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Aligning Strategies to Enable Open Access

06 December 2018

The 14th Berlin Open Access Conference, hosted by the Max Planck Society and organized by the Max Planck Digital Library on behalf of the Open Access 2020 Initiative (OA2020), was held as a summit meeting in which 170 participants from 37 countries discussed strategies to accelerate the transition of scholarly publishing to open access.

The participants included some of the highest level representatives from research performing and research funding organizations, libraries and government, associations of researchers and universities, and other umbrella organizations from around the world. Columbus has been the only organization representing Latin America, which gives it a special responsibility in supporting governments and institutions in Latin America that wish to join the Open Science movement. 



Underscoring the theme of this year’s conference, “Aligning strategies to enable open access”, the strategic discussions revealed strong consensus among the diverse international communities on the need to intensify their efforts to move away from the subscription-based system of scholarly publishing to open access-based business models. The vast majority of participants recognized that greater alignment among themselves and across initiatives, institutions and regions is an essential principle to guide them to attain this goal. Statements made by representatives from Japan, the United States, South Africa and others, revealed the readiness to adopt this approach beyond Europe, where this movement originated, and is currently being adopted in several countries. In particular, this was emphasized in a bold statement from China, the nation with the largest share of research publications (20%).


After aligning on the goals and strategies during the first day of the conference, the CEOs of the three largest publishers of scholarly journals, Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, and Springer Nature, were invited by the President of the Max Planck Society, Martin Stratmann, to discuss the global demand for transformative agreements on the second day. The message conveyed to the publishers was that the global research communities are committed to complete and immediate open access, to retaining author copyrights and to negotiating transformative agreements that are temporary, transitional, and cost-neutral as a means to shift to full open access within just a few years with the expectation that cost savings in scholarly communication will follow as market forces take hold.

The publishers were called upon to move towards complete and immediate open access according to these principles. Having been confronted with a clear message spoken in unison and articulated in the Final Conference Statement, subscription publishers were left no grounds to refuse institutions who wish to negotiate transformative agreements as part of their open access strategy on the argument that open access is a regional concern. The global research community is now armed with a strong alignment to facilitate a full and complete transition to open access.

This article was created based on extracts from the article from the Max Planck Society:  “Aligning Strategies to Enable Open Access” and the report of the conference:  You can access both full articles in the links provided.