Open Access to scientific information and scholarly resources (OA) is an ongoing movement with numerous advocates and proponents unfalteringly championing the cause. Open Access is the provision of free access to peer-reviewed, scholarly and research information to all. It envisages that the rights-holder grants worldwide irrevocable right of access to copy, use, distribute, transmit, and make derivative works in any format for any lawful activities with proper attribution to the original author.
The OA movement is aligned with overarching Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with its focus on bolstering human capital and on achieving the objective of building open and inclusive knowledge societies. In order to achieve the said goal, UNESCO has adopted different effectuating approaches and strategies.
UNESCO supports OA for the benefit of the global flow of knowledge, innovation and equitable socio‐economic development. Access to scientific information is a major problem, especially owing to the high and ever increasing cost of peer-reviewed journals and the fluctuations in currency exchange rates.
Both the 187th session of the Executive Board and the 36th session of the General Conference approved UNESCO’s strategy for the promotion of Open Access to scientific information and research. The overall strategy focuses on policy development, capacity building, standard setting, partnerships and collaborations in the Open Access domain.
The Open Access activities of UNESCO are divided into the following three core areas:
- Provision of an upstream policy advice and building upon partnerships;
- Strengthening capacities to adopt Open Access;
- Serving as a clearing-house and informing the global OA debate.
To bolster its commitment to the Open Access ideology and to reach out more effectively to French and Spanish speaking countries, UNESCO is releasing its Policy Guidelines for the development and promotion of Open Access, in both French and Spanish languages. UNESCO is issuing these publications to demystify the concept of Open Access (OA) and to provide concrete steps on putting relevant policies in place.
These publications will serve the needs of OA policy development at the governmental, institutional and funding agency level with its overall objective being promotion of Open Access in Member States by facilitating understanding of relevant issues related to the subject.