As more of us than ever are using the internet globally, it makes sense that more content is being made available online to us too. Accessing content online means that we can look at it on the go and use more than one source at a time.
The majority of articles that are accessed for my modules are through university paid subscriptions, which had I had to pay for myself, I’m not sure that I would have used them at all. Having your work freely available to all seems like it would be a good idea due to increased global sharing, which seems like it should be the ultimate goal of knowledge and learning, however, still the majority of materials still aren’t freely accessible. This video explains exactly what open access publishing is.
Video source: (Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics) 2012)
Why aren’t some resources made freely available online?
In 2013 it was estimated that 90% of digital content would have to be paid for in the near future (Lepitak, S. 2013) so we have to ask just why is this?
Figure 1: Self made. Image credits- http://www.phd2published.com/topics/journal-articles/journal-article-peer-review/ https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright https://www.flickr.com/photos/59937401@N07/5856660723
Although on the surface it seems that open access would be a good thing for the sharing of knowledge, it seems that sometimes it comes at a great cost to the producer, with issues of integrity and quality of the work, as well as problems with rights and funding falling onto them.
Why do producers choose to make resources freely available online?
Particularly within the education sector, there has been an increasing trend of materials appearing online. In order to provide students currently studying cheaper total costs of education, and for those that cannot afford to study it gives them a way of accessing it, in particular in developing countries across the world.
Many successful groups have been formed just through creating online libraries and access to these materials, such as the Khan Academy. As education cannot happen without the sharing of information and knowledge it makes sense to have resources freely available so that knowledge can successfully be distributed (Wiley, D. et al. 2012), which is crucial on a global scale (Frosio, G.F. 2014).
Figure 2: Self made. Image Credits- http://www.pharmacyqs.com/improve-quality-system-components/sharing-information-and feedback/ https://pixabay.com/en/photos/world/ http://combiboilersleeds.com/picaso/publishing/publishing-9.html
Open access publishing brings about many advantages to the producer in terms of globally circulating their knowledge and expertise, which is crucial in the academic field, in order to for them to move forward. However it does come with many downsides, which I believe could be easily overcome, with investments into clearing up rights and responsibilities. As more people begin to use open access to publish their work, the greater the respectability the work will receive, and will hopefully also help to reduce publication costs, meaning open access could indeed be the future of publishing.
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List of Figures
Figure 1: Self made using Microsoft Word
Figure 2: Self made using Microsoft Word.