Brief History

The history of OA is a combination of small advances after the launching of several parallel initiatives who brought up the needed benefits of the practice of OA, the technological advancements that greatly improved the possibility for sharing and accessibility, and the financial investment in infrastructures that allow the implementation of OA.

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The idea that scientific knowledge should be shared, especially when produced with public funds and that the access to this information is essential for the advancement of science itself (like the Declaration on science and the use of scientific knowledge, 1999 by UNESCO), pave the way to create the context needed to approach what was later know as Open Access.

“Open Access” (OA) was firstly mentioned in 2002, in the scope of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (the BOAI 2002, reaffirmed through the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, in 2003).

The BOAI 2002 not only launched a worldwide campaign for OA to all new peer-reviewed research, but also proposed complementary strategies for realizing the OA:

  • Self archiving: authors deposit their article in a repository/open electronic archives which can be accessible through OA search engines. This strategy lead to what is known by Green Access.
  • Open Access journals: authors publish their work in OA journals, that will use copyright and other tools to ensure permanent open access to articles. This strategy lead to what is known by Gold Access.

Many other declarations and initiatives on OA, mainly promoted by researchers, were launched ever since. The Open Access Directory provides an extensive list of declarations in support of OA since 1964.




The benefits of the practice of OA are several and its impacts reach a vast group of the society:


  • Increases readers’ ability to find use relevant literature
  • Increases the visibility, readership and impact of author’s works
  • Creates new avenues for discovery in digital environment
  • Enhances interdisciplinary research
  • Accelerates the pace of research, discovery and Innovation
  • Encourages collaboration and avoids duplication of effort (bringuing a greater efficiency)
  • Improves the monitoring, evaluation and management of their scientific activity
  • Increases the visibility of institutions through the visibility of their publications
  • Demonstrates the Organization’s willingness to comply with OA mandates
  • Contributes to core mission of advancing knowledge
  • Democratizes access across all institutions – regardless of size or budget
  • Provides previously unattainable access to community colleges, two-year colleges, K-12 and other schools
  • Provides access to crucial STEM materials
  • Increases competitiveness of academic institutions
  • Students
  • Enriches the quality of their education
  • Ensures access to all that students need to know, rather what they (or their school) can afford
  • Contributes to a better-educated workforce
  • Leverages return on research investment
  • Creates tool to manage research portfolio
  • Avoids funding duplicative research
  • Creates transparency
  • Encourages greater interaction with results of funded research
  • Access to cutting-edge research and encourages Innovation, promoting faster market developments.
  • Stimulates new ideas, new services, new products
  • Creates new opportunities for job creation
  • Provides access to previously unavailable materials relating to health, energy, environment, and other areas of broad interest
  • Creates better educated populace
  • Encourages support of scientific enterprise and engagement in citizen science




Do you want to practice Open Access?​



The type of open access, the specific repositories, the timing and the procedures to practice open access should be established in OA mandates, that can be adopted by a research institution, a research funder or a government.

There are 2 main routes to provide OA:

  1. Self-archiving / “green” open access – the author, or a representative, archives (deposits) the published article or the final peer-reviewed manuscript in an online institutional or subject specific repository before, at the same time as, or after publication. In this case, they must ensure open access to the publication (the embargo period) within six months of publication (12 months for social sciences and humanities). An alternative to national and institutional repositories is ZENODO (the EU’s open repository). In this model, the copyright is retained by the publisher.
  2. Open access publishing / “gold” open access - an article is immediately published in open access mode and accessible to all readers, in OA or hybrid journals (subscription based journal with a paid open access option). The payment of publication costs is shifted away from subscribing readers. The most common business model is based on one-off payments by authors. These costs, often referred to as Article Processing Charges (APCs) are usually borne by the researcher's university or research institute or the agency funding the research. In other cases, the costs of open access publishing are covered by subsidies or other funding models. In this model, the copyright is held by the author.


Open Access Publishing models, depending on the conditions to cover the APCs


The decision on the OA model should be supported by preliminary information on OA Repository Mandates and policies as well as copyright policies followed by different publishers. This information could be found in different platforms:

  • ROARMAP - Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies. ROARMAP is a searchable international registry charting the growth of open access mandates and policies adopted by universities, research institutions and research funders. Such policies request or require that researchers provide open access to their peer-reviewed research article by depositing it in an open access repository.
  • SHERPA/JULIET - listing research funders’ open access policies. JULIET is a searchable database that provides quick summaries of funding agencies´ grant conditions regarding self-archiving of research publications and data. It also provides statistics on open access journals and policies.
  • SHERPA/ROMEO - RoMEO provides a searchable database of publishers´ copyright and self-archiving policies for preprints and postprints. It is aimed at users already familiar with open access and shows which publishers comply with funding agencies´ conditions on open access.


How to make your research Open Access? 


(source: Fossilsandshit)


... and there is always the option to use ZENODO – the EU open access repository.



Find the available resources on Open Access

Find the available resources on Open Access