In my previous module, there was a lot of research to be done to construct our essays and as I tried to access articles and studies I realised few were free to access and most were behind paywalls. I found it quite frustrating and imagined how it would be if paywalls didn’t exist which is quite contrary to the likely future. (The Drum, 2016)
But what would it mean for content producers to make their stuff free to access? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? I decided to explore this issue through the academic realm.
The following video explores the concept of open access in the realm of academic articles and research:
We can see that Digitization and increase in journal prices are two major changes that have influenced the sharing of academic work around the world.
Let’s talk about advantages of open access.
Scientists and academics that are not well established and those who are limited financially can benefit from the reach and exposure open access journals can provide simply through the amount of individuals accessing it.
The graph below which is part of a study shows that full text downloads, pdf downloads and unique visitors were substantially higher than for subscription articles. (Open Science, 2016)
Let’s talk about cost. We’re not just talking about post acceptance fees that are considerably lower than traditional journals but also subscription fees as the absence of it is contrary to the prohibitive high priced subscription fees of traditional journals. (Aje.com, 2016)
Furthermore, the ease and low cost of access to academic material enable further contribution and development to be carried out by other academics. It also enables the general public and educators to access information and improve education across the globe. (Forbes.com, 2016)
Source: Created by me
What about Disadvantages?
Prestige is an important factor for researchers to build credibility through publishing. However, open access journals are not known to have a high impact factor or it would take considerable time to credibility. (Openaccess.nl, 2016)
Issues such as plagiarism or misrepresentation are also disadvantages of producing content freely through open access. Higher hits on your research does not necessarily mean a higher citation rate. (Aje.com, 2016)
Researchers effectively also cannot expect immediate payment but rather will have to depend on the long term benefits of finding opportunities through publishing material through open access journals.
Although I have focused my thoughts on the academic realm of producing content, the issues described above are quite relevant also in terms of entertainment through media online. Famous YouTubers have started off creating content for free and end up building a social presence that attracts big deals from big companies and other financial opportunities. But online content producers also face problems with copyright and stealing of intellectual property.
The Drum. (2016). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. [online] Available at: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/12/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggests [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Aje.com. (2016). Making the Choice: Open Access vs. Traditional Journals | AJE | American Journal Experts. [online] Available at: http://www.aje.com/en/arc/making-the-choice-open-access-vs-traditional-journals/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Open Science. (2016). Open Access increases citation? A brief overview of two reports. [online] Available at: http://openscience.com/open-access-increases-citation-a-brief-overview-of-two-reports/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Forbes.com. (2016). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/skollworldforum/2013/04/07/education-finally-ripe-for-radical-innovation-by-social-entrepreneurs/#3c64d5497a55 [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Openaccess.nl. (2016). Pros and cons. [online] Available at: http://www.openaccess.nl/en/what-is-open-access/pros-and-cons [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].