There is an ongoing dialogue about whether work published online could and should be more freely available, expressly to those in education and those wishing to contribute to current research. Open access describes a situation where anyone anywhere in the world can access, read and build upon research content found online (Shockey and Eisen, 2012).
Open, adj. generous, sharing, giving (Wiley, 2010).
Those in support of open access argue that restricting material with pay walls can stifle creativity and the human desire for a shared culture as well as hindering educational goals and even global issues (Waters, 2017):
Without openness across global digital networks, it is doubtful that large and complex problems in areas such as economics, climate change and health can be solved (Hall, 2014).
So what does this mean for those wanting to post new material?
It is easy to get swept up in the talk about open access being the future of digital and to heartily agree that publishers who charge users to view content online make large profits and add little value.
even the richest institutions can only afford to subscribe to a fraction of [journals] (Harnad, 2012).
Publishers argue that such accusations are unfounded and that without appropriate fees they would not be able to edit work to the same scholarly standard nor distribute it so effectively (Brown, 2012). This short film shows us the perils of being a publisher.
As a university student I am frequently made aware of the extent to which online material is restricted and am left feeling frustrated and disappointed when I am denied access to some of the best journal articles for my assignments. This topic has helped me to realise how much I am enjoying the research process for this module which encourages use of widely available sources and the sharing of those sources with peers for an enriched and supportive learning experience.
There is a new trend for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which form a way of widening access and tackling the spiralling cost of education (Coughlan, 2012). I first became aware of a these a few weeks ago during this module when I was asked to speak to camera about my views on online identity for Future Learn MOOC ‘Learning in the network age’. I was interested to learn that these represent a fantastic learning resource for a limitless audience.
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Brown, K, A. (2012). Open access: why academic publishers still add value. Guardian.
Coughlan, S. (2012). Gates Foundation funds online university open access. BBC News.
Hall, M. (2014). Why open access should be a key issue for university leaders. Guardian.
Harnad, S. (2012). There’s no justifying Research Council UK’s support for gold open access. Guardian.
JustinG4000. (2008). A Shared Culture: Creative Commons.
Lepitak, S. (2013). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. The Drum.
Shockey, N. and Eisen, J. (2012). Open Access Explained! Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics).
Waters, S. (2017). The educator’s guide to copyright, fair use, and creative commons. The Edublogger.
Weller, M. (2013). What Sort Of Open Do You Want? The Ed Techie.
Wiley, D. (2010). Openness and the Future of Education. SlideShare.
Wiley, D, Green, C,, and Soares, L. (2012). Dramatically Bringing down the Cost of Education with OER. Center For American Progress.
Featured Image: courtesy of Pexels.
Figure 1: Self-produced using Microsoft PowerPoint with information from Weller (2013).
Film: Self-produced using Powtoon.