Season 2 Episode 3

Budapest Open Access Initiative: Twenty Years On

Twenty years ago, the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) released a statement of strategy and commitment to advocating for and realizing open access infrastructures across diverse institutions around the world.  In this episode we have the opportunity to hear from four individuals who have been part of that journey and work since the beginning: Melissa Hagemann, Senior Program Officer at Open Society Foundations; Peter Suber from Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication; Iryna Kuchma, Manager of the Open Access Program at Electronic Information for Libraries and Dominique Babini, Open Science Advisor at CLASCO, the Latin American Council of Social Sciences. They reflect on their collaboration over the past 20 years as well as their hopes for open access in the years to come. 

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The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) – the first international open access declaration – will celebrate its 20th anniversary on 14 February 2022. In preparation, the BOAI2020 steering committee is working on a new set of recommendations, based on BOAI principles, current circumstances, and input from colleagues in all academic fields and regions of the world. 

Contribute to these recommendations by visiting the link below!

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Safa  

You are listening to the Unsettling Knowledge Inequities podcast, presented by the Knowledge Equity Lab – housed at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Critical Development Studies, and SPARC – the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

Safa

Twenty years ago a small but lively meeting convened in Budapest. It brought together stakeholders from different countries and institutions. Though each participant put forth their unique perspectives, they shared a mutual belief in a concept that they would soon jointly coin as open access. 

They met with the specific intention to accelerate global efforts to make research articles in all academic fields freely available on the internet. The result of that meeting was the formalization Budapest Open Access Initiative, commonly referred to as the BOAI. They released a declaration or a statement of strategy and commitment to advocating for and realizing open access infrastructures across diverse institutions around the world. 

Today we have the opportunity to hear from four individuals who have been part of that journey and work since the beginning. 

They reflect on their collaboration over the past 20 years, achievements and challenges, as well as their hopes for open access in the years to come. 

Melissa  

My name is Melissa Hagemann, and I am a Senior Program Officer with the Information Program of the Open Society Foundations. I’m based in our Washington DC office, but for the past about 18 months I’ve been working remotely from home in Virginia.

Peter  

My name is Peter Suber. I’m based at the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication. And for the past 18 months I’ve been working remotely from Maine.

Iryna  

My name is Iryna Kuchma, I manage the Open Access Program at  EIFL  – Electronic Information For Libraries – we work in Africa, Asia, and Europe – and I’m based in Kiev in Ukraine. 

Dominique  

My name is Dominique Babini. I’m based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At present, I am Open Science advisor at CLACSO, a network of social science research institutions, mainly in Latin America. And previously, I was for 20 years CLACSO’s Repository Manager. So the same year the Budapest Open Access Initiative launched its worldwide campaign for open access, that same year CLACSO started its repositories. And Budapest Open Access Initiatives’ declaration gave us a vision, gave us principles and recommendations that we have shared within our region, so as to promote the concept and the good practices of open access. And at that time, we contributed with a translation of the declaration to Spanish. 

Melissa  

So the Budapest Open Access Initiative came out of a meeting which my foundation, Open Society Institute at the time, organized in Budapest. The Open Society Institute had been based in Budapest – I’d worked out of the Budapest office for three years running our National Library program. So that’s the city that we decided to organize the meeting in. And thus we named it the Budapest Open Access Initiative and the Budapest Manifesto. We had supported a Network Library program, which worked in 24 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, as well as a Science Journals Donation program, through which we shipped hard copies of scientific journals to academies of sciences in this region. And in 2000, our board challenged us to find new ways to get the same academic content into the hands of the researchers who needed it, besides physically shipping these hard copies of journals. And that’s when we began to do research to see what alternatives were out there. And we thought that it might be interesting just to get leaders who were exploring alternative publishing models together to explore how we could, as a community, advance the goals which we were beginning to define and trying to find other ways besides the distribution of the hard copies of the journals in the region in which we were specifically working. But we knew we needed needed to make it a global movement in order for it to be successful. So that’s really the background to OSI’s interest in organizing the meeting in Budapest.

Peter  

I got into this by taking a hard turn. I had been a professor of philosophy for the 20 years before the BOAI. And just by chance, the year before the BOAI, I quit my tenured position to work full time on open access, or what I call “free online scholarship”, and I was writing a newsletter about it. But at some point, I wrote to OSI and I said: I’m working on this thing called free online scholarship and it looks like a good fit with what you’re doing. Do you think you could fund me? And that’s how I met Melissa, the answer was yes, they did fund me. And then shortly after that, Melissa invited me to take part in the BOIA, which was a fairly small group – 10 to 15 people who were already working on open access or free online scholarship. And by the way, we didn’t call it open access at the time. That’s something that the BOAI did , it coined that term. I think we were subconsciously echoing open source or open source software, that term already existed. We were talking about a similar kind of openness, but it wasn’t for software. It was for research texts, and eventually research data. And when we looked for a term for this thing that we were advocating, we all agreed that we wanted something that was both short and self explanatory. And I think we decided there was no such term. And the term open access is not quite self explanatory, but at least it’s short. And so we picked that short term by analogy to open source. And then we also defined it so that the definition would accompany the term and people would know what we meant by it. And one of the main questions for the BOAI meeting was: are our visions compatible, could we work together? Could we agree on common definitions? And the answer was yes, but we didn’t know that until we met and talked. And then we issued our public statement, which showed the common ground, showed the unity, defined the term and set a direction that we’re still following.

Iryna  

My colleagues in EIFL were among those who gathered to coin the term open access and release the Budapest Open Access Initiative. And I joined the group about a year later, when the Open Society Institute hosted a meeting for the National Academy of Sciences. That was a very exciting meeting where we discussed how we could put the recommendations in practice. 

Melissa  

One of the things that had inspired me to organize the meeting was the petition which PLOS, the Public Library of Science had released the summer of 2001, which called on academics not to allow any of their works to be published in any academic journals which did not make the articles freely available after six months, as well as BioMed Central. So we brought leaders of both those initiatives together, as well as others, I think it was about 14 or 15 people who attended this meeting. And at one point, István Rév, who was the chair of my board at the time, of the Information Program of the Open Society Institute, suggested that we needed a manifesto to express our thoughts coming out of the meeting. And Peter volunteered to be the lead author of the Budapest Open Access Initiative or the manifesto itself. But it was a collaborative writing endeavor, which took about two and a half months, I believe. And one of the issues which caused tension, you know, which led to such a lengthy process was that we were trying to unite the two strategies to achieve open access, which is 1) posting a copy of your article into an institutional or subject based repository, as well as 2) publishing in an open access journal. So those are the two strategies to achieve open access, which the BOI outlined but to get there, it took many negotiations.

Peter  

Yes, I agree with that. And open archives was a possible alternative name, but that would have favored the repository approach. And we wanted to be two sided or balanced. We wanted to recommend both. We want to recommend the two strategies as complementary, so we didn’t choose open archives. I’m glad we didn’t, because we still have a two sided or complementary recommendation. By the way, another possible term was open dissemination. Open ccess is really the readers side or the viewers side of this phenomenon, open dissemination is the author side. And it’s interesting to think about how things might have been different if we had picked open dissemination, but we picked open access.

Dominique  

And then, how do you actually say open access in other languages? Because of course, that term didn’t exist in those languages, like how do you say open access in Ukrainian or in Lithuanian? And in some countries, it was really a national terminology commission work to make sure that this term is really embedded in local languages, and also in local legislation.

Peter  

One thing we were clear about is that we wanted open access in all disciplines, in all countries in all regions of the world. And we had wide global representation in the room, only as far as 14 people could do that. But what we wanted was to advocate open access for every region of the world. And BOI has been doing that ever since.

Dominique  

Imagine in Latin America, printed publications are very difficult to share at a regional level, because we lack inter-library loan systems between countries and cities. And because many times the cost of regular mail to send a journal or a book is more expensive than printing it. In that context, 20 years ago, when the BOAI Declaration was issued, it inspired us. Because we were starting in Latin America to make the transition to digital publishing and sharing publications by mail, building digital libraries, and we were just starting to experiment with repositories. So our hopes were concentrating in building scholar-led open access infrastructures, with no commercial outsourcing. And we were quite successful as a region doing that. It was a different choice than in the north. Because in the north, scholarly communications were outsourced to commercial publishers. It was not our choice in Latin America.

We are a region where information systems cooperation is a tradition. It started after the Second World War with the UN Information Systems, you know, the UN Health Information System, the UN Agriculture Information Systems. We were born in the 60s, at CLACSO as a Social Science Information System, sharing information and sharing the costs of building collaborative information activities. So for us to start in the open access venues with collaborative strategy was a natural way to go forward. Because we are the region of the world with the highest percentage of open access adoption by journals published within the region, open access model of journals, which do not charge to read and do not charge to publish. Because we are in a region where research and research communications are mainly publicly funded. And universities play a leading role in publishing open access journals and books and running repositories. So that’s our main contribution to a global ecosystem of scholarly communications. And we would like to see at global level q strengthening, because there exists many scholar-led initiatives in the world and funds should be directed there.

Iryna  

For me, it was always more than just the ability to get access to scientific literature. Access is important. When I started at the university in Ukraine, journal subscriptions were unaffordable. But what is even more important is the ability to contribute to and participate in academic debates, in knowledge sharing. My colleagues from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, were the voices that had been excluded from scholarly conversations in the past for different reasons – for political reasons, for financial reasons. So for us, open access enabled global conversation.  I mentioned the meeting in Budapest with Academies of Sciences, where I met colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and they also had a strong voice and good ideas about how open access could be advocated for and implemented in China and in other Asian countries, and it’s just one example.

Melissa

I think that really speaks to the heart of why I’m so passionate about open access, because I think it not only allows scientists and academics throughout the world, but especially in lower and middle income countries to access the materials which they need to conduct their research, but it also really allows them to more officially  contribute their important work to the global research community itself. And so it’s this two way street that I think really attracts me to open access. And there’s so much yet to be done to balance this. But I think that open access has a great deal of potential to make this happen.

Iryna  

And also, one of my very first EIFl open access workshops was in Malawi, where we met with researchers who worked in different hospitals all over the country and AIDS and HIV was a big topic back then. And it was astonishing to realize that research done in one hospital wasn’t available to researchers in another hospital, which was just maybe a couple 100 kilometres away. And when we managed to solve this research sharing problem, when we really managed to make sure that researchers from all over the country and also other African countries could read and discuss the latest local research, that was very inspiring. I think that was one of the best moments when I really saw that it’s not abstract. It’s something that really changes lives. 

Safa

Despite the very tangible and positive impacts of open access for many scholars, communities and institutions around the world over the past 20 years, the process of securing funding and fighting against the power of some commercial publishing forces has been a persistent challenge. 

Melissa  

OSI at the time worked together with our partners who had participated in the meeting to release the BOAI in February of 2002. And it was our intention at that time to recruit other funders to be on board when we were releasing it. Unfortunately, at that time, no other funders were supportive of this very new concept. So Mr. George Soros, the founder and founder of the Open Society Foundations / Open Society Institute pledged $3 million to help launch the open access movement. And that’s what really got us started, we wanted to support awareness raising of open access itself, we wanted to begin to support tools. Again, this was an idea that came from István Rév, the chair of our board, that it wasn’t enough to just have open access journals. But people needed a place to be able to access these these journals, it’s one thing to have them freely available online, but people have to be able to use them. So we were able to build upon some work done by others and help to launch the Directory of Open Access Journals, which we funded the Lundt University Libraries to launch, I believe in 2003. So we began to develop tools and to conduct some research, we funded the development of business models for open access journals. And we commissioned some research to see what the status was of research, which was funded by taxpayers. And that led into the development of the strategy of advocating for public access to publicly funded research.

Dominique  

The industry is one of the most profitable industries in the world, curiously more profitable than many of the big giants and technology and the digital companies. How can we accept that research money funds one of the most profitable industries of the world? In a region like ours, where you need one year of research grants to cover the cost of one ABC in many of our countries, how can we – it’s not ethical to continue contributing with research money to an industry which is so profitable. Why did not the industry accommodate to reasonable prices to deliver services to the research community? It’s something I do not understand. But they are a part , they are a very important part and they will continue to have their part but in a system, in an ecosystem, where the main decisions will be taken by the scholarly community and by funders of research, not by the shareholders of the industry. When we were starting 20 years ago, I was in a big International Congress, and after my presentation in the corridor, a commercial provider, which dialogued with us offering his services before that event, he knew me and we knew each other and he came in and he said: your proposal is barbarian. So I was so shocked, very shocked. And I kept thinking about that. And then I think I thought: yes, you have the Empires, the Roman Empires, and you have the barbarians around, who are starting to build the future. So I said, well, I will dedicate all my energies and CLACSO’s energies to build the future, we are not going to arrange the past. 

Melissa  

There are a huge amount of challenges in terms of the role that some commercial publishers have tried to play since the very beginning in trying to interfere with the advancement of the movement, to put it lightly. In terms of advocacy, they have tried to push back any sorts of policy advances that the movement has strived to make. It’s been very challenging, especially at the beginning, because there were very few funders and the pockets of the publishers run very deep. So trying to push back against them, I think that we’ve always thought that we have the stronger argument in terms of pushing for public access to publicly funded research. And that has really found support with policymakers throughout the world. 

Peter  

Publishers lobbied hard against strong open access policies, and they hired specialists in this people who didn’t care one way or another, but research or scholarship or the public good, but who were simply paid to persuade people or, you know, twist their arms. And one company put out lots of misinformation about open access, very cynical, demonstrably false misinformation. But in some papers that leaked, the leader of that group said, you know, their arguments are better than our arguments. And so it’s hard for us to make headway in legislatures because their arguments are better.

And from the author’s point of view, putting your work in an open access repository costs the author nothing. Of course, the repository has to exist, and we hope it’s sustainable. So somebody is paying some expenses to keep that going. Universities can host repositories, nonprofit organizations, even for profit organizations can host repositories. The same goes for journals, many open access journals charge the author nothing. So for the author its without charge, but the journal has its own expenses. And then again, other open access journals do charge the author something, and the author has to find the money for that, or else pay out of pocket.

Iryna  

And I think that was also a moment when libraries got involved and organizations like SPARC and EIFL, and also other national and regional library groups and consortium started engaging with open access, because that seemed like a natural extension of what libraries had already been doing in the print age, and what they started doing in the electronic age. Also libraries in the global south had always been providing and enabling access to research materials.

Dominique  

I will summarize our main concern is that we need a global coalition, a global agreement about directing funding, research evaluation, training, in scholar-led open access. That will change the landscape. Because if the research system indicators, the research system publications, platforms, the research system for evaluation-  if all that is managed by commercial interests, which take care of shareholders and not of the interests of the research community, then we are going in a direction that we perceive in Latin America will be more unequal, will be less participative, because it will be concentrated in the privileged institutions and countries which are the most interesting clients for those companies. I give you an example. We have a chagas disease here now in tropical countries. And it was very difficult to publish about the chagas disease in journals from the north, which are the journals which are recognized in our research assessment systems. But we could not publish in those journals until chagas arrives in the southern part of the US. When they started having this chagas disease, then you could publish there. So there are so many examples in African, in Asia, in less developed countries of Europe,  of local needs and problems, which need to have a voice in the global conversation of science. So we are enthusiastic about scholar-led scholarly communications and open access.

Peter  

One major change that has happened in the last 20 years is that publishers have gone from opposing it outright, to saying: well, of course, it’s better – if only we could pay for it. And now they say: we’re doing it ourselves, we found a way to pay for it, and now the question is how. So Iryna is exactly right – it’s not whether but how and publishers have taken over. That is they’ve adopted and embraced and extended and I’d say modified it in ways that suit them. That shouldn’t be surprising. In the beginning, publishers thought this was an existential threat to them, they opposed it in every way that it could. But now their attitude seems to be: we don’t mind it at all, in fact, we like it, provided, we’re paid for it, and we own the rights. And that’s threatening to the rest of the open access movement, which doesn’t want them to have the rights. Most of us now want authors to retain the rights to their work. And the amount that publishers want to be paid for providing it is far more than the actual costs of providing it. So their way of finding an accommodation with open access is not compatible with the long term goals of the movement, although they’re still providing open access literature. So the struggles, the challenges have changed, from working against obdurate opponents, to working with allies who have a different vision. And we’re still working through that. But in the meantime, we’ve made progress – we’re not moving as fast as we wanted to. But one thing we can say, I think, is that the growth of open access, and the growth of understanding of open access has steadily improved for the past 20 years. I think the slope of the curve is fairly shallow. So we’re all frustrated, it’s not moving faster. But it’s not been a noisy curve. It’s not going up and then down and up and down, it’s steadily up. And one reason that’s good is that, in my opinion, the best advertisement for open access is open access. And when people wonder whether it’s a good thing, all you have to do is remember what it’s like to encounter a new research article in their own area that’s free for them to read and free for them to reuse. And authors who wonder about whether to make their work open are completely enthusiastic about open access as readers, and the best argument for scholars as authors is to remember the benefits to scholars as readers. But then, of course, there are benefits to scholars as authors too, because authors want readers at least as much as readers want authors and authors want the impact of being read by the largest possible audience.

Iryna  

And also at that time discussions about innovation started. Because preprints archive ,which is called archive, had already been around for a while, and publishers started asking: why don’t we use it as a submission platform for journal articles? For example the Ukrainian Journal of Mathematics started doing that. And they just encouraged their authors to post completed manuscripts as preprints on archive, and they picked them up from there, they reviewed them, and then they published them in a journal issue. They don’t need to run an infrastructure to collect journal articles. And then a discussion started on whether we really need to wait for a journal issue to be published? Do we need to release all articles all together? Or can we start releasing them one by one? And then what is really an article? Could it be a living document that is improved with feedback not only from a closed group of invited reviewers, but also from those who participate in open peer review, decoupling peer review from publishing. And there are many projects like this now – where repositories are the platforms for making research papers available and reviewers and publishers just add value to that.

Safa

Another way in which the BOAI has had a positive impact is by inspiring specific fields or disciplines to think about what “openness” could mean in their area of work.

Peter  

Just as the open access movement was inspired by the open source movement in software, I think the open access movement has in turn inspired Open Education movements, Open Data movements, and Open Science. And so openness keeps spreading. But I think one role that we played, was to spread it beyond software to scholarly literature, and then beyond scholarly literature to scholarly data.

Melissa  

Just to build upon Peters comment, OSF took inspiration from organizing the Budapest Open Access Initiative to work with the Shuttleworth Foundation out of South Africa to organize a similar meeting around open educational resources that produce something called the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. And we’ve tried over the years to really build the synergies between open access and OCR, and then eventually progressive copyright reform and bring these three under the larger umbrella of access to knowledge. So open access is where we started. And then we’ve built upon that in our work since then.

Peter  

Long ago, Jimmy Boyle made a good analogy to the environmental movement. He said, once upon a time, there was a movement for clean water, and a separate movement for clean air, and a separate movement for wildlife conservation, and so on, and so on. And they all knew they had something in common, but there was no unified environmental movement until after the separate movements got going. And we in the open access movement, were aware of our kindred movements in software, education, data, and so on. But we were hoping that there would emerge a unified openness movement, and it’s taken a long time, but I think we’re starting to see the early signs of it. And it wasn’t until the environmental movement became identified as a single thing more unified thing, that it became more successful in fundraising legislation, policymaking advocacy. And I think the same thing is starting to show up in the openness movement.

Safa

One of the key stakeholder groups in the open access movement is early career researchers. While many may be eager to embrace open access, they sometimes face structural barriers that can hold them back from doing so. 

Peter

Some ways of delivering open access are especially hard for early career researchers or young researchers. And the reason they’re a special case, even though some are mentioned, some are poor, some are in some disciplines summer in other disciplines is that they are not yet approved by their promotion and tenure committees, they’re striving to be promoted and tenured, they have to satisfy their promotion and tenure committees to have the careers that they want. And so they tend to be subject to the criteria used by their promotion and tenure committees. And that is not always friendly to open access. This is a separate problem, we can talk about promotion and tenure committees are a serious bottleneck to open access and not because the people on them oppose open access. It’s more complicated than that. But early career researchers aren’t subject to their criteria, which often steers them to the non open conventional journals, especially the oldest ones with the greatest prestige. But one way that we can correct that problem is by supplementing open access provided by journals with open access provided by repositories, something that we recommended ourselves 20 years ago. And so when young researchers are feeling pressure from their promotion tenure committees to publish in certain journals, they can still make their work open by using repositories. So we need the dual approach, we need at least repositories alongside journals to include early career researchers rather than exclude them.

Melissa  

I totally agree that the biggest challenge that we have right now facing the movement is around research assessment and how it is holding back early career researchers in particular. So we have funded work around this with the National Academies, SPARC is leading it in the US working with many universities here. And we need to do the same internationally as well, to focus more efforts to try to address this issue.

Dominique  

Young researchers and young activists working together are a fantastic opportunity. And many initiatives, as your Knowledge Equity Lab, for raising awareness about marginalized voices in academia, are seeds of innovation that we need. That’s where we need to put our energy and resources. It’s a good combination – young researchers and young activists, very involved in social issues, working together those two. We have much of that in social sciences in our region. CLACSO’s activity usually to give funds,  well 30% researchers, 30% members of social movements, and 30% people related to policies at local and national level. So we are used to require that the three perspectives are present in any activity, not every time it’s possible, but we try. So I see when I look at those groups, I see it’s an enriching experience for both parts, researchers and social activists.

Safa

While open access can be a means to facilitating a more equitable publication and circulation of research and scientific dialogue, it also can be an opportunity to address the dominance of the English language in journal publications and the science community globally. 

Dominique 

It has been and it is a very hard reality for non-English speaking research communities. Because imagine, it’s more expensive to translate to English research output from our regions than to pay a salary, a one month’s salary. I mean to publish in English is an effort that has been required by the global conversation of science to non-English speaking countries, which is very, very expensive. But I’m very optimistic – when I use any of the tools for translation, the progress in this past 10 years of translation, I realized that we all contributed, because we all took the time to improve the translation. And I always thought: oh, well, we are working for them. But now I realize we are also working for us because those tools have improved so much, that I’m very optimistic about automatic translation, and artificial intelligence. I think multilingualism has possibility in the future of the conversation of science at global level. But today, it’s a very difficult reality. Only a small, small portion of our research outputs in our regions are published in international journals in English. The ideal, of course, is to publish in your local language and in English, some privileged institutions can afford it and do it. But it’s not for everyone.

Iryna  

Yes, absolutely. If you are a Ukrainian researcher, and if you publish in an English language journal, then you get much more points than when you publish in a local journal. And the quality of those journals are usually the same. But the language defines which one is better for promotion. And I don’t think that is fair. It’s also not fair to demand from Ukrainian researchers doing local research in humanities to write in English. And then when those researchers want to publish their articles in English, they have to compete with native English language speakers. Which is not fair either, and it’s hard to compete when it’s not your native language. And it’s absolutely stupid that the language defines the quality of an article. Language can be a proxy measure of an article quality.

Peter  

There’s some evidence that editors of English language journals discriminate against authors whose English is weak. They misinterpret that as providing a weak research. And of course, that’s unfair. But it’s not something that open access can overcome. It’s a different kind of problem. But one way that open access can help pave the way to multilingual research is by lifting these needless copyright and licensing restrictions. By doing that, it makes it easier to translate works, you don’t need permission to translate an open access article if it’s under an open license as it ought to be. And before open access or without an open license translation was a very time consuming process, that is you had to negotiate for permission which might take a year. And then finally undertake the translation. Right now, you can translate anything under an open license whenever you feel like it.

Iryna  

I think university leaders and national policy makers are at the point now where they understand that they are the ones who should be setting up the rules, they shouldn’t be following the rules set up by the global north. And they should really see what makes a difference for their universities and for their research communities and support that and promote that and follow that route. So I’m optimistic that there will be lots of interesting developments from the Gllobal South, Africa, Asia – as they’re already a lot of great developments in Latin America.

Safa

Many of the principles of the BOAI declaration resonate with the UNESCO recommendation on open science which we have spoken about in our previous episodes. Iryna and Dominique both had the opportunity to participate in the multi-stakeholder consultations that took place in Argentina and Ukraine. The adoption of the Recommendation this November will be felt as a victory for the open access movement as well – and be another accomplishment to celebrate during the upcoming 20th anniversary of the BOAI. 

Iryna

What was very special for me in the UNESCO consultation process was the inclusion of other types of knowledge – non academic knowledge,Indigenous knowledge, knowledge produced by communities, and treating that kind of knowledge on the same level as academic knowledge. And also expressing that in the first international policy-making instrument, I like that approach.

Melissa  

I was thrilled to see the recommendation come out. We’ve been working with UNESCO since 2005 to advance open access. So when they began to organize and to plan for the recommendations, it was just another sign, I think, that open access is really beginning to gain ground. And through the hopeful approval of the recommendation in November, I think it will send a strong signal to governments around the world that open access policies need to be considered and adopted. I’m very supportive of the infrastructure piece within the recommendations. I think that right now that’s one of the main challenges for the movement as a whole. So having this highlighted within the recommendations is very useful.

Peter  

For our 10th anniversary, we wrote a fairly long set of recommendations. Basically based on what we learned in the 10 years since the original BOAI. We are doing roughly the same thing now based on the 20 years since the original BOAI, but it will reflect how the world has changed since the original BOAI principles were articulated, the current circumstances in which we want to implement or have to strategize to move forward on open access. And we have invited global comments from literally anybody. This interview will be released about 10 days before our deadline for receiving comments. So if you want to send a comment, please do so as soon as you can. 

Iryna  

We really want to have conversations and we want to hear what you think about open access. It’s almost like going back to the roots  – open access is not our end goal. Our end goal is better science, better research, more open, more transparent, more equitable science and research. And open access is just the means but not not an end goal.

Peter  

Open Access is a kind of access. It’s not a kind of research. By improving access or widening access, opening access, we help authors and readers of research. We help authors find a larger audience and gain greater impact, we help readers read what’s going on in their own field. That has several effects. It’s more inclusive of authors, it’s more inclusive of readers, more authors are allowed to speak, more readers are allowed to participate and understand what’s going on. It also improves the quality of research when more people are allowed to participate. So it’s a means in the sense that it’s like opening a door. And what you want to do is in the room on the other side of the door, once you get in the room, you can do those things that you wanted to do open access opens that door. And so in that sense, it’s a means to better research and more inclusive research. And what they wanted to try to do in our 20th anniversary statement is make this clear. The end goal is not simply to grow the number of articles that are open access, or the number of books or the number of datasets that are open, but to enable people to do those things that they can only do when articles, books and data are open. And that is to participate in this global conversation about the topics of research without excluding anyone.

Safa

The week following the release of this episode corresponds with International Open Access Week, a global event now entering its 14th year. Int Open Access week is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a norm in scholarship and research.

Melissa  

It was open access day many years ago, and now it’s developed into open access week. There are events around the world. So please do check out openaccess week.org to find out if there are events near you, or there’ll be many which you can participate in virtually as well.

Peter  

Every year open access week has a particular theme. And this year the theme is it matters how we make work open or research open. And it’s a good theme, it really does matter. I mentioned earlier that some ways to deliver open access are not very effective, or they’re not very inclusive. And if those are the ones that you know best, or if those are the ways that are being adopted by the publishers you are being encouraged to publish with then step back and think about other ways to deliver open access and how you’d like it to be delivered.

Dominique  

We have to get out of this competitive, individualistic fight for positions in rankings for institutions, for individual researchers. We have to live in a community way of solving problems, in collaborative ways. We have to reward that way of living and working. I think we are so frightened with our climate crisis, pandemic crisis, which are so related, an environmental crisis – I just saw yesterday pictures about the Amazon, devastating consequences of deforestation. I think there will be reactions and the research scholarly system will have answers  to contribute in building a better future. And in an open science context, your reality, your perception of your needs and how to solve your problems is a knowledge which is indispensable to improving society, and to provide solutions to our needs and problems. So open science is about that. It’s a conversation of researchers with  social organizations, with citizens. We all need to think about a sustainable future. 

Safa  

As the theme of this year’s International Open Access week declares: it matters how we open knowledge.

We invite you to reflect on what that means for you – and to  engage with open access and reflect on the ways in which you or your organization are contributing to building a more equitable and sustainable knowledge ecosystem. 

To learn more about the Budapest Open Access Initiative and respond to their call for global comments on their 20 anniversary iteration, please visit the link to their website in the show notes.

Safa

Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are provoked by what you heard today and want to dive further into these issues, we invite you to join us at the Knowledge Equity Lab. Together we can fundamentally reimagine knowledge systems and build healthier relationships and communities of care that promote and enact equity at all levels. Please visit our website,  sign up for our mailing list, follow us on social media and send us a message!