Topic 5

Open Access: A Blessing or a Curse?

In the upcoming years 90% of online content is predicted to be held behind paywalls (TheDrumNews) and the idea has left the internet divided. Do we want this?


Students can only learn from the sources available. Khan Academy showcases the benefits of changing the education system by making content available online for students and teachers, it can ‘flip the classroom’ (6:00, Ted Talks). Changing “one size fits all” to self- paced lectures with limitless availability provides a framework for a new approach to classroom learning, more detail below:

(E.Back, canva 2, 2017;M.P.Eve 2016)

From Khan Academy (Official Site) to Thrums Experiment (Forbes) online learning has shown to be superior. MOOC’s are being introduced that lower the cost of education and give students access to the best online courses from top universities anywhere in the world. Similarly, OER materials are educational materials produced by a party licensed for free use by others. Teachers and students access these materials which brings down the cost of instruction.(ERIC) These changes make higher education much more accessible to those who can’t afford or access it, shown to be middle and low income countries (PHD Comics).

(The Ed Techie)

(E.Back,  Canva 3, 2017; Medscape)

Author’s reputations will be improved by networking and using openness to establish an online identity.  Publishing openly, creating online resources and being active in social media will only benefit. (The Ed Techie)


Publishers argue that their service couldn’t be matched with the speed, efficiency and added value they provide.  The prices they charge are for the investment in the publishing firm. (The Guardian)

(E.Back, Canva 4; Higher Education Network, 2013)

In science and medicine, researchers rely on the impact factor of a publisher. However, it takes time for traditional and open access journals to achieve high impact. Only then are they of interest to researchers. (OpenAccess) With Open Access , there could be high author fees which could be detrimental to research. (Medscape) Science will either have a less effective filter or require the introduction of new post-publication filters. (Dr Crawford, Medscape)

To conclude, many workers in the chain of publishing are unpaid or paid badly, and justifying their prices does not change the fact they are becoming outdated and inefficient. Researchers may be spammed by open access publishers that may have incorrect or poor quality journals, but OpenAccess have declared improvements which now show the quality of open access publishers. Science needs to stop relying on the credentials of publishers as the only credential for researchers (The Economist) The overall benefits to authors and education are ground-breaking.  The question is no longer ‘do you want to be open?’ but rather ‘what sort of open do you want?’. (The Ed Techie)



A.B, The Problem WIth Scientific Publishing, The Economist, 2017, Available at:

D.Wiley, C. Green, L.Soares, Dramatically Bringing down the Cost of Education with OER: How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning, ERIC, 2012, Available at:

Education finally ripe for radical innovation by social entrpreneurs, Forbes, 2013 Available at

E. Back, Canva 2, 2017

E.Back, Canva 3, 2017

E.Back, Canva 4, 2017

Higher Education Network, Why open access makes no sense, 2013 Available at:


J. C. Hue, Academics Want You to Read Their Work for Free, 2016 Available at:

Khan Academy, Available at:

M.P. Eve, Some of the arguments, counter-arguments, and political alignments for and against open access, 2016, Available at:

OpenAccess, Prs and Cons,  Available at:

Open Access Explained! Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics), 2012 Available at:

Pros and Cons of Open-Access Publishing Debated, Medscape, Available at:

S. Coughlan, Gates Foundation funds online University Open Access, 2012, BBC Available at:

S.Lepitak, 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests, 2013 Available at:

S. Khan, Lets use video to reinvent education, TED Talks, 2011 Available at:

What sort of Open do you want? The Ed Techie, 2013, Available at:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s