From an EDUCAUSE Review Article by Claude H. Potts (University of California, Berkeley):
As open access (OA) continues to gain momentum worldwide, perhaps a dozen countries have more ardently embraced the globe-spanning revolution in scholarly communication. Outside the United States, the countries of Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are in the vanguard. Portugal, however, stands out because of its early adoption of institutional policies, creation of a vast network of repositories, and robust system of governance.
To appreciate the significance of Portugal’s accomplishments in the domain of open access, glance stateside at some of the most established institutional repositories in the United States. According to ROARMAP, or the Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies, Portugal has just three fewer “full” institutional mandates in place than the United States — a country with 30 times the number of people and with thousands more postsecondary institutions.2 While the United States may have more repositories, most faculty have not experienced the benefits of archiving their publications in institutional repositories, the path known as green OA.
While the unparalleled growth that open access has made in Portugal over the past decade might seem as full of magical promise as the first navigable balloons or airships of the nineteenth century, it is far from it. Magical thinking alone will not allow openness to prevail and replace unsustainable closed or toll access models of conventional scholarly publishing. A continued investment in technological, financial, and human support of open access publishing models is needed. Portugal, like other global innovators, is demonstrating that alternatives to traditional means of disseminating scientific and scholarly communication can succeed.
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