Topic 5: Reflection

It’s coming to the end of the module, and I feel that I’ve learnt a lot over the past weeks. This topic got me thinking from both sides of the argument, instead of focusing only on one aspect. It also got me reading around a lot more, trying to read from different perspectives that would give me different opinions, much in the same way that my peers’ blogs would too.

Reading Ausaf’s blog, my comment on it highlighted how people could consider different forms of media and which would be beneficial to be a paid subscription or open access. In his post and reply he mentioned how due to his consumption of entertainment was more consistent, he deemed it more suitable to pay a subscription, whereas with educational journal articles they would be used a few times, therefore it wasn’t worth paying for a set subscription.

While my own post dipped slightly into the business side of things, Caiti’s blog provided more of the different ways it could be impacted, one of which was the profits gained by news companies if they weren’t open access. In my comment, I proposed a way in which journals could perhaps emulate the way that different forms of entertainment gain profit; “freeware” such as Spotify and YouTube use advertising to gain some revenue. In her response, she mentioned the “viewing experience” being ruined by ads interrupting midway through. However, with regards to academic articles, it is a lot easier to scroll through ads that are on the screen and thus easier to negate.

The overall conclusion from the blogs that I read seems to be that in terms of education, open access would be beneficial to the majority; being more readily accessible, it would be useful for both educators and students.


(Word Count: 299)

Topic 5: Open Access or Not?

Open access is the ‘free, immediate online availability of research articles with full re-use rights.’ (Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics), 2012) Before the mid-1990s, most scientific research journals were only available on paper, however over the years, many have moved their content online. Yet, in 2013, it was estimated that 90% of online content was expected to be behind a paywall over the ensuing three years. (The Drum, 2013) Does this suggest a want, or need, for open access?

Wiley, YouTube

How can Open Access Help?

In the current day and age, it is easy to find online blogging sites to publish your own work such as Tumblr, WordPress, or even YouTube. By doing so, you are offering maximum availability for others to see and review it. However, this does not only benefit the reader; by publishing such works online the author themselves also benefit by not having to pay journals a publishing fee to feature their work.

In terms of readership, educators and students often need access to research journals and articles for their studies; not everyone has the money to access every journal behind a paywall, however. Even universities themselves will have to divert an average of $150,000 from their library budget to establish institutional repositories. (Martin Frank, 2013)

Self-produced, Piktochart. Data from The New England Journal of Medicine

Downsides of Open Access?

While yes, it could be said to be morally and ethically grounded for open access to be pushed, it must also be viewed from a business perspective. It’s not a simple case of uploading something on the Internet; to make code open access, you must also document how to use it, and how it works.

In order to publish these journals, it has to be paid for. And while a lot of scientific research is paid for by taxpayers, the journals that the research is displayed in are not. Often, a scientist can pay for one of their papers to be open access when they are published in a journal that is not freely available immediately. However, they must then consider the limitations of using grant money on publication fees.



In conclusion, while there are many benefits to push for open access, the costs and methods of it must be considered. Ultimately, however, I do feel that the benefits outweigh the (literal) costs, as others can then access the content and utilise it for research and educational purposes.

Word count: 399



“Benefits of Open Access Journals”, PLOS

Eveleth, Rose, “Free Access to Science Research Doesn’t Benefit Everyone”, (2014), The Atlantic

Frank, Martin, “Open but Not Free – Publishing in the 21st Century”, (2013), The New England Journal of Medicine

Lepitak, Stephen, “90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests”, (2011) The Drum

Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics), “Open Access Explained!”, (2012), YouTube

Wiley, “Understanding Open Access”, (2014), YouTube