Panel: How can you write an open access encyclopedia in a closed access world?

Wikipedia and Open Access: A good fit? (Logo montage licensed CC BY-SA. Wikipedia logo by Nohat (concept by Paullusmagnus); Wikimedia.

Wikipedia & Open Access:
A good fit?

(Logo montage licensed CC BY-SA. Wikipedia logo by Nohat (concept by Paullusmagnus); Wikimedia.)

Video archive part 1 and part 2

Much knowledge has always been locked away, throughout history. It’s inaccessible — or expensive to access — for all but a privileged few.

Two Internet-era social movements have sought to change that: Wikipedia, which invites any and all to participate in constructing a comprehensive encyclopedia; and the Open Access movement, which maintains that academic research — especially when funded by the public — should be readily accessible to the public, ideally under free licenses that permit virtually unrestricted redistribution.

The goals, tactics, and even communities of both movements overlap strongly. But on occasion, conflicts arise. Last month, Open Access advocate Michael Eisen took issue with the activities of The Wikipedia Library, a project which aims to help Wikipedia’s volunteer editors read and consult otherwise inaccessible publications (typically, academic journals). His critiques were covered in Ars Technica, and various blog posts and social media postings ensued.

Conflicting views on how to engage with closed-access publishers present an opportunity to discuss the goals and visions of both movements. With that in mind, we invite you to attend (either in person or via webinar) a panel discussion on Wednesday, October 28 21. (Belatedly celebrating Open Access Week!) We will delve deeper into these issues, and invite discussion and commentary.

Introductory remarks:

Melissa Hagemann, Senior Program Manager, Open Society Foundations’ Information Program; Advisory Board, Wikimedia Foundation.


  • Michael Eisen: Associate Professor, UC Berkeley; founder, PLoS family of open access journals
  • Jake Orlowitz: founder, Wikipedia Library program
  • Rich Schneider: Associate Professor, UCSF School of Medicine; Author of UCSF’s and University of California systems’ Open Access policies
  • Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation
  • John Dove, Former CEO of Credo Reference, first donor to the Wikipedia Library, and open access advocate
  • Pete Forsyth (moderator): longtime Wikipedia contributor; founder, Wiki Strategies training & consulting company


  • Where: Wikimedia Foundation offices, San Francisco
  • When: 5:30pm Pacific Time, Wednesday, October 28, 2015.

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About Pete Forsyth

Pete Forsyth is the principal of Wiki Strategies, and a Wikipedia expert. Full bio here:
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