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)
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.
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.