfoundation, a Dutch programme for information and communication technology innovation focuses on Open Access and it is the Dutch partner in Knowledge Exchange along with DFG (Germany), DEFF (Denmark) and JISC (UK)”. In 2011 some milestones were celebrated, the 250,000 publication was harvested by Narcis, and Wageningen UR deposited its 30,000th publication in Narcis by which it became the largest depositing institution in Narcis .

Despite some early assessments (van Westrienen & Lynch, 2005) no recent analyses on the actual deposit rates by Dutch universities have been made. Let alone a systematic analysis of trends in depositing rates. In this blogpost I want to give a status update of deposits in Open Access repositories in the Netherlands, concentrating on the regular Dutch universities. I hope to follow this up next year to give insight into actual deposit rates.

Data collection
Narcis was used as overarching repository for all OA publications from the Netherlands. Narcis facilitates to estimate deposits per institution, document type and publication year in a uniform and efficient way for 27 repositories in the Netterlands. Data was collected from Narcis in the period December 27th 2011 to January 2nd 2012, during that week no additional deposits to Narcis were made. The total number of deposits in Narcis during that week was 270,519 items, and did not change during the period while retrieving the data.

Results
As mentioned under data collection an impressive number of 270,519 deposits have been harvested by Narcis from the 27 OA repositories in the Netherlands. In the following graph the distribution of total deposits over the 27 repositories in the Netherlands is shown.
Total deposits in Narcis 2011
The smallest repository is the Theological University of Kampen with only 4 deposits and the largest Wageningen University with 30,704 deposits. The 13 regular universities in the Netherlands have the largest repositories as measured in Narcis. NWO with 10,179 deposited items is the largest repository of the group of none universities (this group includes the Open University). The NWO repository is just a fraction smaller than the repository of Radboud university Nijmegen. Also indicated in the graph is the recency of the deposits. The share of deposits from recent (since 2006) publication years is indicated in red, whereas the blue part of the bars represents the deposits from the older (pre 2006) publication years. Of the regular universities Wageningen UR and the VU university have the largest share recent deposits, whereas TU Eindhoven and Tilburg University have the largest share of older publications.

The next graph looks into more detail in the deposits of the most recent publication years of the 13 Dutch universities. The deposits per publication year for the period 2006-2011 are depicted. In all cases deposits from the publication year 2011 trailed behind, which doesn’t come as a surprise. In a few cases however I observe clear negative trends in the number of deposits made during the period 2006-2011. This is clearly the case for the universities of Groningen, Leiden, Maastricht and Utrecht.
OA deposits in narcis by publication year 2006-2011
The trend in deposits per publication year is more or less stable in Nijmegen and Twente. For the universities of Rotterdam, Delft, Eindhoven, University of Amsterdam, Tilburg, VU Amsterdam and Wageningen UR an increasing trend in deposits is observed. The VU Amsterdam shows a clear outlier in number of deposits for publication year 2009. About half of the universities have more than 1000 deposits per publication year. Rotterdam, Nijmegen, Eindhoven, Leiden, Maastricht and Tilburg are lagging behind in this respect. Wageningen UR has more than double the number of deposits per publication year compared to any other university.

Yearly trends SI
By far most of the smaller institutions have less than 100 open access deposits per publication year. NWO, NIVEL, KNAW and the Open University have on average between the 100 and 300 open access deposits per publication year. It is interesting to note that the deposits for publication year 2011 are more in line with the preceding publication years than for the general universities. An indication that it appears easier to manage the publication output for smaller institutions.

In the next graph I actually looked to the document type breakdown of deposits for the period 2006-2011 for the regular universities. In the first place it should be noted that there exists a large range of document types in Narcis. Some of these document types seem superfluous. The difference between Student thesis and Master thesis is entirely unclear, and technical documentation versus reports is another example. Narcis should look into this matter and some universities should clean up their document formats as well. Having said that, most universities have three major types of open access publications: articles, reports and PhD theses.
OA desposits Pub type
The VU university excels at OA article deposits over the last six years, followed by Groningen and Utrecht. Wageningen UR excels at depositing reports, followed at quite some distance by TU Eindhoven and the UvA. For the PhD theses, Utrecht has the lead, followed by the VU and Delft. OA PhD theses are an important source of material since they consists in most cases of a chapters which are preprints of articles to be published at a later date. Erasmus University Rotterdam, Maastricht and Tilburg are the universities with the largest share of working papers. Wageningen UR has a very large share of contributions to periodicals. This is a group of publications that have hardly any deposits at other universities. Looking at the overall picture Wageningen UR clearly stands out as a results of the large share of reports and contributions to periodicals. On top of that they have the largest share of conference papers as well. It can easily be argued that Wageningen UR, of all repositories in the Netherlands excels at disseminating grey literature by means of their open access repository Wageningen Yield.

At this moment there aren’t comparative repository usage statistics in the Netherlands, but the early trial results indicate that repositories with more recent content also get more article downloads. To draw firm conclusions on the trial implementation of SURE2 is a bit too early.

The share of OA in NL
The absolute numbers of OA deposits themselves are not so meaningful as long as they are not related to the actual scientific output of the institutions. Although we have the current set of figures on OA deposits as measured through Narcis in the Netherlands, the share of OA in total institutional output is a difficult figure to establish. A few institutions deposit metadata records of all their publications to Narcis, but other institutions limit themselves to OA deposits only. Whereas a third group deposits only a subset of all their publications metadata to Narcis. To arrive at figures for the full publication output we have to consult other sources. The VSNU would be an obvious source, but the disadvantage of these figures is that they are based on reporting years rather than publication years (a rather odd approach). A point in case are the PhD theses output reported by the VSNU compared to the OA theses reported in Narcis over the period 2006-2010 in the following table.

University

VSNU

OA (narcis)

coverage

    Erasmus University Rotterdam

1524

993

65%

    RU Nijmegen

2266

1992

88%

    RU Groningen

1690

1082

64%

    TU Delft

1319

1079

82%

    TU Eindhoven

900

776

86%

    University Leiden

1791

919

51%

    University Maastricht

1367

1542

113%

    University Twente

1321

1077

82%

    University Utrecht

455

333

73%

    University van Amsterdam

1276

1297

102%

    University van Tilburg

896

790

88%

    Vrije University Amsterdam

878

772

88%

    Wageningen UR

1075

1032

96%

At Maastricht University and UvA there were actually more theses deposited in NARCIS over the period 2006-2010 than reported to the VSNU. For actual years the fluctuations can be quite extensive, but over a period of consecutive years the fluctuations become smaller. Apparently all theses defended at Maastricht and the UvA are available in OA. Wageningen follows closely with 96%, whereas Radboud University Nijmegen, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, Twente University, Tilburg University and VU Amsterdam follow with percentages of OA PhD theses in the 80%. Erasmus University, RU Groningen University of Leiden and Utrecht University are lagging behind in depositing their PhD theses in OA.

Coverage of OA article ouput
For an actual estimate of articles produced per institution multiple sources exist. The VSNU figures based on reporting years are useless in this respect. The databases Scopus or Web of Science (WoS) could be used to estimate the actual article output per university, but to disambiguate all the name variations of the universities (and their institutes or hospitals) is a cumbersome task. In this respect Scopus actually performs better than WoS. However other sources based on either WoS or Scopus have already carried out this disambiguation. The reports by CWTS for example are useful in this matter. The most recentWTI2 report (Jager et al. 2011) (the successor of the NOWT reports) gives figures for the publication output of Dutch universities for the period 2007-2010 (table 30, p. 48) that have been disambiguated by CWTS. These figures are derived from Web of Science and underestimate the actual peer reviewed article output. For a life sciences university as Wageningen UR some 70% of the actual article output is published in journals covered by WoS and included in the TWI2 report. For broad, general universities with more social sciences and humanities this percentage is expected to be lower. For Tilburg this figures appears to be only 30%, whereas for Nijmegen this seems to be 51% and for TU Eindhoven 67%.

In table 2 the total number of articles for the period 2007-2010 reported in Narcis, the total number of articles according to CWTS (TWI2 report, Jager et al. (2011)) and the actual OA articles reported in Narcis are presented. The percentage OA coverage is calculated in two ways. In the first place we look at the %OA(CWTS) by comparing the OA articles in Narics to the articles reported by CWTS. In the second place we look at the total number of articles reported in Narcis compared to the OA articles reported in Narcis. In the third percentage column we look the minimum value of both methods. The last column is probably the best estimate of %OA coverage per institution.

Table 2, total articles per university for the period 2007-2010 reported in NARCIS and TWI2 and %OA coverage based on comparison with CWTS figures and total articles registered in Narcis

University

Articles

In Narics

Articles by

CWTS

OA

articles

%OA

(CWTS)

%OA

(Narcis)

Minimum

%OA coverage

    Erasmus University Rotterdam

1072

10663

1072

10%

100%

10%

    Radboud University Nijmegen

19803

10126

1189

12%

6%

6%

    RU Groningen

4067

10461

4067

39%

100%

39%

    TU Delft

2150

6521

2145

33%

100%

33%

    TU Eindhoven

7041

4732

520

11%

7%

7%

    University Leiden

730

10616

730

7%

100%

7%

    University Maastricht

519

7086

482

7%

93%

7%

    University Twente

3665

3740

880

24%

24%

24%

    University Utrecht

4803

15243

3039

20%

63%

20%

    University van Amsterdam

16191

13030

2727

21%

17%

17%

    University van Tilburg

5791

1782

1285

72%

22%

22%

    VU Amsterdam

5354

10912

4410

40%

82%

40%

    Wageningen UR

10572

7419

2479

33%

23%

23%

    Aggregate

81758

112331

25025

22%

31%

22%

Comparing the OA articles in NARCIS for the period 2007-2010 with the figures from CWTS report results in a very favourable figure of 72% of the articles available in OA at Tilburg university. This favourable figure is largely due to the under estimation of Tilburg University article output based on articles covered in WoS journals only. VU Amsterdam is the next highest (40%) %OA articles based on the CWTS figures, followed closely by Groningen (39%). The aggregate figure for all universities in the Netherlands is 22% of the articles are OA based on WoS estimates of article output. Since WoS under estimates the actual article output it is useful to look at the total number of articles in Narcis as well.

Compared to the self deposited articles in Narcis, Erasmus University Rotterdam, RU Groningen, TU Delft and Leiden University only deposit OA articles in Narcis whereas the other universities also deposit metadata for none OA articles. However, coverage of this share of publications varies among universities. Radboud University Nijmegen and TU Eindhoven for instance, who score already low on the %OA articles based on the CWTS figures, score even lower considering their self reported article output in Narcis. In those instances where the %OA(Narcis) is higher than the %OA(CWTS) there is an underestimation of the actual article output registration of metadata deposited in Narcis.

The minimum %OA coverage of reported in the third percentage column is the best estimate for OA coverage for universities in the Netherlands based on OA articles reported in Narcis. VU Amsterdam, RU Groningen and TU Delft are the most successful in making their article output available in OA. The reported coverage lies clearly above the 20% of OA reported for most institutions without mandated OA policies (Harnad, 2009) Twente University, Utrecht University, Tilburg University, Wageningen UR and UvA are performing around the average of 22%, this percentage is in line with the figure of %OA for universities without mandated OA policies. Whereas Erasmus Rotterdam, RU Nijmegen, TU Eindhoven, Leiden university and Maastricht university are under performing in this respect. It remains a question whether OA article numbers reported by Narcis are actually correct, or wether in the case of Radboud and TU Eindhoven, the total article output reported in Narcis are correct. It is possible that the document types actually include more than only peer reviewed scholarly articles.

Despite having signed the Berlin OA declaration by all Dutch universities, this has resulted only in a few universities with substantial higher shares of OA peer reviewed articles than is to be expected on the basis of a “normal” publication output which results in about 20% articles published in OA. For the universities where I arrive at even lower %OA articles we have to wonder whether Narcis actually harvest and reports all the universities output.

Another valuable approach is to concentrate on the grey literature are Wageningen UR does. But for this type of documents it is even more difficult to arrive at a share of OA coverage. This can only be established by the institutions themselves since it can be doubted whether all institutions have their output registration complete.

Lessons to be learned

  • Narcis could and should improve the type reporting as performed in this report. They should produce overviews like this preferable twice a year.
  • Narcis should look into some of the obsolete document types to reduce the wild array of documents (are technical documentation different from reports?, student theses and master theses are probably not the type of research output to be registered in Narcis)
  • Institution should look at the document types deposited in Narcis as well.
  • The role of Narcis and the importance of OA could be improved if VSNU and Narcis (KNAW) make Narcis the standard reporting tool for research output registration in the Netherlands (The VSNU should abandon the ridiculous reporting years and use the publication years in their reports instead)
  • Universities should use metis (or a comparable CRIS) to upload all the metadata of the institutional output to Narcis.
  • Having comprehensive output registration, makes the minimum goal of at least 20% in OA better attainable since you are not depended on actual article submission by the authors, but based on Sherpa/Romeo and DOAJ OA versions can be chased down.
  • Mandates such as those in Rotterdam, announced at the beginning of 2011, have no effect whatsoever if there is no actual stick behind the policy

References
Harnad, S. (2009) Waking OA’s Slumbering Giant: Why Locus-of-Deposit Matters for Open Access and Open Access Mandates. http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/522-Waking-OAs-Slumbering-Giant-Why-Locus-of-Deposit-Matters-for-Open-Access-and-Open-Access-Mandates.html
Jager, C.-J., J. Veldkamp, D. Aksnes, R. te Velde & P. den Hertog (2011). Wetenschaps-, Technologie & Innovatie Indicatoren 2011. Utrecht, Dialogic innovatie ● interactie http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten-en-publicaties/rapporten/2011/11/15/wetenschaps-technologie-innovatie-indicatoren-2011.html.
Westrienen, G. van & C. A. Lynch (2005). Academic Institutional Repositories: Deployment Status in 13 Nations as of Mid 2005 D-Lib magazine, 11(9) http://www.dlib.org/dlib/september05/westrienen/09westrienen.html

6 thoughts on “A census of Open Access repositories in the Netherlands

  1. Wouter, You note in your fascinating post that “early trial results indicate that repositories with more recent content also get more article downloads.” This extract includes a link, but when following this link I can’t see evidence for the statement. Can you be more specific with this direction? Thank you.

    Steve

  2. Dear Steve, the SURE2 repository statisitcs tool is still in test phase (I wonder if I am allowed to post it, but did it anyway). Since it is still very much in Beta, I guess it is malfunctioning occasionally. Keep trying.
    Anyway that relation I mentioned is not statistically proven, but just my gut feeling looking at the trends.

  3. Interesting! Where can I find an overview of Open Access mandates, regulatations, and recommendations from Dutch universities? In particular, I’m curious what Maastricht University has to say about it…

Comments are closed.