Open access refers to the ability to freely use and redistribute content that has been created by another person, without having any concerns over copyright restrictions. The digitisation of research materials has led to an improved ability to retrieve content efficiently (Wilinsky, 2006). Despite this renewed convenience, many published works are behind pay walls with expensive subscription prices. The high cost of academic work has seen journal prices outpace inflation by over 250% over the past 30 years (Shockley and Eisen, 2012).
The figure below demonstrates the 4r’s of freely access resources, suggesting the ways that the conent may be used.
According to Wiley et al (2012), There is a perception among some content creators that once a publication has been made freely available, the material loses some credibility, while publication charges will also have to be paid for content to be made available (Lepitak, 2013).Considering this, it is easy to understand why some authors are against open access content. However, According to the open access information source book, freely available content fundamentally acts as way to maintain a level of high quality learning while reducing the cost of education. This is extremely important in improving knowledge gaps between classes in the U.K., but may also improve education opportunities in developing countries.
In the later stages of the Ted talk below, Jack Andraka notes the emergence of a “Knowledge class system” that permits only the financially elite to improve their educational desires while economically underprivileged groups must be deprived of knowledge, something considered as a basic human right. Therefore, He strongly advocates open access because not only does this create greater equality for publication access, but it ensures that the resources are relevant. In some cases, even if content can be afforded, often only the abstract can be reviewed before the purchase has been made. However, the abstract may not accurately reflect the rest of the material in the research, causing money to be wasted by some researchers (Open access.nl).
From an individual perspective I strongly support the use of open access content because as a student I regularly recognize the frustrations associated with denial of access to research that may personally benefit the quality of my academic work. Additionally, with greater content access, the credibility of a publishers work is sustained through increased citations and an improved sharing of academic wealth.
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Wiley, D., Green, C., & Soares, L. (2012). Dramatically bringing down the Cost of Education with OER: How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning. Center for American Progress.
Shockley. N and Eisen. J (2012) “Open access explained!” YouTube video
Forbes article (2013) Education finally ripe for radical innovation by social entrepreneurs.
Open access.nl Pros and cons of open access
Open access scholarly information sourcebook (2010) Benefits of Open Access for research dissemination
Willinsky, J. (2006). The access principle: The case for open access to research and grant. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Andreka J (2013). YouTube video, Paywalls vs. open access:
Figure 1- self-made using piktcohart
Figure 2- self-made using piktcohart