Open Science in Belgium

22 October 2012: government representatives sign the ‘Brussels Declaration on Open Access’

Brussels Declaration on Open Access, signed by Ministers Paul Magnette, Ingrid Lieten and Jean-Marc Nollet (English, French and Dutch version)

Open Science projects and initiatives

Major landmarks in the OA movement in Belgium:

  • Since 2015 Open Access Belgium is a the working group of Open Knowledge Belgium.
  • The signing of the Brussels Declaration on Open Access in October 2012. Following the Brussels Declaration on Open Access the EWI organized two follow-up workshops, one with the focus on Open Access and one focussing on Open Data.
  • In 2010 the DRIVER projects were succeeded by OpenAIRE : Open Acces Infrastructure for Research in Europe. OpenAIRE supports the Euopean Commission’s Open Science policies with a technical infrastructure and a human network. Ghent University is national open access Desk for Belgium (NOAD) and coordinates region west.
  • In 2007 the Université de Liège adopted the first Belgian ID/OA mandate (immediate deposit – optional access). Ghent University followed in 2009.  L’Université Catholique de Louvain has adopted this model as well as from January 1st 2013.
  • At the initiative of the ULg, it was decided to launch ‘EnablingOpenScholarship‘ (EOS), an organisation for universities and research institutions worldwide. The organisation is both an information service and a forum for raising and discussing issues around the mission of modern universities and research institutions, particularly with regard to the creation, dissemination and preservation of research findings..
  • A national conference was held in February 2007, bringing together the major stakeholders in Belgium regarding research. Fourteen university rectors, the Ministers of Science of Flanders and Wallonia and the president of the Flemish Council of Schools for Higher Education signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. The President of the Science Policy Office signed the Declaration the following year
  • The DRIVER projects, 2006-2009, have been instrumental in developing OA awareness across the Belgian scientific community.

Open Access repositories

23  repositories are set up until now (August 2015). You can find these on the OpenDOAR site. 12 of these are OpenAIRE complaint. Available full-text contents include doctoral and licentiate theses, journal articles, conference papers, reports, books and book chapters.

More about Open Access repositories.

Open Access publishing

The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 30 Belgian titles (August 2015), the majority of which do not charge APC’s and are funded by or established in collaboration with a research institution.

Data repositories

The Registry of Research Data Repositories, lists 22 more data repositories where Belgian institutions are involved. The complete  list can be found on

More about Open Data.

Major research funders

In order to stimulate researchers to make their work OA, some research funders have already developed Open Access policies and mandates.

  • In August 2008, the European Commission launched the Open Access Pilot in FP7 that will run until the end of the Framework Programme. In October 2013 the European Research Council (ERC) revised the Open Access Guidelines for researchers funded by the ERC. These initiatives require that researchers in designated areas provide open access to articles resulting from EC funded research, within a specified time period. Both initiatives have further special requirements.  Also, the more general set of guidelines on OA issued by the European Research Council can have an influence on Belgian Researchers.

  • In December 2013, the European Commission launched Horizon 2020, the successor of FP7. From now on, Open Access is anchored as an underlying principle for all H2020 research – meaning that all researchers working with H2020 grants are obliged to provide Open Access to their work. For more information:
  • The Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS) has recently adopted a policy regarding the mandatory deposit in institutional repositories of publications by funded researchers. It also chairs the Belgian Interuniversity Working Group on HORIZON 2020 for the monitoring of EU research policies and is a parter of PASTEUR4OA. F.R.S.-FNRS was also responsible for the organisation of a European-wide conference entitled ‘Open Access Management and Policy’ in 2011.
  • The Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) obliges its researchers to self-archive all articles coming from research funded by the FWO, in OA repositories.
  • Obviously, the policy of international funders on OA is applicable to Belgian researchers working with these funds.

For up-to-date info on the research funders’ policies, take a look at their websites:

  • : FNRS Fonds (National) de la Recherche Scientifique
  • : FWO, the Research Foundation Flanders
  • : IWT, the government agency for Innovation by Science and Technology
  • : IMinds is Flanders’ digital research & entrepreneurship hub.
  • : BELSPO Belgian Science Policy
  • : investments in research infrastructure
  • Koning Boudewijnstichting
  • BOF “Special Research Funds” are allocated annually by the Flanders Government to the universities, supporting fundamental research activities.

More about Open Access repositories.

More about Open Data.

More about policies and mandates.

Belgian Open Access Bibliography.

Brussels Declaration on Open Access.

A concise overview of the Belgian research landscape can be found on the Erawatch-site: Cordis – Erawatch National profile for Belgium.

A case study of Open Access in Belgium was made by Pasteur4OA and FNRS and can be found here:OA case study

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