Open Access


arXiv is an open-access repository of electronic preprints. In August 1991, Paul Ginsparg created a central repository mailbox stored at the Los Alamos National Laboratory which could be accessed from any computer. Additional modes of access were soon added: FTP in 1991, Gopher in 1992, and the World Wide Web in 1993. The arXiv repository consists of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, electrical engineering, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics, mathematical finance and economics.




SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) is a bibliographic database, digital library, and cooperative electronic publishing model of open access journals. SciELO was created to meet the scientific communication needs of developing countries and provides an efficient way to increase visibility and access to scientific literature. Originally established in Brazil in 1997, today there are 16 countries in the SciELO network and its journal collections: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela.



Public Knowledge Project

The Public Knowledge Project (PKP) is a non-profit research initiative that is focused on the importance of making the results of publicly funded research freely available through open access policies, and on developing strategies for making this possible including software solutions. The PKP was founded in 1998 by John Willinsky in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, based on his research in education and publishing.


The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is an international alliance of academic and research libraries developed by the Association of Research Libraries in 1998 which promotes open access to scholarship. The coalition currently includes some 800 institutions in North America, Europe, Japan, China and Australia.



Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM). It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.

Electronic Information for Libraries

EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) was founded in 1999 as an international organization working in collaboration with libraries in 60 developing and transition countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. One of its five programs is EIFL-OA, which advocates for open access to promote knowledge sharing.

Open Archives Initiative

The development of electronic repositories (e-prints) such as arXiv leads to the founding of the Open Archives Initiative - promoting interoperability standards to facilitate the sharing of research content.

Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge

UNESCO announces the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge at the ICSU World Conference on Science. The Declaration was endorsed by representatives of 155 governments and was a pioneering document outlining a clear vision for science and society in the 21st century. It defined an expanded role and responsibility for science in a new era of human history in which science and technology are primary drivers of societal change.

PubMed Central

PubMed Central (PMC) is a free digital repository that archives open access full-text scholarly articles that have been published in biomedical and life sciences journals. Launched in February 2000, the repository has grown rapidly as the NIH Public Access Policy is designed to make all research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) freely accessible to anyone, and, in addition, many publishers are working cooperatively with the NIH to provide free access to their works.

PubMed Central


Budapest Open Access Initiative

The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) is a public statement of principles relating to open access to the research literature, which was released to the public February 14, 2002. It arose from a conference convened in Budapest by the Open Society Institute on December 1–2, 2001 to promote open access – at the time also known as Free Online Scholarship.

SPARC Europe

SPARC Europe (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition Europe) was founded in August 2002 as an alliance of European academic and research libraries, national libraries, library organizations and research institutions. It wants to take the open access movement further, by means of education and advocacy, lobbying and networking, providing open access advocacy material, guidelines and recommendations, and encouraging the development of open access repositories.

Directory of Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was founded in 2003 as a directory of open access scientific and scholarly journals in any field and language. DOAJ has become the authoritative source for users of quality open access journals who are either peer reviewed or using a quality control system. Their inclusion in DOAJ increases their visibility, ease of use and impact. DOAJ also encourages best practices amongst open access publishers.

Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing

On 11 April 2003, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute held a meeting for 24 people to discuss better access to scholarly literature. The group made a definition of an open access journal as one which grants a "free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit, and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship" and from which every article is "deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository".

Public Library of Science

PLOS (Public Library of Science) is a nonprofit open-access science, technology and medicine publisher with a library of open-access journals and other scientific literature under an open-content license. It launched its first journal, PLOS Biology, in October 2003.


Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities

The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities is an international statement on open access and access to knowledge. The declaration was drafted at an October 2003 conference held by the Max Planck Society and the European Cultural Heritage Online (ECHO) project. More than 120 cultural and political organizations from around the world attended.

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust, founded in 1936, is one of the largest funding agencies in biomedical research and the medical humanities, and in public engagement, education, and the application of research to improve health. Its open access mandate took effect in October 2005.

Wellcome Trust


Consolidated Appropriations Act

The NIH Public Access Policy is an open access mandate, drafted in 2004 and mandated in 2008, requiring that research papers describing research funded by the National Institutes of Health must be available to the public free through PubMed Central within 12 months of publication. In 2008, the policy was made mandatory by law (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008).

Open Access Manifesto

Aaron Swartz, one of the leading voices for open access, publishes the "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto":

"The world's entire scientific heritage is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations... The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it".

Aaron Swartz


Panton Principles

The Panton Principles are a set of principles which were written to promote open science. They were first drafted in July 2009 at the Panton Arms pub in Cambridge. The principles were written by Peter Murray-Rust, Cameron Neylon, Rufus Pollock, and John Wilbanks. They were then refined by the Open Knowledge Foundation and officially launched in February 2010.


Sci-Hub was founded by Alexandra Elbakyan in 2011 in Kazakhstan in response to the high cost of research papers behind paywalls. Sci-Hub is a shadow library website that provides free access to millions of research papers and books, without regard to copyright, by bypassing publishers' paywalls in various ways.



Center for Open Science

The Center for Open Science is a non-profit technology organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia with a mission to "increase the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research." Brian Nosek and Jeffrey Spies founded the organization in January 2013, funded mainly by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and others.

Center for Open Science


Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research

On February 22, 2013, the White House issued a Directive supporting public access to publicly-funded research.  The policy memorandum has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research.

Open Science at European Union

In May 2016 the European Union announced that "all scientific articles in Europe must be freely accessible as of 2020" and that the Commission will "develop and encourage measures for optimal compliance with the provisions for open access to scientific publications under Horizon 2020."