Open Science

Open science

The Open Science mission

Open Science is a movement to make scientific research data available and directly accessible to any interested party. By increasing transparency and enabling access to important knowledge, scientific progress can be improved in both quality and speed, while proving fair and equal access to important sources of scientific data. It encompasses practices such as publishing in open access journals or providing funding to pay for open access fees, encouraging scientists to practice open science by using electronic lab notebooks, and making it easier to publish and communicate peer-reviewed scientific knowledge. While there are exceptions to what can be shared as a result of legal restrictions (e.g. personal patient data and patentable research), most research data are perfect candidates for sharing and provide a rich source of knowledge that has yet to reach its full potential.

 Open Science principles

Maastricht University endorses the principles of Open Science and offers its academics support to put these principles into practice to make science "as open as possible, as closed as necessary". The Open Science umbrella covers topics such as:

  • FAIR data use: Whenever possible, research data must be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.
  • Open Access: Promoting free online access to scientific information, such as publications and data. In this model, the author pays, not the reader.
  • Recognizing and rewarding scientists in a different way: Scientists are usually judged by their publication output and the research grants they have acquired. Open Science also stands for recognition and appreciation of other issues such as educational activities, leadership qualities and social impact.

Open Science in MERLN

MERLN is adopting these principles as well and Dennie Hebels, one of our project leaders, takes part in our faculty’s Open Science Community as an Open Science Ambassador to spread knowledge on Open Science, answer questions, and give advice. Within MERLN, he has developed a data management strategy based on the use of electronic lab journals and data organization basics. The goal of this is not only to make it easier for researchers to find and organize their data, it also documents research results according to current data management requirements from funding agencies and makes it easier to share data according to the FAIR guidelines.

Open Access publishing and data sharing

Open Access publishing goes hand in hand with the principles of Open Science and MERLN strives to make as many publications as possible freely accessible for other researchers around the world. In our Publications overview, these papers are designated with the Open Access symbol. No journal subscription or connection with a university network is needed to access these papers' contents.

Over the last 6 years, we have steadily increased our percentage of Open Access publications, which is a result of several factors:

  • MERLN's Open Science mission to share our research as much as possible.
  • Grant agreements that require Open Access publishing (often associated with additional funding to cover potential article processing charges).
  • Agreements between Dutch university libraries and traditional academic publishers that make Open Access publishing more attractive by offering it for free or with a substantial discount.
  • The Taverne amendment in the Dutch Copyright Act that allows us to provide access to paywalled publications via our library's Research Publications repository.

Enabling free access to papers is only the first step in Open Science. In order to make our science truly open, wherever possible, we aim to share our research data as well. These data may be included with the papers themselves in the form of supplementary data, but we also deposit data in freely accessible data repositories such as Dataverse. MERLN has its own data container in Dataverse where we will continue to publish data sets to accompany our Open Access papers. All data sets are assigned their own digital object identifier (DOI), ensuring its findability and unique identification.

Secure data archiving: DataHub

DataHub is the data-archiving repository of Maastricht University and MUMC+. It allows for safe storage of (non-)clinical data and is mainly intended for inactive data, i.e. data that are not actively being used but are very valuable and need to be stored for future reference or further analysis. MERLN is a frequent user of DataHub's services and many of our data sets are securely deposited on DataHub's servers. DataHub is not publicly accessible and is therefore perfect for archiving of data that fall under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Moreover, DataHub works according to the FAIR principles which aids in making (part of) the DataHub-archived data available for sharing, for example, through its integration with Dataverse.


Read more: Open Science


Cookie and Privacy

Cookie & Privacy Statement

This is the privacy statement of MERLN, The Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine, at Maastricht University, Universiteitssingel 40, 6229 ER, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Hereinafter called MERLN.


This privacy statement is applicable to all privacy sensitive information or personal data provided to us, for example through a registration form, contact form or orders placed by you. We attach great value to the privacy of our customers and therefore exercise the greatest care possible in dealing with and protecting personal data. We process data in conformity with the conditions set in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). MERLN is the party responsible within the meaning of the GDPR with regard to the processing of your personal data. This means that we are the only ones who determine which personal data will be processed, and for which purposes and in which manner this happens. We are responsible for the processing of your personal data in an appropriate and careful manner, in conformity with the GDPR. In this privacy statement we describe which data are processed by us and for which purposes it is used.

Overview personal data

We do not process personal data.


A cookie is a small text file that is stored on your computer, tablet or smartphone when you first visit a website. You can unsubscribe from cookies by adjusting the settings of your web browser in such a way that cookies are no longer stored. Next to that you can delete all previously stored information via the settings of your browser.

We use the following cookies:

  • Functional cookies: these cookies are necessary for the technical functionality of the website and to provide greater ease of use. They ensure that the website functions properly and remember, for example, your preferred settings. They also enable us to optimize our website. These analytical cookies do not invade your privacy, so that we do not require your prior permission to use them.
  • Google Analytics: cookies of the American company Google are placed on this website, as part of the “Analytics” service. MERLN uses this service in order to receive reports on the way the website is used and to be able to measure its quality and effectiveness. We use Google Analytics in the manner prescribed by the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (Dutch DPA) in order to qualify for the exception under the Dutch Cookie Act, so that your prior permission for the use of Google Analytics is not required. 

View, correct of delete data

You have the right to view, correct or delete your data. Next to that you have the right to revoke any permission you gave for the processing of data, and the right to object to the processing of your personal data. You have the right to data portability if digital personal data are processed by us either with your permission or for the performance of an agreement we have concluded with you.
This means that you can submit a request, asking us to send the digital personal data we have stored about you in a readable computer file to you or an organisation indicated by you.

You can send requests to view, correct, delete or transfer your personal data, a revocation of your permission, or an objection to the processing of your personal data to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To ensure that a request to view was filed by you, we ask you to attach a copy of your identity card to your request. Please make your passport photo, MRZ (machine readable zone, the lines with numbers at the bottom of the passport), passport number and citizen service number (Dutch BSN) invisible. We ask you to do this in the context of your privacy. We will respond to requests as quickly as possible and within four weeks at the latest.

We would also like to point out that you have the possibility to lodge a complaint with the national supervising authority, the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens.


We take the protection of your personal data seriously and will take appropriate measures to prevent abuse, loss, unauthorised access, unwanted disclosure and unauthorised changes. If you have the impression that your data are not protected adequately or if there are indications of misuse, please contact our customer service or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read more: Cookie-privacy-statement

History & organization

History & organization

MERLN History and organization

The MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine was founded in 2014 by Prof. Clemens van Blitterswijk. Van Blitterswijk also headed the Complex Tissue Regeneration (CTR) department at that time. Together with the other two departments, namely Instructive Biomaterial Engineering (IBE), led by Prof. Pamela Habibovic and Cell Biology-Inspired Tissue Engineering (cBITE), led by Prof. Jan de Boer, MERLN quickly grew to become a successful institute performing cutting-edge science, establishing new interdisciplinary collaborations, and building up an excellent regional, national and international reputation.

Van Blitterswijk led the institute until December 2018, after which Pamela Habibovic became its new Scientific Director. At the same time, Prof. Lorenzo Moroni took over as head of the CTR department and began as the institute's Deputy Director, while Jan de Boer moved to the Technical University Eindhoven. In September 2019, cBITE gained a new department head, when Prof. Martijn van Griensven was appointed. Van Blitterswijk still continues to serve as a principal investigator and scientific advisor to MERLN and joins our Business Development Officer, Prof. Marianne van der Steen, on MERLN's advisory team. 

The chart below depicts MERLN's organizational structure which also shows the Principal Investigators, our Managing Director Dr. Sef Janssen, and the Executive Team, consisting of Van Blitterswijk, the three department heads, and Prof. Roman Truckenmüller.


Prof. Clemens van Blitterswijk, founder of MERLN.
Picture by Joey Roberts.

Read more: History & organization

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