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Press release

New initiative to support rare disease research in the Netherlands

Amsterdam | April 20, 2023

The Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres and Elsevier(opens in new tab/window), a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, today launched a new Rare Disease Monitor service to support rare disease research across the Netherlands. The freely available dashboard(opens in new tab/window) provides information about the research strengths of all Dutch medical research institutions carrying out research into known rare diseases.

There are more than 8,000 different known rare diseases. They occur in fewer than 1 in 2,000 people but can also be a tumor, which occur in approximately 6 in 100,000 people per year. Rare diseases are serious, and often life-threatening.

The Rare Disease Monitor will provide insights into the relative strengths of Dutch research programs on rare diseases, helping research institutions to identify and focus on opportunities. Health professionals, patient organizations and research funders will also benefit by having the same information, allowing them to monitor progress in their own fields of interest.

The dashboard is a collaboration between the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and Elsevier and is part of the Open Science agreement between Dutch universities, funders and Elsevier.  It is freely available at: in new tab/window)

The analytics are based on ORPHAcodes - provided by INSERM in France. For these codes SciBite in Cambridge has ascertained to which research articles in Scopus they apply. A team of NFU representatives and Elsevier data scientists tested the quality of the data and decided on the specs of the dashboard.

“An estimated six to eight percent of the Dutch population has a rare disease, so we all likely know someone who suffers from one. The rare disease monitor will show which diseases are being studied, in which institutions. We hope it will help the Dutch research community further their knowledge into rare diseases and support them in their vitally important work,” said Max Dumoulin, Vice President of Portfolio Innovation, Elsevier.

About Elsevier

As a global leader in information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making for customers across the global research and health ecosystems. In everything we publish, we uphold the highest standards of quality and integrity. We bring that same rigor to our information analytics solutions for researchers, academic leaders, funders, R&D-intensive corporations, doctors, and nurses.  

Elsevier employs 9,000 people worldwide, including over 2,500 technologists. We have supported the work of our research and health partners for more than 140 years. Growing from our roots in publishing, we offer knowledge and valuable analytics that help our users make breakthroughs and drive societal progress. Digital solutions such as ScienceDirect,  Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath support strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, medical education, and nursing education. Researchers and healthcare professionals rely on over 2,800 journals, including The Lancet(opens in new tab/window) and Cell(opens in new tab/window); 46,000+ eBook titles; and iconic reference works, such as Gray's Anatomy. With the Elsevier Foundation(opens in new tab/window) and our external Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Board, we work in partnership with diverse stakeholders to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world. 

Elsevier is part of RELX(opens in new tab/window), a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


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David Tucker

Director Communications, Research Products, Europe


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