ScienceGuide has been active as a journalist platform on the subject of higher education for 26 years. The medium is funded by a group of universities of applied sciences and other institutions affiliated to higher education such as SURF, a cooperative association of Dutch educational and research institutions. Erasmus University is not one of the financiers of the website which plays a key role in the public discussion surrounding higher education.

Not one positive reaction

In order to help the platform recover financially, the editorial staff has asked all research universities, universities of applied sciences and umbrella organisations to make contributions over the last year. “Not one positive reaction came in, despite people claiming to attach great value to an independent platform and eagerly reading the articles”, wrote the editorial staff in a final urgent appeal on its website.

The editorial staff therefore now has a deadline: if 2500 paying subscribers cannot be found before 17 February, the plug will be pulled. A one-year subscription costs 85 euros.

Exclusive access

Should the target number be reached, then the editorial staff feels that the prospects will be sufficient to further expand the platform. The website will then be accessible to subscribers and partner institutions only.

It is going to be a tense time for the three-person editorial staff. “Every day, the editorial staff’s inbox is inundated with responses from readers and each year, hundreds of articles are sent in for publication. But we don’t know how our valued readers and users feel about it. We’re going to find that out now.”

Financial conflict with Maastricht

Just last October, ScienceGuide got into a conflict with Maastricht University, one of the website’s financiers. The university was apparently demanding repayment of its contribution to the platform from the last two years because of an objectionable article. According to Maastricht University, that was incidentally a ‘complete misrepresentation’, the agreement with ScienceGuide had expired and the university had transferred the money by mistake. “If the money is successfully claimed back, it will likely mean the end of ScienceGuide”, stated the editorial staff at the time.


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