What Is Open Access?

The History of Open Access

The term “open access” originates from the Budapest Open Access Initiative, launched in 2002. The initiative issued two recommendations. Firstly, scholars should be given tools and assitance in order to self-archive their publications in openly accessible repositories. Secondly, journals should be created that do not use copyrights to restrict access to their articles, but instead guarantee their availability via open access. The launch of the initiative was backed by the Open Society Institute with 3 million US dollars in grants to repositories and journals.

The Berlin Declaration was released just over a year later, adding several important components to the first initiative: It explicitly mentions the humanities as further stakeholder in the scholarly community; it emphasizes the role of freely accessible software; and it expands the scope of open access to journal articles to include all products of scholarly activities such as book chapters and monographs, but also raw data and metadata, images and databases.

The Berlin Declaration

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities calls for research data and digitized material to be made available for scientific use in an unrestricted and citable form. Since its publication in 2003, the resolution has been signed by more than 540 national and international scientific organizations. The publication ventures of Edition Open Access are committed to the goals formulated in the Declaration. Libraries, museums, archives, and educational institutions are called on to make their digitized material (e.g. databases, photographic material, or text source) available as computer-readable objects without restriction and in a form that can be cited worldwide. The declaration was signed on 18 April 2016 at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities by representatives of its supporting institutions - Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - and its cooperation partners - the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the German Archaeological Institute, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.