Explainer: what is the open movement?

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


You’ll have read on this site, and perhaps others, about the push towards “open access” for journal articles. But what is open access, and how does it fit into the wider “open movement”?

The topic has been much talked about of late, not least in the context of Open Access Week – a crowd-based movement promoting the push toward open access for journal articles. After decades of paying staff to generate journal content and then having to pay again to access that content, universities appear to have finally woken up.

This is one of several different faces of a continuing trend towards an open exchange of information and innovation. So what are those faces, and how do these relate to “old school” or “closed” approaches of developing and exploiting intellectual property?

Open Source
“Open source” is often seen as the first of the open movements.

Emerging out of the Free Software Movement in the 1980s, open source provides access to the source code of computer software so others can further develop that code.

The alternative, “closed” approach, still adopted by many software developers, involves hiding or encrypting a piece of software’s source code to prevent others “reverse engineering” it and creating rival or derivative products.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


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