Advocates Set Ambitious Goal: Setting the Default to Open Access in Ten Years’ Time

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Ten years ago, a small group of activists convened in Budapest to discuss ways for the academic community to come together and work to make all research articles in all academic fields freely available online. The participants (which included SPARC’s Founding Executive Director, Rick Johnson) represented a wide variety of academic disciplines, national affiliations, and points of view. All were involved in efforts to create a more open system of scholarly communication.

Together they explored how they, and others, might collaborate to leverage the community’s collective chances for success. The result of that meeting was the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), a statement of principle, strategy, and commitment that is widely considered to mark the birth of the Open Access Movement.

Earlier this year, members of the Open Access community convened on the 10th Anniversary of the BOAI to take stock of progress, identify remaining challenges, and to chart a course for the continued global adoption of Open Access practices and policies. Today, the participants* in this year’s meeting released a set of recommendations building on the original BOAI document and establishing an ambitious new goal of achieving Open Access as the default method for distributing new peer-reviewed research in every field and in every country within ten years’ time.

Key recommendations in the BOAI 10 document include:

• Development of Open Access policies in higher education institutions and in funding agencies;

• Widespread adoption of open licensing for scholarly works;

• Continued development of critical infrastructure such as Open Access repositories;

• The creation of standards of professional conduct for Open Access publishing

None of the BOAI 10 recommendations are likely to surprise anyone in the academic community who have been following the evolution of Open Access, and many are simply refinements to strategies that are already in place. However, they are still critically important. While we’ve made enormous progress towards our ultimate goal, there are very real hurdles to cross before Open Access is accepted as the norm for communicating the results of research and scholarship. The BOAI 10 recommendations provide important guidance for helping to clear those hurdles, once and for all.

Open Access benefits scholars and researchers, teachers and students; it increases the return to taxpayers on their investment in research; and it amplifies the value of research to society as a whole. SPARC supports the principles and strategies articulated for achieving Open Access set out in both of the BOAI documents. As an organization tasked with being a catalyst for action, we’re committed to achieving the BOAI 10 goal of Open Access for all in ten years’ time – or better still, sooner!

* Participants in the BOAI 10 meeting with a SPARC affiliation included Peter Suber (SPARC Senior Researcher), Alma Swan (SPARC’s Director of European Advocacy), Lars Bjørnshauge (Director of SPARC’s European Programs) and Heather Joseph (SPARC’s Executive Director)