Context of Open access


The OA movement was born in reaction to the explosion of scientific electronic journal costs. Only four publishing houses are currently sharing 40% of the market of scholarly publication and achieve up to 30% revenue from this business. Larivière, V., Haustein, S., and Mongeon, P.(2015) The oligopoly of Academic publishers, PLoS One, 10;10(6). doi: 10.1371 .The budgets of university libraries devoted to online journal subscriptions for online journals (3 millions CHF per year for the UNIL) cannot afford such prices increases.

In addition, international funding agencies are no longer willing to pay to access published information from research that was actually funded by public funds. Published results should instead be freely available to support scientific progress.To overcome this situation, and to maintain sustainable access to scientific information, academics are in favor of Open Access.

The prospective study made by the Max Planck shows that there is currently already enough money in the  academic system for a complete transformation to an Open Access road without occasioning additional expenditure. Schimmer, R., Geschuhn, K. K., & Vogler, A. (2015). Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access. doi:10.17617/1.3.


The Budapest Declaration (2002) and Berlin Declaration (2003) are two major policies that define OA as including not only the right to read, download and print, but also the right to copy, distribute, search, link, crawl, and mine.

Open access in the Budapest Declaration (2002)

« By open access to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited. »

Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003)

« Establishing open access as a worthwhile procedure ideally requires the active commitment of each and every individual producer of scientific knowledge and holder of cultural heritage. Open access contributions include original scientific research results, raw data and metadata, source materials, digital representations of pictorial and graphical materials and scholarly multimedia material.

Open access contributions must satisfy two conditions:

1. The author(s) and right holder(s) of such contributions grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable,

worldwide, 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 (community standards, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now), as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.

2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in an appropriate standard electronic format is deposited (and thus published) in at least one online repository using suitable technical standards (such as the Open Archive definitions) that is supported and maintained by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, inter operability, and long-term archiving. »