Topic 5: Open Access to Online Materials?

295afdd2f198e8a4cab6909e83f71d957810cb4c9134ede9c1c0040cdc778c2a[Source: Quick Meme]

There are various Advantages and Disadvantages when Content Producers make their materials freely available online. [Open Access]

Watch this video to further understand what Open Access (OA) is.

[Source: Youtube]

[Source: Made with Piktochart]


1) Increased Readership
When publishing materials that are free for all rather than behind a paywall, it can help authors open up their research to a wider audience. Especially in this era where the number of materials being published online is skyrocketing, OA can help an article to be more discoverable online. With an increased number of readers, it can also convert into an increased number of citations for the author. It enhances visibility and impact of one’s own work as OA articles are downloaded and cited more frequently than articles from Non-OA ones.

2) Access for Researchers in Developing Countries
The lack of access to subscription-based materials is a commonly cited problem for researchers in low-income countries. OA can help provide scientists in such countries with the opportunity to participate in the international research community. Developing countries and small specialized research institutions and corporations have access to all OA materials.

3) Dispersion of Ideas
New ideas can be dispersed more rapidly and widely, which in turn triggers new research studies and this serves as an impetus for knowledge. OA contributes to the knowledge economy and provides an economic boost. This also implies wider reuse, recent knowledge can be put to immediate use in teaching.

free-of-charge.jpg[Source: Soysi WordPress]


1) Lack of Quality Control
OA materials do not have the same established reputation. Predatory OA content producers try to mislead end users. Priority is to cover their costs and when a large portion of their revenue comes from publication fees, they may be encouraged to publish more articles, with a negative impact on overall quality.

2) Publication Fees
Readers do not have to pay to utilize an OA material, so it is the responsibility of the author to cover these costs. In times of austerity and funding cuts, this can discourage content producers from publishing OA materials.

3) Sustainability
Open Access publishing is not cheaper than the current costs of licenses and therefore may be a costly affair. Traditional paid access materials ensure publishers are adequately compensated for the content they produce. Hence, it is not definite that OA materials can sustainably support the research publication infrastructure in the long term.

In conclusion, the significant drawback for content producers providing OA is that their work is under-valued financially. However, intrinsic benefits can over-compensate the‘monetary value’ as they may see satisfaction from pursuing their passion or gaining recognition. I feel the most redeeming element of OA is encouraging broader and seamless learning on the Internet.

[400 words]
Yours Truly, Jef Tan Yi Yang



One thought on “Topic 5: Open Access to Online Materials?

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