Topic 4: Reflection

As the final topic of ‘Living and Working on the Web’, I spent more time studying the issue of open access, especially since it’s an issue I have frequently come across when doing research for coursework assignments.

From reading Ollie’s post, I was able to engage in a discussion about funding and whether or not researchers who publish their work should be responsible for paying the fee for open access, if they cannot acquire funding. This discussion made me think, who exactly should be responsible for paying for open access? My post focused a lot of attention on whether open access should be implemented or not, however, from this discussion, I was able to take my own thoughts further to consider what the implications would be in terms of how it would be paid for.

Alternatively, on Charley’s post, our exchange covered the area of open access regarding the use of paywalls on news websites. Paywalls are an area that I didn’t explore in great detail on my post, so it was of interest to me to find out more. Charley made an original point about ‘The Telegraph’ capping the number of stories you can read for free, which we both agreed compromised a level of ethicality, since the news is designed to inform us.

On my own blog post, Ed made another point that I had not considered about the current industry responsible for publishing textbooks. In my post, I had explored open access from the angle that it is new and innovative, without considering the existing billion-dollar industries still increasing in profit from printed textbooks (Opidee, 2014). In light of this discussion, I would argue that open access and current methods of using textbooks can coexist to provide mixed ways of learning that are equally effective.

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Opidee, I., (2014, July 25). College textbook forecast: Radical change ahead. University Business.

Featured image & video: self-made


Topic 5: Open Access


 Open access is defined as the free accessibility to literature online, allowing it to be used with minimal restrictions, including material being royalty-free (Bailey, 2008). With specific reference to academic and educational material, resources with open access can be used by students in education from all ages for several purposes, such as for homework or textbook material (Wiley et al, 2012).

The historical context which shows why open access is so significant can be viewed below:

Watch from 0.20 to 2.46.


The impact that open access has is it can play it part in revolutionizing education and the way that students learn (Wiley et al, 2012). Global influencers such as Bill Gates have showed support for the use of the ‘MOOCs’, which are massive open online courses, aimed to teach students in a similar way that lectures do at universities (Hall, 2014). For example, websites such as FutureLearn, encourage users to take free courses online, with the option to receive a certificate of completion for a small fee, at their own leisure.

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Open access is a topic that has been widely debated. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of open access are:

Open Acess (1)


In today’s digital age, monetization of online material is a viable prospect in order to benefit from the use of content. The ethics of charging for certain online content can often be questioned, which could rationalize why websites such as Twitter are so conscious of how they make money from the hundreds of millions of users they garner each month (Gadkari, 2013). There are looming fears that a rapidly increasing number of media companies will use paywalls to guard their online content from being used for free (Lepitak, 2016).

In light of this, I feel that educational resources should be immune from these issues. Some would argue that we pay for education, and since state schools can ask for contributions of some form, it is only fair that material online should be monetized. However, the initiatives that are being set up, such as by edX to provide online educational resources in community schools in the US (Coughlan, 2012), can educate people who may feel as though they could not learn any other way. Open access has the potential to open the door to providing the education that everyone deserves.

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Bailey Jr, C.W., 2008. Open access and libraries. Collection Management32(3-4), pp.351-383.

Coughlan, S., 2012, November 19. Gates Foundation funds online university open access. BBC News. [Accessed: 6 May 2017]

Gadkari, P., 2013, November 7. How does Twitter make money?. BBC News. [Accessed: 7 May 2017]

Hall, M., 2014, February 18. Why open access should be a key issue for university leaders. The Guardian.

Lepitak, S., 2013, April 12. 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. The Drum. [Accessed 6 May 2017]

Open access funding. (n.d.). Springer. [Accessed: 6 May 2017] Retrieved from:

Skoll World Forum., 2013, April 7. Education Finally Ripe For Radical Innovation By Social Entrepreneurs. Forbes. [Accessed 6 May 2017]

Wiley, D., Green, C. and Soares, L., 2012. Dramatically Bringing down the Cost of Education with OER: How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning. Center for American Progress.

[Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics] (2012, October 25) Open Access Explained!. (Video File) [Accessed: 6 May 2017]

All images: self-produced