TOPIC 5: Reflection

The Open Access debate is a lot more complicated than I initially thought and spans far wider than just the education sector.

Through my interaction with others, I really began to consider the implications for developing countries. For example, Michele had pointed out the link between having free access to research papers for educational use and better employment for developing countries. If content producers are restricting people from developing countries reading their materials, they are effectively restricting them from moving onto good employment and this is true for both researchers and children in education in these countries.

However, I was excited to discover this article, published only a few days ago, which describes an online journal that encourages papers by researchers in developing countries, by for example providing extra funding.

I continued to discuss the issues for the developing world on my comment on Azim’s blog, where I also questioned how an open access peer review system would be implemented. Linking back to my last blog post, on authenticity of voice in education, I worried there could be the potential for issues here on who the ‘peers’ are in open access content.

I was pleased to see Rofini and Hannah had also discussed the music industry. It was interesting to read their views on the advantages and disadvantages of artists, especially using YouTube to upload free ‘open’ content as a platform to success. I think this is possible now more than ever as the #powerofsoccialmedia is increasing. A discussion on Rofini’s blog about the adverts on YouTube stood out to me too. I like Jodie, didn’t realise that you didn’t get paid for those adverts, so if artists put music on YouTube there’s no financial gain at all, it is just hoped that in the future this would help them in their success.

The piktochart below shows the three key ‘sectors’ which students collectively identified in the open access debate:


From what I’ve now read, most of the debates on Open Access revolve around finance and I think for me the key point is that financially, the advantages of Open Access are not immediately obvious but it could definitely help those who cannot afford to publish their research ‘get noticed’, which will help them in the future. Mainly for that reason, I personally agree with Open Access; essentially for me the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

You can see my comments here:



TOPIC 5: The Open Access debate – why do we have to pay for certain knowledge?

We can all relate to how frustrating it is to find the ‘perfect’ article that you’re sure has everything you need in it for an assignment, only to realise it’s access is restricted.

It makes you think, why are some things free to access and others not?

Until I really researched this topic, that’s what I thought it was all about. Being at university I automatically thought about access to journals  for academia and that my trouble with it would be over as soon as I finish. However I’ve since discovered that actually access is important for employers, the music industry, and even the NHS. For example I recently found this article, which stated that patients medical records were being used to develop an early warning system for those at risk of developing acute kidney injuries, an obvious advantage here is that open access to these records allows for important research, but what about the  ethical issues associated with the exposure to patients records- something that relates back  topic 4. And I’m sure many people are aware that paying for Spotify Premium gets you better access to music than the free version, and some artists such as Adele are now restricting access to their music even more but not making it available on online libraries such as Spotify.

Access to academic journals is however where most of the debates currently revolve, although I’m sure in the future with more and more different types of information going online, many more debates will arise.

What exactly do we mean by open access?
Simplistically, it means it is both free to read and free to re-use (Clarke, 2015).

The slide share I have created below goes through the advantages and disadvantages of open access to content producers:

So those restricted journals I’m always sure would be the one that would help me so much with a certain assignment, probably contain very valued articles– it definitely seems like those articles that you have to pay to access are generally better quality and therefore more valued articles. Articles published openly are usually subject to less prior peer review before publishing and therefore are generally of lesser quality. However that is not to say that they are not citable and certainly are not all insignificant to research, there are clearly, economic, social and sustainability issues to consider before any journal is published. There is also a direct link to topic 4 here where I discussed the importance of authenticy of voice in social media for education. A similar concept applies here, it could be argued just as important is the value of the ‘voice’ that has written the work is the publisher that has published it.


Naturally beginning this topic I was very much pro open access, why should we be restricted of informative journals? However I now realise there is much more to consider and can see the reasons why, especially for the content producers, some journals are not openly accessible. The PowToon I have created below summaries what I think are the three main categories to which the debate around access fits. This can be applied to education, the music industry and employers alike.


Antelman, K., 2004. “Do open-access articles have a greater research impact?” College & research libraries, 65(5), pp.372-382.

Brown S. (2015) What are the benefits of open access? Australian Open Access Support Group. Available from: [Accessed 3/5/2016].

Clarke, A. (2015) “Open Access: A guide for busy researchers.” University of Bath [Accessed 4/5/16]

Geib, A. (2013) “Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access” access [Accessed 3/5/16]

Worlock, K. (2004) “The Pro’s and Con’s of Open Access” Nature. [Accessed 3/5/16]

Header image retrieved from: