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The conception of the Open Access initiative traces back to several decades ago, but it managed to gain momentum only after the 1990s. The increased popularity and application of open access publication can be attributed to the advent of internet. Owing to the physical and economic barriers during the print age, Open Access publishing was almost impossible, even if an author was interested in getting wider audience for his article. With the rise in inflation, print costs have significantly increased which further raised the journal subscription prices.
However, the increased applicability of internet in scholarly publishing enabled authors to upload, download, print, and distribute digital data at low/no cost. This has offered an alternative to paper publishing and significantly benefitted the Open Access initiative. In accordance to the changing trends in the development of science and technology and the increasing volume of published knowledge, there is a growing demand for rapid exchange of scientific data. This demand can be met by transforming from pay-per-view printing to Open Access publishing.
The Budapest Open Access Initiative, Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities of 2003, Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing of 2003, and the Salvador Declaration on Open Access of 2005 are some of the milestones that further propagated the applicability of open access initiative in scientific publishing.
The Open Access initiative is also promoted by UNESCO as a means of contributing to the progress of global science. A clear mandate has been given by UNESCO, which states that UNESCO should 'maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge, by assuring the conservation and protection of the world's inheritance of books, works of art and monuments of history and science' (Constitution, art, 1.2 c).
All these events helped in bringing about the public realization that Open Access can augment in the advancement of global science research by bringing together researchers, universities, libraries, institutions and scientific societies onto a common platform for the exchange of knowledge.