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“An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good.”

The Budapest Open Access Initiative, 2002

Fifteen years ago, the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) brought together a diverse group of stakeholders and launched a worldwide campaign for open access (OA) to all new peer-reviewed research. The BOAI deliberately drew together existing projects to explore how they might “work together to achieve broader, deeper, and faster success.”

By "open access" to this [research] literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution and the only role for copyright in this domain should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

The BOAI is a groundbreaking initiative that has been widely embraced by stakeholders, and that has stimulated significant progress toward the global understanding and adoption of open access. The BOAI was the first to define the term “open access,” and its definition has since become canonical, frequently cited in the context of open access policies, practices, and laws around the world. The BOAI’s recognition of complementary strategies for implementing OA has been adopted extensively across disciplines and in numerous countries.

The 15th anniversary of the BOAI provides us with an opportunity to take stock of our collective progress. To do this, feedback was solicited through an open survey, and we received responses from 69 countries around the world. Additionally, we have convened a small working group to synthesize the community feedback and are using it to reflect on the values, impact, and continued relevance of the BOAI. The Working Group will review and digest the responses received, and provide updated recommendations that reflect the current state of the movement.

We released a comprehensive reflection written by Jean-Claude Guédon, one of the original drafters of the BOAI and noted thought leader in the open access community, providing his perspective on where the open access movement has been and where it may be headed.

We encourage you to watch the BOAI 15 twitter feed (@TheBOAI) and #TheBOAI for a series of tweets showcasing some of the reactions collected from the wider Open community on the impact of the BOAI and on open access in general. As recommendations are formulated, they will be supplemented with more action-oriented items from members of the BOAI 15 Working Group, which include:


  • Juan Pablo Alperin, Assistant Professor and an Associate Director of the Public Knowledge Project, Simon Fraser University

  • Virginia Barbour, Executive Director, Australasian Open Access Strategy Group 

  • Leslie Chan, University of Toronto, Scarborough & Founder, Bioline International

  • Martin Eve,  Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

  • Eve Gray, Research Consultant in the IP Law Unit, University of Cape Town  

  • Melissa Hagemann, Senior Program Officer, Open Society Foundations

  • Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC

  • Iryna Kuchma, Open Access Program Director, EIFL

  • Erin McKiernan, Assistant Professor,  National Autonomous University of Mexico

  • David Prosser, Executive Director, Research Libraries UK

  • Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, Confederation of Open Access Repositories

  • Nick Shockey, Director, Right to Research Coalition

  • Peter Suber, Director, Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication

  • Jan Velterop, Senior Consultant, Open Access/Scholarly Publishing

  • Iara Vidal, PhD in Information Science, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

  • Xiaolin Zhang, Director, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences

February 14, 2017
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