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Prologue: The Budapest Open Access Initiative after 10 years

Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI): setting the default to open

Ten years ago the Budapest Open Access Initiative launched a worldwide campaign for open access (OA) to all new peer-reviewed research.

It didn’t invent the idea of OA.

On the contrary, it deliberately drew together existing projects to explore how they might "work together to achieve broader, deeper, and faster success."

But the BOAI was the first initiative to use the term open access for this purpose, the first to articulate a public definition, the first to propose complementary strategies for realizing OA, the first to generalize the call for OA to all disciplines and countries, and the first to be accompanied by significant funding.

Today we’re no longer at the beginning of this worldwide campaign, and not yet at the end.

We’re solidly in the middle, and draw upon a decade of experience in order to make new recommendations for the next ten years.

  • We reaffirm the BOAI "statement of principle,...statement of strategy, and...statement of commitment."
  • We reaffirm the aspiration to achieve this "unprecedented public good and to 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."
  • We reaffirm our confidence that "the goal is attainable and not merely preferable or utopian."

Nothing from the last ten years has made the goal less attainable.

On the contrary, OA is well-established and growing in every field.

We have more than a decade’s worth of practical wisdom on how to implement OA.

The technical, economic, and legal feasibility of OA are well-tested and well-documented.

Nothing in the last ten years makes OA less necessary or less opportune.

On the contrary, it remains the case that "scientists and scholars...publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment" and "without expectation of payment."

In addition, scholars typically participate in peer review as referees and editors without expectation of payment.

Yet more often than not, access barriers to peer-reviewed research literature remain firmly in place, for the benefit of intermediaries rather than authors, referees, or editors, and at the expense of research, researchers, and research institutions.

Finally, nothing from the last ten years suggests that the goal is less valuable or worth attaining.

On the contrary, the imperative to make knowledge available to everyone who can make use of it, apply it, or build on it is more pressing than ever.

We reaffirm the two primary strategies put forward in the BOAI:

  • OA through repositories (also called "green OA") and OA through journals (also called "gold OA").

Ten years of experience lead us to reaffirm that green and gold OA "are not only direct and effective means to this end, they are within the reach of scholars themselves, immediately, and need not wait on changes brought about by markets or legislation."

Ten years of experience lead us to reaffirm the definition of OA introduced in the original BOAI:

  • By "open access" to [peer-reviewed 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 problems that previously held up the adoption and implementation of OA are solved, and the solutions are spreading.

But until OA spreads further, the problems for which OA is a solution will remain largely unsolved.

In this statement, we reaffirm the ends and means of the original BOAI, and recommit ourselves to make progress.

But in addition, we specifically set the new goal that within the next ten years, OA will become the default method for distributing new peer-reviewed research in every field and country.

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