Open Movement

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.

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