Reflection: Welcome to the free for all

Topic 4 and 5 have particularly highlighted the importance of education, and how the benefits of access of knowledge trumps all other potential disadvantages. I have created a prezi containing the main points explaining why education is imperative, hence acting as the justification for why I consider Open Access to be paramount, despite the negatives curtailed for content creators.

Image result for poor students

From reading the posts written by fellow students on the module, it becomes apparent that despite entailing both the positives and negatives of Open Access, there is general consensus on the supporting of total Open Access. It is questionable however how much bias influences our writing. Being poor students, it is of course understandable that we are supporters of Open Access, however perhaps we lack understanding of the other side. This is something that is uncontrollable, however our self influence must be recognised and balanced arguments should be created.

Within my post, Will questioned who should take control with raising the issue of Open Access, whilst this should be the responsibility of everyone, students and scholars are particularly key in facilitating the change – these are the groups which are most influenced by it, therefore must be the ones to campaign for change and awareness.

This week’s post was particularly interesting in seeing the different spheres of Open Access, and its influence outside the solely academic world – something I would have not considered without reading the posts of others. Many of the posts made reference to the access of music, and provided evidence of celebrities whose success had both benefited and been hindered through Open Access. This approach helped simplify the concept of Open Access to those who perhaps would not understand it from a purely academic perspective – something I would strive to incorporate if I were to rewrite the post.

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See my comments on Gus’ and Arun’s posts

NOTE: my comment is still awaiting moderation, therefore I have provided a screenshot to display my comment



  • GEM Report. 2011, Education Counts: Towards the Millennium Development Goals, [Online], Available: [accessed 2016, December 13].
  • Gov. 2013, The Benefits of Higher Education Participation for Individuals and Society: key findings and reports “The Quadrants”, [Online], Available: [accessed 2016, December 13].

Welcome to the free for all

Have you ever tried to find information for your essay, and found an article that looks like the article that would answer all your questions, only to discover that you cannot access it.  This has happened to me countless times and it’s pretty frustrating. Wouldn’t it be ideal to just have access to everything? What if I told you this utopia could be possible through ‘Open Access’?

What is Open Access?

Journal articles are often restricted, requiring subscription via your institution to read particular articles. For this reason, many scholars are advocates of Open Access. Open Access refers to free, immediate, online, available research articles with re-use rights allowing anyone in the world to access the content (PHD Comics, 2012)


(Image created by me)

Open Access can be disseminated in multiple ways as exemplified in this graphic (Chase, 2016)


Open Access in Reality:

You would expect digitisation to decrease the price of journal articles as the price of printing has been eliminated and dissemination has been eased. However, in reality journal prices have increased by over 250% in the past 30 years, with the average price for journal subscriptions being $1000 per year (PHD Comics, 2012). The price of journal articles have risen 4 times faster than inflation since 1986 (Hornswoggle, 2013). In fact, Lepitak (2013) predicts that 90% of content online will be held behind a paywall, showing how Open Access will only travel further and further from reach.

Why is Open Access not the norm?

“Education is a matter of sharing” – Wiley et al. 2012.

Theoretically Open Access is a great idea as it allows spread of knowledge, but why is it not fully implemented in reality?

This video outlines the positives and negatives of Open Access, with the negatives for content producers acting as reasons for lack of wide-spread implementation.

(Video created by me)

What will the future of Open Access be?

Whilst the disincentives to content producers is recognised, it can be argued that since there is the ability to freely share information, there is also moral and ethical obligation to act upon this (Wiley et al. 2012), as discussed in Topic 4.

Open Access facilitates spread of education and knowledge, allowing for existing knowledge to then be built upon to further education. In my view, this makes Open Access an important issue to contest for. Hence, the positives of Open Access must be emphasised. The issue must be put into the broader conversation, in the eyes of public debate, to make education more affordable and accessible (ibid.).

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