Open Access: Looking Back, Looking Forwards

Glyn Moody | Computerworld UK | December 5, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a conference celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Berlin declaration on open access. More formally, the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities" is one of three seminal formulations of the open access idea: the other two are the Bethesda Statement (2003) and the original Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002).

I entitled my talk "Half a Revolution"; the slides are embedded below, and can also be freely downloaded.

I began by sketching the pre-history of open access - that is, the key developments before the three definining declarations mentioned above. For example, I noted that the preprint repository was set up in 1991 by Paul Ginsparg, who through his brother knew of Richard Stallman's early work on GNU. Thus one of the ideas behind, with its free access to high energy physics preprints, was precisely Stallman's idea of sharing knowledge freely.

Interestingly, began on 19 August 1991; on 23 August 1991, the World Wide Web was released publicly; and then on 25 August 1991, Linus announced the start of Linux. What a week that was....