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UNESCO on the global future of open access

unesco_logo_enThe mission of UNESCO, which was founded in 1945, is to “contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.”

An important plank in that mission is a commitment to help build inclusive and equitable knowledge societies. We should not be surprised, therefore, that UNESCO supports the Open Access movement, we should not be surprised that it was the first UN agency to adopt an OA policy, and we should not be surprised that it now makes its own publications Open Access.

Today UNESCO’s OA repository (OAR) provides free access to over 500 of its own books, reports and articles in over 11 languages, and in recent years it has created a number of OA portals, directories, knowledge banks and Open Access indicators.

In actual fact, argues Indrajit Banerjee, a commitment to both openness and to science has been implicit in everything UNESCO has done since it was founded in 1945. Immediately after the Second World War, for instance, it was one of the chief architects of the portion of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights aimed at safeguarding the rights of researchers. Specifically, Article 27 of that declaration asserts that everyone has the right to freely share scientific advancement and its benefits.

Click here to read more from this December 15, 2014 Open & Shut article by Richard Poynder.

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