IFLA strongly promotes openness to help ensure that information resources are freely available to users. Through this, we support access to education, knowledge, research and culture for all.
In practical terms, openness is built on a conscious decision to not use legal or other means available to limit access, such as copyright. For example, researchers may circulate their published articles freely on the internet, teachers can share their lesson plans and materials, and libraries can give access to digital copies of works in their collections.
Specific applications of openness, such as Open Access, Open Science, and Open Educational Resources have been recognised as having an important role in supporting inclusive and equitable development.
With libraries’ own mission to promote access to information, openness is a key area of focus for library advocacy, given its promise to help achieve our goals.
Yet today, many cultural, educational, research and heritage resources – including those created using public funding – cannot be shared equitably.
Progress towards openness will require answers to key questions around the sustainability, quality and equity of open models. How can openness work for people in less wealthy countries? How can openness be reconciled with other priorities such as privacy and the rights of indigenous peoples?
IFLA is involved with openness discussions at the international level, bringing the library discussion to the table. Through this work, we promote the importance of openness as a driver of development and work with partners to develop ideas and expertise to create tools, provide guidance and produce solutions.