12. December 2018


14th Berlin Open Access Conference

Fifteen years on from the first Berlin conference which produced the historic Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, the open access landscape continues to evolve with diverse and complementary strategies to deliver open and unrestricted access to the latest research in order to advance science for the betterment of our global society. Yet while the challenges and questions with which humanity are confronted are ever more pressing—from the deadly Ebola virus, to critical refugee flows, to the exacerbating effects of climate change on wildfires—the evolution of scholarly communication into fully open access paradigms is failingly slow.

Open access strategies based on the leverage of institutional and disciplinary archives, open science infrastructure, and fully open access journals and platforms continue to make steady progress by offering alternatives to the traditional subscription journals for the dissemination of scholarly articles, but these efforts have yet to bring large-scale transformation to scholarly communication: over 80% of today’s scholarly articles are still published behind paywalls.

Today, with research councils giving a turn of the screw on hybrid publishing, the escalation of national-level publisher negotiations, the manifest exasperation of scientists and scholars, and growing consensus around the objectives of OA2020, the global research community is taking decisive steps to affirm open access paradigms with a new level of urgency: the era of paywalled access to scholarly publications has expired.

With the aim of harnessing the power of these efforts and maximizing their impact, the 14th Berlin Open Access Conference will be held 3-4 December 2018 as a strategic summit meeting. In keeping with the conference theme, “Aligning strategies to enable open access”, invited delegations of high level stakeholders from research funding and research performing organizations from around the world will convene in Berlin to determine concerted actions toward liberating the fruits of research from access and re-use restrictions.

In the course of the two-day meeting, and for the first time in the history of the open access movement the global research community will have the opportunity to stand united and address the largest subscription publishers at eye level calling for an end to the paywall system. Having accepted the invitation of Prof. Martin Stratmann, President of the Max Planck Society, Daniel Ropers, CEO of Springer Nature; Guido Herrmann, VP and Managing Director of Wiley; and Ron Mobed, CEO of Elsevier, will come to Berlin to participate in a series of moderated “Transformation Colloquy” with a panel elected from among the assembled delegations.

The Colloquy are conceived as an opportunity for the delegates, both producers and consumers of the knowledge circulated through their platforms, to jointly articulate to the publishers their requirements for a swift and orderly global paradigm shift to open access to meet the urgent needs of scholarship and society in the 21st century.