The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) may not have quite the same historic import as the Theses of Martin Luther or the US Declaration of Independence, but it has the potential to shake up the world of academic publishing in a profound way. The BOAI was proposed at a meeting sponsored by the Open Society Institute in Budapest in December 2001, attended by supporters of open access to researcher-generated literature, and was released in final form on Feb. 14 ( The Open Society Institute, funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, is dedicated to building open societies worldwide.

The BOAI states a set of principles and actions designed to free the research literature from the conventional model of publishing research. Scientific research is published by scientists without thought of compensation. Much of the research is supported by public funds. Journals are edited and papers are peer-reviewed by scientists, again...

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