Open access means making scientific material available digitally without any restrictions.
The classic system of paid subscriptions limits access to scientific materials. The UvA library supports open access because science benefits from research results that are made available quickly and freely. By publishing research findings open access the knowledge is disseminated more efficiently.
Organisations that finance research also endorse open access. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the European Commission (in FP7, Horizon2020), and the European Research Council (ERC) require authors to publish the results from research that they have funded open access. Authors always have the choice between the golden route (the publisher publishes the articles open access on their own site) or the green route (the researcher places a copy of their article in a repository such as UvA-DARE).
The Dutch government aims that by 2020 100% of research funded by the Netherlands is published open access. In order to achieve this the Association of Universities (VSNU) and the Dutch university libraries have made agreements with many of the large publishing houses that authors currently employed by a Dutch university can publish open access for free. For more see Financing Open Access Publications.
A useful flowchart for UvA staff: 'How do I make my article open access?' is available.