Come In: We’re Open


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Online Access is described as ‘free immediate online availability of research articles with full reuse rights.’ The notion of ‘Open Access’ and the controversy around it essentially like makes me think of the difference between a museum and a shop. In a museum, entry and viewership is completely free and people can come and go as they please. In a shop there are several products and items available for people (online users) to view, however the shop owners (content creators or owners) would want you to pay before taking it. In a museum, entry and viewership is completely free and people can come and go as they please.

It has been predicted by a DRUM news report that within 3 years, 90% of online content will be held behind paywalls, and this is something that I am starting to realise day by day. In researching online access for this blog post itself, I came across this very notion,as depicted below (taken from Wikipedia)

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In another Example, Youtube, the video streaming site we all know and love has been one of the best and easiest websites to use for years, and I remember when they initially introduced ‘ads.’ Whilst it is not 100% a paywall, you are obligated to watch at least 5 seconds of any advert that appears, which the YouTube Corporation is essentially benefitting from financially.

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Similarly, their creation of YoutubeRed in October last year, (a paid streaming subscription service,) meant that certain content was inaccessible unless individuals payed to view it.




In the Piktochart I have created below, I explore further some of the advantages and disadvantages of online access:


I definitely believe that education and the access to knowledge and information is the primary advantage for open access, however as explained above, this privilege can easily be abused. Anyone can take and share content that has open access and use it as their own, or even use it to create and embody an alternative persona as explored in previous posts. The video below goes into more detail about the concept of Open Access, and builds on the concept of a museum and shop a little further by distinguishing between content that is ‘Free to Read’ and ‘Free to Use’:


Overall, I believe that knowledge is power, and without open access much of the world’s social, educational, technological and economic development would not have taken place. Countries affairs may not have been as easily shared and much of what we have learned about for example of history and politics would be unknown. I definitely believe that the advantages of open access far outweigh the disadvantages, perhaps because I myself am more of a user and less of a creator, so I only gain from it, or perhaps because the ‘free and open’ internet has been all I have known, and the concept of paying for it, or having what I have always accessed freely be blocked or restricted is unusual to me.




DRUM News Report on Online Content

Youtube RED

Time Article on Internet Users Worldwide

‘Open Access Explained’ Video




  1. Hi Davina,

    One way you could improve this is maybe look at how the paywall may benefit the creator. E.g. it can provide the funding to create new and better content which will benefit the consumer, although you may have to pay, you will get better content for what you are paying. It can also lead to new instalments in series, my post this week has been about movies and without the paywall it could cause a collapse in a movie franchise if no one pays to watch.

    Also, with a paywall it gives a consumers a feeling of exclusivity as they’re in the minority, whereas in open access your in the majority, making it less special.

    Personally I think you can’t talk about open access in general but have to look at it in certain industries only as journals would be different to entertainment, what do you think?



  2. splainingblog says:

    Hi Davina,

    I really liked your opening example of comparing open access to a museum and shop. It was great to have some context put on this open access debate. It got me thinking about other analogies such as using a bookstore and a library (what do you think? Haha).

    You mention YouTube as one of your examples as well, but I am not sure this counts as open access… the principal may be the same (that you have to pay for accessing specific content) but from my understanding, open access just applies to academic research.

    I completely agree with you that we students may only be in favour of open access because we are ‘more of a user and less of a creator’. Knowing what you do about Open access, and hypothetically If you were considering a career in research, would this sway your decision?? I think it would sway mine….



  3. Hi Davina,

    Like the rest of your posts, this one was very well structured and easy to read. I didn’t know that Wikipedia was going to start charging for using it, are they not supported enough by sponsors and adverts?

    When it comes to the disadvantages of open access: do you think that students can get the some information they need through books or do you feel like this is outdated? Most of the information we need for assignments is often in the main recommended module textbook or secondary ones. However, I do agree it is a lot faster usually finding information online but half the time I wonder if how accurate the information I’m referencing is. Online journals have a low reputation compared to traditional textbooks. How much do you trust the information that you read online compared to a book?

    Overall, I really enjoyed reading your post! Here’s a little article I found on the comparison of traditional books vs. eBooks:



  4. heilamcheung says:

    Hi Davina,
    As usual, I find your blog post extremely useful in helping to understand the concepts even better – your post is educational but at the same time delightful to read! I especially liked how you used the difference between a shop and a cinema to demonstrate the differences between open access and having a paywall online.
    I also like that you have used an example that you found while doing research for the blog post, to demonstrate how more and more online content are held between pay-walls.
    Yet, inspite of being a student who favours open access (obviously more helpful for when writing essays!), I find that it makes sense – for example, for a website like Wikipedia to encourage fundraising. Like the concept of running a museum – it provides open access to the public; however, funding and sponsorships are needed in order to maintain such service.

    Hei Lam


    1. heilamcheung says:

      Meant to say ‘difference between a shop and a museum’!


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