WHAT IS 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.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF OPEN ACCESS?
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.
Open access is a topic that has been widely debated. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of open access are:
SHOULD OPEN ACCESS BE IMPLEMENTED EVERYWHERE?
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.
Word Count: 398
Bailey Jr, C.W., 2008. Open access and libraries. Collection Management, 32(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