A Recipe for Openness

Started at the beginning of the new millennium, the Open Access (OA) movement aims at making peer-reviewed scientific research a public, freely accessible and free good, exploiting digital technologies to allow a greater spread. The Open Access principle has earned an International reputation thanks to three International declarations, the so-called BBB definition of Open Access:

The Berlin Declaration, in particular, reiterates the principles already expressed in the previous statements and defines the requirements to establish institutional policies that enable the creation of open access repositories and mandate the deposition of scientific products.

The development of a mandatory institutional policy for OA is one of the essential factors to boost the new Open Access scientific model.

The European Union, which declared openly in favour of OA in primis with the Recommendation of 17th July 2012, called for the definition of clear policies in order to create a system of open access to scientific information and its preservation in all Member States.

Generally, the rise of OA has occurred mainly through policies defining the OA as a principle, either voluntary or mandatory, through which scientific institutions manage their research products.

The OA model is achieved through two ways of publication of research results:

  • gold road: scientific articles are published on open access journals
  • green road: encouraged by the institutions of belonging, authors deposit their scientific works in open access repositories, under specific conditions (embargo period anduser licenses).

The rise of this new publishing model has encouraged the definition of ad hoc contractual tools, such as user licenses.

The copyright legislation is one of the main barriers preventing access to, dissemination and use of research output. Therefore Open Access growing success requires a comprehensive copyright management reform with respect to scientific and academic publishing.

In order to overcome this barrier, user licenses for research output have been developed. The Creative Commons Licenses, in particular, are the most popular tools to manage legal issues related to the access to scientific works across the digital environment.