The phrase "Access to Knowledge", or A2K, refers to two main concepts. First, the term "knowledge" is understood to broadly refer to data, information, tools, inventions, literature, scholarship, art, popular media and other expressions of human inquiry and understanding. Second, the demand for "access" is also broadly intended—pertaining not only to the right to access these products as consumers, but also the right to participate as producers in their creation, manipulation and extension. The access to knowledge discourse promotes a critical perspective on the maximalist trend of intellectual property and revives attention to the virtues of openness in knowledge. Access to knowledge also represents a way to unlock trapped economic value, which will inevitably lead to new and expanded business opportunities, where both equity and efficiency can be improved by expanding distribution of knowledge goods and tools. Access to knowledge is a demand for democratic participation, for global inclusion and for economic justice. As knowledge is considered an integral component of sustainable human development, Access to Knowledge falls at the heart of the development discourse.
(Excerpts from "Access to Knowledge: Economic, Global and Local Perspectives", by Nagla Rizk and Lea Shaver, in Access to Knowledge in Egypt: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development; Bloomsbury Academic, 2010)