2.3 Open Access – Philosophy
Three OA declarations, commonly known as BBB declarations, in the beginning of the 21 st century have shaped OA publishing environment in the successive decades. These declarations also have hinted strong philosophical foundations for supporting the ideas and principles of OA.
The Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002) recorded the philosophical understandings of its signatories:
An old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good. The old tradition is the willingness of scientists and scholars to publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment, for the sake of inquiry and knowledge. The new technology is the internet. The public good they make possible is the world-wide electronic distribution of the peer-reviewed journal literature and completely free and unrestricted access to it by all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds. Removing access barriers to this literature will 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.
On the other hand, signatories of the Berlin Declaration (2003) believe that:
The Internet has fundamentally changed the practical and economic realities of distributing scientific knowledge and cultural heritage. For the first time ever, the Internet now offers the chance to constitute a global and interactive representation of human knowledge, including cultural heritage and the guarantee of worldwide access. ... We, the undersigned, feel obliged to address the challenges of the Internet as an emerging functional medium for distributing knowledge. Obviously, these developments will be able to significantly modify the nature of scientific publishing as well as the existing system of quality assurance. ... We have drafted the Berlin Declaration to promote the Internet as a functional instrument for a global scientific knowledge base and human reflection and to specify measures which research policy makers, research institutions, funding agencies, libraries, archives and museums need to consider. ... Our mission of disseminating knowledge is only half complete if the information is not made widely and readily available to society. New possibilities of knowledge dissemination not only through the classical form but also and increasingly through the open access paradigm via the Internet have to be supported. We define open access as a comprehensive source of human knowledge and cultural heritage that has been approved by the scientific community. ... In order to realize the vision of a global and accessible representation of knowledge, the future Web has to be sustainable, interactive, and transparent. Content and software tools must be openly accessible and compatible.
We see the similar sentiments and beliefs are reflected in the Bethesda Statement (2003) as well. The Statement indicates:
Scientific research is an interdependent process whereby each experiment is informed by the results of others. The scientists who perform research and the professional societies that represent them have a great interest in ensuring that research results are disseminated as immediately, broadly and effectively as possible. Electronic publication of research results offers the opportunity and the obligation to share research results, ideas and discoveries freely with the scientific community and the public.
These three pioneering declarations got wide supports from the Noble laureates and renowned global thinkers. Similarly, other global, national, regional and institutional OA mandates, introduced after BBB declarations, have recognized and enacted upon philosophical foundations carved in these three pioneering declarations. All of them endorse the principles of the OA model for maximizing the access and benefit to scientists, scholars and the public throughout the world.