Making sense of the challenges and defining new strategies
For over twenty years, the open movement has strived for a more democratic digital future. It has been a driving force behind numerous initiatives contributing to the democratization of knowledge, information, and culture. However, in today’s highly concentrated digital environment, openness serves as both a challenge to concentrations of power and its enabler – this is the Paradox of Open.
Through our work with a wide range of organizations and open movement activists, we are defining actionable strategies for the movement that address the challenges posed by the Paradox of Open.
Our work in this area is guided by the goal of preserving the achievements of the last two decades while leveraging the benefits of Digital Commons.
The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) was launched twenty-two years ago, on February 14, 2002. The BOAI arose from a small meeting of researchers organized a few months earlier by the Open Society Foundations. The BOAI offered the first definition of Open Access and launched a worldwide campaign for Open Access to all new peer-reviewed research.
> The BOAI is a statement of principle, a statement of strategy, and a statement of commitment.
After twenty years it is even more clear how important the initiative was for the Open Access movement. And also as an example that was followed in other fields of open.
The initiative was crucial, as it provided a strategy for attaining Open Access that was collectively designed and endorsed. The same approach was later taken by such initiatives as the Cape Town Open Education Declaration and the Public Domain Manifesto. Documents like these are the strategic backbone of open activism.
However, initiatives like this are not set in stone — quite the opposite, updated recommendations were released on the 10th, 15th, and 20th anniversary. At Open Future, we've been arguing that there is a need to review movement strategies, especially those established twenty years ago. We are sometimes critical that challenges like the Paradox of Open are not being addressed and that strategies are not being adapted to new realities.
The Budapest Open Access Initiative shows that our activism can keep up with the rapidly changing world. That movement strategies can be kept alive and established through strong, participatory decision-making.
As a part of our exploration of the open movement, we co-hosted a workshop with a small group of the movement’s leaders. Participants represented a broad range of views that allowed us to identify the strategic tensions within the movement relating to, a.o., its politics, socio-economic constraints, digital rights, and equity.
You can read the full report as a PDF or online.
Fields of open is a report which consists of findings from an exploratory mapping of the movement using network analysis methods and data collected from Twitter. The first part consists of a definition of the open movement, followed by a conceptualization of the movement as consisting of distinct but connected fields of open. The second part comprises methodological information about social network analysis and data visualization. The third part includes a presentation of the network visualizations and their analysis.
We hosted a workshop with a small group of the movement’s leaders. It was co-organized by our partners at the Open Knowledge Foundation and Wikimedia Europe. Participants represented a broad range of views that allowed us to identify the strategic tensions within the movement relating to, a.o., its politics, socio-economic constraints, digital rights, and equity.
For our ninth Open Future Session, we invited Sébastien Shulz, co-founder of the Collectif pour une société des Communs and coordinator of the working group on politics of the digital commons at CNRS, to learn more about the role that public bodies can play in supporting the digital commons.
For the 7th Open Future session, we invited the convenors of the Open Climate community to discuss how working on climate and sustainability issues is also a chance for the open movement to reimagine itself.
For our sixth Open Future Session, we invited Anna Mazgal, Senior EU Policy Advisor at Wikimedia DE, and Alejandro Mayoral Baños, activist and Director of the Indigenous Friends Association (IFA), to talk about online "care protocols" and how the open movement addresses the harms perpetrated in the platform ecosystem.
For our fifth Open Future Session, we invited Olivier Schulbaum, co-founder, President and Head of R&D of Platoniq, to talk about political user experiences within of the digital platformization of the solidarity economy.
For our third Open Future Session, we invited Andrés Arauz – the Minister of Knowledge of Ecuador in the years 2015-2017. Andrés told us how the Ministry established a policy to build a “social knowledge economy”, which translated into multiple actions supporting, in particular, a knowledge commons.
The Conference on the Future of Europe–CoFoE–represents an unprecedented democratic exercise bringing mass citizen participation through digital platforms. The Open Movement and other activist organizations should use this opportunity to shape future EU policies.