Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enhancing the debate on open access: knowledge for all, not just all researchers

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the International Publishers Association (IPA) have just released a joint statement on Enhancing the debate on open access, calling for a more rational, less heated approach to open access.

Excerpt from the IFLA/IPA statement:

2. IFLA and IPA recognise that the concerns of academic authors must be at the heart of this debate - their scientific freedom, and their needs as researchers, teachers, authors, reviewers and users are paramount.
3. IFLA and IPA acknowledge that the broadest possible access to scholarly communications is an important shared objective and that potential access to all research by all researchers, irrespective of geographical location or institutional affiliation is a shared aspiration of libraries and publishers.


This statement places the concerns of academic authors at the centre of the debate, and assumes that access for all researchers is at issue. What about the rest of us? Students, educators, the taxpayers who fund much of the academic research, medical and other professionals, the developing world where there are many fewer academic authors and researchers? My perspective: knowledge is for all, and the goal of open access is access for all.