Open Access (OA) is both old and new.  The oldest online scholarly journal published continually via open access dates to 1990; the first book on the desirability and feasibility of open access dates to 1995; the Budapest OA initiative dates to 2002.  The goal of universal open access of scientific and scholarly information has been elusive, but the time seems to have come for a dramatic upswing in the percentage of such content that is available on open terms.

IFLA’s Academic and Research Libraries (ARL) Section has long followed the subject, but now believes it is time to aim higher and to look farther out.  We are all familiar with the sometimes convoluted methods by which funding for OA is achieved:  transformative agreements, subscribe to open, hybrid journals, diamond OA, self-archiving, etc.  All have their advantages and all have their drawbacks.

We believe that it is time to take a deep breath, pay a little less attention to the most imminent developments, and look at the horizon towards which we are moving.  The ARL Section will devote its satellite conference this year in Rotterdam (18-19 August) to just such an effort.

The goal of open access is to ensure genuinely open access to the research publishing system for authors and readers alike, for readers in rich countries and readers in countries challenged by economic disadvantage, by dysfunctional political systems, and by the violence of war and insurrection.  What – this is the question our satellite conference will press – will it take to make sure that the system that comes together is genuinely open and accessible for readers everywhere, of every socioeconomic sector, inside and (crucially) outside the institutions traditionally associated with the production and consumption of knowledge that offers the most to advance the human condition?

Open should mean open.