Open access can be defined as making the products of research freely accessible and available to all (HEFCE, 2017).
When I think of the internet; open access almost immediately goes hand in hand in my opinion. Using the internet comes with very few entry barriers and requires little to no understanding of all the background coding that makes it work and function.However as of recent years’ internet has become subject to subscription based services and paid to read published works.
One of the main reasons against having scientific research and academia set as open access is the lack of incentive for academics. When one publishes a journal or paper they have usually spent a considerable amount of time invested into its creation. Given this opportunity cost, to an extent it is only understandable why one would want to ensure some sort of payment for their publication. Furthermore, this is supported by the study which stated 90% of online content will be behind paywalls (Lepitak, 2013).
However, in accordance with open source material there are many freely open channels of content distribution such as YouTube, Spotify, WordPress and many others. Nevertheless, many of these open content sites generate revenue for themselves or the content producers by promoting ad revenue across content streams ensuring, although everyone is freely able to watch they must first be subject to watching an advert. Open access content hasn’t just affected academia is has heavily affected the entertainment sectors.
This change in content distribution was largely due to illegal activity through services such as Napster and LimeWire based upon the ideal all web content should be freely availably. When discussing open accessing developing an advantages and disadvantages comparison is key to looking at the effect of open access.
(Figure 1: Self created)
Looking at open access from an academic perspective; freely and easily available content could result in better educating a generation of students. Open access could be playing a key role in the reinvention of the classroom experience (Forbes, 2013). Khan Academy is a prime example of education through open access. Created by Salman Khan he has created a non-profit company with over 100 employees that is used by over 40 million students across the world. (KhanAcademy, 2017)
From an individual perspective, I wanted to see how I use open access content in-comparison to paid content. I realised that I mainly used free access educational material and often only paid for entertainment or media subscription based services.
(Figure 2: Self created)
Overall, there are multiple advantages and disadvantages dependent on which content producer you are. Open Access is incredibly benefical towards the spread of data and knowledge ultimatly creating a knowledge base around a aprticualr concept. Although in the long run to be better effective and supported one needs to look as the fiscal oppurnites gained through content production.
HEFCE, (2017) – http://www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/oa/whatis/
Wiley, (2014) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2HMouOV-Lg
Khan Academy (2017) – https://www.khanacademy.org