Topic 5 – Reflection

Prior to researching and writing my blog for topic 5, I was only vaguely family with the term open access. I had assumed it was mainly related to academic journals that were often not vital for my university-related work. However, upon completing a degree of research and understanding the definition of open access I find that it is related to almost every service I use regarding leisure and work. I found myself not only understanding open access more but also becoming an advocate for open access material as I now believe that is vital for an advancing and developing web.

After realising how much I rely on open access content I looked at it from the perspective of media applications such as Spotify and YouTube. However, after reading Cati’s blog I saw how without the support of an academic institution such as the University of Southampton gaining access to certain journals and articles would prove to be far more difficult.  Additionally, reading Caroline’s blog I further learned how freemium services such as Spotify or Soundcloud have led to the lowest rate of music piracy in years.  This is beneficial for both producers and consumers who utilise this service for different reasons.

Considering a producer would have often contributed considerable time, effort and money into providing their content for free, I am aware of the paywall and its implications. I have found are alternatives such as Patron, Creative commons content or sites such as that are explained below.

(Figure 1 – Self-produced via Final Cut Pro)

Currently, advertising revenue has been the largest financial backing for certain open access platforms such as YouTube however as we move deeper into a digital world I am unsure on the future of open access.

Since starting this course my blogging style has considerably changed. reading and analysing other blogs has shown me how beneficial infographics and alternate forms of media can better benefit the reader whilst conveying my point more to a better extent.


Word Count (310)


Topic 5 – Open Access?

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.

(Wiley, 2014)


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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 14.36.49

(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.

Content distribution-2

(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) –

Wiley, (2014) –

Lepitak, S. (2013) –…/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggests

Forbes, (2013) –…/education-finally-ripe-for-radical-innovation-by-social-entrepreneurs

Khan Academy (2017) –