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Open Science, Open Access & Open Data: mastering the notions

Open Access means the free and unrestricted online access to research results, as dictated in 2002 by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), the principles of which were later restated by the Berlin Declaration on open access to knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (2003) and, in Italy, in 2004, by the Messina Declaration.

"Open access helps enhance quality ... speed up scientific progress ... and can overall favour economic growth and innovation." (European Commission, Commission Recommendations on access to scientific information and its conservation, 2018)

Open Access to publications and research data is today the main method of dissemination envisaged in the mandates of bodies and institutions that fund research projects.

The principles on which Open Access is based include:

  • Knowledge is a public good
  • Sharing is an opportunity for growth, development and innovation
  • The results of publicly funded research must be publicly available

Open Science is the movement that seeks to extend the principle of Open Access to practices, methodologies, tools, and above all to research data.

Open Science encompasses a variety of practices including open access to publications, open raw research data, free software, participatory science, open learning and teaching resources, and alternative methods for research evaluation, such as open peer review.

Rainbow of open science practices, Bianca Kramer and Jeroen Bosman. Presentation of 17 open science practices throughout the whole research workflow, with tool examples.


Open Data is data accessible to everyone. It can be freely reused, modified and redistributed by anyone.

In the context of Open Science, Open Research Data represents one of the main international and European strategies enabling research to contribute to growth and development opportunities for countries.