Minister Dijkgraaf stresses importance of open science with Slave Registers as example

On 29 March, the Dutch minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, sent a parliamentary letter stressing the importance of open science in scientific research. In his letter, he named research project Slave Registers by Coen van Galen (Radboud Institute for Culture and History) as a shining example of open science.

"To solve the great challenges facing the world, it is crucial that the results of research and science are freely accessible. This seems obvious, but it is not always so yet: access to (publicly funded) research is regularly restricted. This is undesirable because it creates inequalities in access to knowledge. [...]"

So begins the parliamentary letter that Robbert Dijkgraaf, minister of Education, Culture and Science, sent to the House of representatives on 29 March. In the letter, the minister stresses that open science is an important core value in research and it is crucial that the results of research and science are freely accessible. ''This enhances trust in science and ensures an improved connection between scientists and society,'' Dijkgraaf writes.

Slave Registers

The letter also cites three examples that illustrate the power of open science. One such example is Coen van Galen's Slave Registers project:

“Access to family history: in a collaboration between Dutch, Surinamese, Curaçao and Aruban (research) institutions, population archives are made freely available online for scholars and the public. The database links persons appearing in various archival sources, such as slave registers, emancipation registers, civil registry and census records. This makes it easier for people to trace ancestors and find out about their own family's role in slavery. Such open research has a huge impact on many people's sense of identity. Indeed, it becomes possible for these people to trace and understand their roots and backgrounds. Besides the fact that volunteers are encouraged to participate in the project, which further increases public engagement, the research findings are also used in education and in the cultural sector.”


A covenant has been signed between several open science partners to cooperate at the national level and accelerate the transition to open science. The temporary governing body (until 2031), Open Science NL, will have access to open science resources from the Research and Science Fund.

Read the full letter here (in Dutch)

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