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Liberating Knowledge



Science improves our understanding of the Universe through incremental steps that are usually built upon previous results. Modern science relies on peer review and publication of results as the main mechanism to exchange knowledge and enable this process, which is very similar to the creation of Free Knowledge in other domains such as software.

However, the peer review and publication process has become increasingly dependant on the business models of a few publishing companies. These companies charge important fees for the right to access published articles and often limit the ability of authors to share their work by other means. This model has been increasingly criticised in the recent years because it poses an important obstacle for developing countries to access scientific knowledge and hinders the open discussion of scientific ideas by restricting the ways in which researchers can share their work. The initial reaction to this, linked to the rise of the Internet, was self-publication —either in isolated websites or in e-print repositories such as arXiv. Self publication helps solve these inequalities, but it often breaks the peer review model in its more structured form by skipping the editorial board and review process of traditional journals.

The next reaction, which has gained traction in recent years, is the raise of Open Access Journals, such as those published by the Public Library of Science. These journals aim to remove all legal and financial barriers to access their content through different business and licensing models.

For science to effectively function, and for society to reap the full benefits from scientific endeavours, it is crucial that not only the resulting articles are published as Open Access, but also the data collected is made freely available on the public Internet.


There are three main defining documents of the OA movement: the Budapest Initiative[1], the Bethesda Statement[2] and the Berlin Declaration[3].

The following article describes the position of the FKI in relation to these documents: [1]


Open Access repositories and communities:

Get involved

This is a new line of advocacy at the FKI! You can join us and help us define our activities in this area. Some of our initial ideas include:

  • Promoting the use of Free Software in science to assure reproducibility, transparency and reuse
    • raise awareness
    • provide advice to educational institutions and policy makers
    • provide training on
      • use of FS tools in research environments
      • legal issues
  • Open Access to scientific knowledge
    • promote publishing in OA journals
    • promote policies against patents and other mechanisms to restrict access to knowledge
    • promote Open Data in science (See Panton Principles)


  1. Budapest Open Access Initiative
  2. Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing
  3. Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities