#MANG2049 · Topic 5

Topic 5: What does Open Access mean to you?

As information are available online, it is almost easy for everyone to access it. Spending on ‘traditional’ media such as newspapers and magazines has dropped almost 20% in the last six months, while spending on digital media has almost halved (Richard Wray, 2010)


Created by Julaina via Piktochart

The purpose of Open Access seeks to return scholarly publishing to its original purpose: to spread knowledge and allow that knowledge to be built upon (Righttosearch.org).

Advantages and Impact of Open Access:


Source via AOASG 


Created by Julaina via Piktochart and Content via Right to research

For me, one of the relevant and beneficial aspect of Open Access is free learning also known as Open Educational Resources(OER). OER are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes (Creative Commons). Even Bill Gates is funding online University Open Access. Here are some examples of OER.

Having said that, there are disadvantages to Open Access.

Security and Privacy 

When everything is made available and accessible online, Nation states are wary about rights and security (all the more so, given WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden). The worry for most would be about rights to privacy and commercial misuse of personal data. Researchers are concerned about the premature release of research data and the ethics of openness when information is collected with assurances of anonymity (Martin Hall, 2014).

Decrease in Profit

As we are transmitting from traditional media to digital media, there is an increase in people accessing materials online. A survey suggests 90% of online content will be held behind paywalls.This means it will help bring profit for media companies if paywalls are implemented as optimised content offers are key success factors for the future (Stephen Lepitak, 2013).

Copyrights and Plagiarism

As with most things you find on the Internet, it is easy for you to copy and share information without crediting the original author. It makes it difficult to trace back who the original author is if there is no citation on the original source. Just like what I’m doing now, every information accumulated needs to be cited if not it is deemed as an act of plagiarism


Being a student, I believe that Open Access, especially OER, is relevant and vital. As we are required to do our own research, write reports and many others, it helps us acquire more information outside classroom premises for free. Just like what I am doing now, Blogging, it encourages me to do independent research with resources made available. Hence, I believe if we respect content producers and resources available online, I do not see it as a drawback for Open Access.

413 words


(Richard Wray, 2010) Available: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/apr/19/media-consumption-survey (Accessed on 15 November 2016)

Right to research: http://www.righttoresearch.org/learn/whyOA/index.shtml#Students (Accessed on 15 November 2016)

AOASG: https://aoasg.org.au/resources/benefits-of-open-access/ (Accessed on 15 November 2016)

Creative Commons: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/What_is_OER%3F (Accessed on 15 November 2016)

(Stephen Lepitak, 2013) Available: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/12/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggests (Accessed on 15 November 2016)

(Sean Coughlan, 2012) Available: http://www.bbc.com/news/education-20393753 (Accessed on 15 November 2016)

Scoop it: http://www.scoop.it/t/open-access-and-copyright (Accessed on 15 November 2016)

(David Wiley, 2012) Available: http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED535639 (Accessed on 15 November 2016)


11 thoughts on “Topic 5: What does Open Access mean to you?

  1. Hi Juls.

    I agree that the notion of open access is to share knowledge and build on that knowledge. Yet, I also recognise the risk in “premature release of research data” (now opened to everyone). I certainly like the idea of ‘opportunities for everyone’, and children everywhere can learn what they want to. But, what if an article that’s not ‘meant’ to be released is out in the open? Like misuse of knowledge due to lack of understanding and guidance of a mentor.

    You also encouraged respect for each other’s work. I think we do it because we have conscience, besides law enforcement 🙂 I haven’t produced any amazing content that has required sums of investment (plus passion and effort), so I can’t say I understand them. But, perhaps these content producers hope to obtain our recognition through intrinsic rewards? Maybe paying to access and use is also a form of respect?

    Personally, I can’t come to a conclusion easily, so hope to hear your opinions!


    1. Hi Wanni,

      Thank you for taking time to read my blog and comment! 🙂

      In response to your question, I believe as we are living in the digital era, it is rather easy for information to be transmitted with Social Networking Sites made available for us. In the case of the article that is not meant to be released, I believe it is beyond the control of the person in charge as they have either failed to give proper instructions or there was a miscommunication between them. Having said that, there are people out there who use multiple identities to release ‘important’ information that is not meant to be released. Thus, it shows us the downfall of being too “open” online where everything is accessible.

      Also, the intrinsic rewards can come in many forms. I believe by having higher amount of people citing the source, a wide base of followers..etc can be considered as the intrinsic rewards as they appreciate the content produced and they are faithful followers. I agree that paying to access is a form of respect too. I believe content producers are able adopt both free and paid access. Like Skillshare, Coursera..etc. where they provide free access to their content and have premium subscriptions. This will enable users to know the value of the content provided first and if they find it useful for them, they can opt for the Premium Membership where they can access to more materials.

      I hope this helps!


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Juls! I do agree as student that Open access have make browsing so much easier.

    I drew a parallel of Content Producer and Social Worker – contributed greatly to society but receiving little profit/returns. I think that it’s a noble action and we should keep showing respect (just as you mentioned) and appreciation. However, I am still confused on what drives content producer to continue distributing their research when there’s risk of piracy/plagiarism and low returns? Other than getting exposure, noble cause of reaching out education worldwide, do you think the advantages you have listed justify Content Producer’s lack of benefits from Open Access?

    Personally, if I were to be a Content Producer myself, I think I will be torn between freely exposing my “big discovery” research findings, when I could set a high price for it. What would you do in this situation?

    Hope to hear your opinions soon! 🙂


    1. Hi Adelene,

      Thank you for taking time to read my blog and comment! 🙂

      You have brought up a very good question. I believe as we are living in the digital era where Social Networking Sites helps make things easily available and accessible, information can be found easily. This also means we are at risk of plagiarism as you can easily copy what you see online and make everyone believe it’s yours without crediting the original source. Hence, this is why we are always reminded to cite whenever we use someone else’s content. Also I believe what drives content producers despite plagiarism would be the drive to spread knowledge. Knowledge should be shared among all as if it’s kept to your ownself, there cannot be opinions made about it or just by even a small piece of information breakthrough discovery can happen. This is why knowledge should be shared and built upon so that everyone can help one another out to solve a problem that may be out there.

      On exposing your “big discovery”, I believe it is subjective. As you may want to keep that for yourself in order to earn. But what if the “big discovery” can actually help many others out there or start a conversation among those interested in it. This will not only benefit you but others around. For me I believe sharing is caring. Ultimately, things that you discover are not really yours in the first place because someone out there may discover something similar to what you have or even better and they are sharing the “big discovery” to everyone else. Thus, whatever you have discovered is voided since you did not put it out there in the first place.

      I hope I answered your questions!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Juls,

    I agree with you that the ways we impart knowledge is evolving with the advancement of technology. I like the infographics you provided, I also think free accessible online materials could help more people to build their ideas and act as a catalyst for new innovations. It should encourage active learning and people can access to their areas of interests.

    You stated in your 3rd paragraph regarding OER. Should providers (educators) worry about giving away their intellectual property through OER? As the concept of Open Access is having your content freely available online. Another question I have for you is what users (consumer) can do to protect the contributor’s work so it won’t get misused or misjudged? I hope to hear your answers.


    1. Hi Zin,

      Thank you for taking time to read my blog and comment! 🙂

      Firstly, I do not think educators should be worried about giving away their ‘intellectual property’ as they are the source of helping students like us gain knowledge. I believe they should worry if the knowledge they have is not transferred to students as educators is “a person who provides instruction or education; a teacher”. Hence, knowledge should be shared.

      For us, I believe what we can do is to always credit the person we got the information from so that the next person will know the original source. Users can also report of any work that is misused and misjudged like for example if the photo does not belong to that person on Instagram, there is a report button to inform Instagram help Center about it.

      I hope I answered your questions!



  4. Hi Juls,

    Your chart which shows the “impact on different groups” is an eye opener. It has clearly outlined the impact of Open Access (OA) on our daily living, though often, we have taken this for granted. The chart undoubtedly shows how we need OA for improvements in our daily life.

    I would like to hear your views on how the financial burden of these OA content producers can be addressed. You mentioned that “a survey suggests 90% of online content will be held behind paywalls.” I believe if the author is able to seek funding from relevant institutions or governments, through some form of subsidies or grants, this would reduce the financial woes of the OA authors. Do you agree with this ?


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