What inspired the Albertina’s open access policy?
The desire to share the works of our comprehensive collection with our fellow human beings and the curiosity to see what happens. We are excited to see in which contexts the works will be seen, how they will serve online users, which questions they will raise, and with which content they will be associated. As Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Albertina’s Director General, put it, ‘If art is objectively in the world, it's not there to hibernate in storage, but to become visible, audible, and legible.’
The Albertina sees making its collections accessible to the public as one of its core tasks, not only within the framework of exhibitions, but also by digital means and without limitations, within the legal framework of copyright. We want our fellow human beings to be able to express their creativity, answer scientific questions, and realise entrepreneurial ideas with our works, without restriction and in the clear context of free use. Admittedly, it also gives us pleasure when our works are seen more often.
What benefits do you think open access will bring to the Albertina? How do you measure this?
The decision to adopt an open access policy was made at the Albertina more or less independently of such considerations. Rather, it seemed to us as a museum – with the clear intention of communicating art and bringing it closer to people – that there was no alternative to releasing our works as liberally as possible for research and innovation. To quantify the benefits of this approach for our organisation is, in some respects, beyond the scope of conventional evaluation schemes. Of course, it is possible to evaluate and assess results in certain areas, but these results are only one piece of a puzzle that needs to be considered.
Seeing people engaging with Albertina artworks, becoming inspired and creative is a big part of the desired outcome, without it necessarily being possible to capture in numbers.