I would like to start off this week’s blog by defining open access and comparing its advantages and disadvantages.

http://www.powtoon.com/embed/ekieo8m537I/

As a student, I am obviously biased towards the idea of open access. This is because I don’t want to pay for information and it would benefit myself and my peers. However, there are two sides to every story of which I am going to weigh up in this blog post.

As summarised in my video open access gives rise to scientific and humanistic research. In essence, the work of content producers would spread quicker and reach a wider audience. My initial assumption was that a researcher would be proud of their work and would be eager to share their results with the public. However, some papers as shown in the diagram below acquire an access fee. Why?

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The answer is simple. Not all research is funded by the government.  Therefore, recognition and appreciation might not be enough for someone who has spent numerous years on their projects. Imagine the amount of blood, sweat and tears some of these people have invested into what you consider being “just a paper”. This paper might be their greatest achievement. Think about it. We all complete our weekly assignments and then move on to the next topic. But some of these people devote their lives to particular subject areas, if they wish to be receive revenue from it; can we really judge them? The researchers who write these papers need to earn an income to live; I think it is obvious that they should be paid for their contributions.

It is frustrating when you come across information online that you cannot visit for free. Even more so, if the abstract has not given sufficient detail regarding the research and you end up buying irrelevant information. We have all been there!

So what can we do? Is there a middle ground? A higher level of government intervention?

Further research has shown me that there are charitable organisations such as Wellcome, who are willing to pay the full open access fee in order to cover the costs of the content producer. However, whether the researcher believes this fee is enough, is subjective.

For my own curiosity I would ask you to answer the following question below after having read my blog.

Lastly, I have created an info-graphic that defines copyright and other symbols that you should look out for when conducting individual research.

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