Topic 5: Reflective Summary

This week’s topic on the advantages and disadvantages of Open Access for the content producer generated some interesting thoughts amongst fellow UOSM2008 students. It additionally prompted several of us to try new ways of presenting our blog posts: Prezis, SlideShares and videos were abundant!

What stood out the most this week was the overwhelmingly positive response to Open Access.  I was not alone in sharing my frustration at restricted access to articles.  Tat, for example, voiced her annoyance at being faced with a hefty price tag for a journal article she needed to read, whilst Bartosz similarly covered the hypocrisy of funding, and the notion that content producers are denying themselves citations by continuing with closed access.  Both Tat and I held similar opinions with regards to Open Access: we both saw its advantages not only as students, but to those across the globe, including the author.

Whilst my blog post focused on the academic content producer, Nicole’s blog post addressed the open access to music via online streaming services, just as May’s, similarly, focused on open access in journalism.  As a long-term user of Spotify, I felt I could relate and respond to Nicole’s post.  We mutually agreed that the music industry was far more vulnerable to exploitation and illegal downloads, and can never fully be ‘restricted’ in the same way as academic journals.

This week’s topic definitely required the most research during this module. However, I was excited to discover that the Higher Education Funding Council for England will require future research to be open access after April 2016 in order to qualify for funding.  For a topic I had little knowledge of before this blog post, I was surprised at how strongly I felt about it!

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Blogs I commented on:




Topic 5: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access

One of the most frustrating things when it comes to essays, as a student, is when you cannot gain full access to a journal article.

Recently, I attempted an inter-library loan, waiting over a month to discover that my request had been cancelled – other libraries were unable to share the article due to copyright. My deadline by this time had passed, so I could neither read nor cite this academic’s work.

Open Access strives to make academic work freely available online without technological, financial or legal barriers.[1]  Barriers, which in this case, stopped me from reading material, even with access to a university library.  Jack Andraka, a teenage cancer researcher who created a revolutionary diagnostic test for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer, stresses the importance of open access not only to the medical field but worldwide knowledge and innovation.  He argues that open access to scientific journals is important because then an important financial barrier to knowledge would be removed. Ideas could be exchanged more easily and rapidly and hopefully barriers due to age, gender or race could be eliminated’[2]

So whilst this slideshare I’ve created covers the advantages (and disadvantages) of content being made open access by content producers, it is also worth considering the advantages for the readers, who can cite, develop and build on these published ideas – a process made quicker and easier by open access.  At the core of education is the sharing of knowledge,  and open access reflects this ethic by reducing and removing unnecessary restrictions.





(Other sources have been cited within the slideshare)