Marking the 15th anniversary of the open access movement

By Heather Joseph

(2 March 2017) This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), a landmark meeting convened in Budapest by the Open Society Foundations (OSF) that aimed to accelerate progress in the international effort to make research articles in all academic fields freely available. The participants issued a widely circulated declaration (subsequently signed by more than 5,000 organizations and individuals) that beautifully articulated the goals of the Open Access movement. The declaration reads in part:

“An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds.

“Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.”

The BOAI declaration has since become widely recognized for establishing the definition of open access, and for articulating specific strategies to promote its adoption. To commemorate this anniversary, an international working group was convened to take stock of progress made to date, and to recommend updates to the BOAI strategy. The results this effort, which include a comprehensive community survey, will be released in the next few months.

To complement this effort, OA pioneer Jean-Claude Guédon authored a comprehensive article providing his perspective on the progress – as well as the stumbles – made by the open access movement over the last 15 years. This paper, titled Toward the Internet of the Mind, provides a thoughtful analysis of the considerable challenges that still remain in achieving the full BOAI vision of Open Access, and offers insight on strategies to capitalize on new opportunities for progress.

To find the full text of this paper, and to revisit the full text of the BOAI declaration, please visit the website.