Foundational Text: Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing

The Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing is one of the three core declarations which defined and popularized the term Open Access (OA). It was created in a 2003 meeting at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland, and was intended to push the biomedical community in particular to engage more with the idea of OA for scientific literature.

The statement sets out a definition of an OA publication as meeting two conditions:

First, it must be made available (with proper attribution) free of charge for users to “copy, use, distribute, transmit and display” as they will. (source)

Second, it must be deposited in a relevant online repository.

Although the second condition is not necessarily a condition outside the biomedical research community, much of the first condition is strongly in line with current broad definitions of OA.

Beyond this basic definition, the Bethesda Statement provides supplementary statements on the benefits of OA from three different groups of stakeholders: Institutions and Agencies; Libraries and Publishers; and Scientists and Societies.

The definition the Bethesda Statement provides, and its stakeholder statements, still point out issues the OA community faces today, such as the use of fees and processing charges. You can read the full Bethesda Statement here.