Firstly… what does it mean when material is freely available online? and what is a content producer?
Here’s a video to give an insight into the role of a content producer! (HowToRuleTheWeb, 2013)
So what happens when people work really hard to create content, but then people get it for free? or equally, what happens when people have to pay for it?
One of the predominant aspects of the free content debate is OPEN ACCESS.
Imagine what life would be like if students had to pay for each article they wanted to use in their work, on the off chance it would be useful/relevant – yet another financial burden on top of them! The level of education we’re used to by 21st century university standards would not be possible without open access. Therefore I’m going to run the theme of education throughout this post. However, there is still the question of how the content producer is affected….
As you can see there are many pros and cons of freely available material, or open access. As a student, I fully support open access. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would have completed all of my university work without it! BUT, as a content producer? I don’t think I’d feel the same. I feel it’d be slightly discouraging to put so much work and effort into a piece of research, only for me to have to pay for people to read it. I’d then run the risk of allowing people to use/twist my research in ways it was not intended. However, allowing open access can truly benefit people across the globe, for instance the Khan Academy as described by Dunn (2013). This is just one example of innovative, efficient and modernised education, and it shows how people of any socio-economic background can access education.
According to Lepitak (2013), 90% of online content will be held behind paywalls in three years – a media company survey suggests. This is slightly outdated so I’m unsure what the renewed stance on this is, but I believe this is a step backwards for 21st century society. We’re constantly striving for equality, and I believe making people pay for online content, or academic content, will just cause further polarisation.
Boston College Libraries (2017). Libraries: Open Access and Scholarly Publishing: Open Access. [online] Libguides.bc.edu. Available at: http://libguides.bc.edu/openaccess [Accessed 4 May 2017].
Center for American Progress: EDUCAUSE (2012). Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning.
CRAIG, I., PLUME, A., MCVEIGH, M., PRINGLE, J. and AMIN, M. (2007). Do open access articles have greater citation impact?A critical review of the literature. Journal of Informetrics, 1(3), pp.239-248.
Dunn, D. (2013). Education Finally Ripe For Radical Innovation By Social Entrepreneurs. Forbes. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/skollworldforum/2013/04/07/education-finally-ripe-for-radical-innovation-by-social-entrepreneurs/#45b30d8b5081 [Accessed 5 May 2017].
Geib, A. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access. [Blog] Edanz. Available at: https://www.edanzediting.com/blogs/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-open-access [Accessed 5 May 2017].
HowToRuleTheWeb (2013). How I got paid to hang out with the Hollyoaks cast! [My Awesome Job: Vicki]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kREf_QxYPe4 [Accessed 4 May 2017].
Lepitak, S. (2013). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. [online] The Drum. Available at: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/12/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggests [Accessed 5 May 2017].
Payne, D. (2013). Can they hack it? Yes they can. BMJ, 347 (jul 09 4), pp.f4437-f4437.
Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics) (2012). Open Access Explained!. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L5rVH1KGBCY [Accessed 5 May 2017].
Shockman, E. (2016). Should the government mandate free access to taxpayer-funded research?. [online] Public Radio International. Available at: https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-07/should-government-mandate-free-access-taxpayer-funded-research [Accessed 5 May 2017].