Access to Knowledge

Access to Knowledge (A2K) refers to the right to participate in the creation, distribution, and acquisition of raw information, secondary analyses of data, and knowledge-embedded tools and services. The A2K critical discourse emphasizes the value of openness and highlights the impact of knowledge policy on international development and civil liberties. It touches on a wide variety of policy issues, including those related to patents, copyright, media openness, communication technologies, access to government information, open-access scholarship, spectrum allocation, interoperability standards, and the preservation of traditional knowledge. A2K policy aims include fostering broader participation in civic, cultural, and educational affairs; expanding the benefits of scientific and technological advancement; and promoting innovation, development, and social progress around the world.

The ISP’s Access to Knowledge (A2K) initiative is part of the larger Access to Knowledge Global Academy, a network of scholars at institutions in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, South Africa, and the United States dedicated to promoting academic scholarship, research, and policy analysis on access to knowledge issues for information-poor communities.

The ISP’s A2K initiative has hosted workshops and published a number of reports and books, including country-specific analyses and subject-matter studies. The ISP recently published a book on global censorship and is now finalizing one on the impact of mobile technologies.

Much of the ISP’s A2K work has been supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and by individual donors.



The Information Society Project, in partnership with members of the Access to Knowledge Global Academy, has produced a series of books on access to knowledge around the world.



The Access to Knowledge Global Academy is a collaborative initiative founded in 2008 to promote academic scholarship, research, and policy analysis on access to knowledge for development around the world.

Research Series

Research Series

The Information Society Project has partnered with academic institutions in seven developing countries to produce research on access to knowledge topics, supported by a multiyear grant from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.