Open Access, Open Science, Open Society

Open Access’ main goal is not the subversion of publishers’ role as driving actors in an oligopolistic market characterised by reduced competition and higher prices. OA’s main function is to be found somewhere else, namely in the ability to subvert the power to control science’s governance and its future directions (Open Science), a power that is more often found within the academic institutions rather than outside.

By decentralising and opening-up not just the way in which scholarship is published but also the way in which it is assessed, OA removes the barriers that helped turn science into an intellectual oligopoly even before an economic one. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that Open Access is a key enabler of Open Science, which in turn will lead to a more Open Society.

Furthermore, the paper argues that while legislative interventions play an important role in the top-down regulation of Open Access, legislators currently lack an informed and systematic vision on the role of Open Access in science and society. In this historical phase, other complementary forms of intervention (bottom-up) appear much more “informed” and effective.

This paper, which intends to set the stage for future research, identifies a few pieces of the puzzle: the relationship between formal and informal norms in the field of Open Science and how these impact on intellectual property rights, the protection of personal data, the assessment of science and the technology employed for the communication of science.