Free content. Sounds great!
Then again, like with any other attractive deal, scepticism kicks in.
Question 1: How free is it?
Source: The Strait Times
Free access doesn’t guarantee permission to modify and edit the content. It’s like a digital newspaper. You can read it, without any costs, but you can’t re-use it. Basically, only absorbing the information.
Question 2: What if, it’s really free to read and free to re-use?
Now, that’s really ‘open access’. A term that should only be used when the license permits both free access and unrestricted derivative use (MacCallum, 2007). And, with appropriate attribution. Open access is not a call for unethical behaviours.
Question 3: Why is ‘open access’ good?
Besides the blatant fact that all free things are loved. It means more useful resources. For a content producer himself, and everyone else.
We can build new theses on published journals, generate new graphics, create better music and more. It’s goes beyond learning for all to innovation by all. These children learnt how to use the computer, simply with the presence of one. If you have never drank coffee, would you know how to make even better coffee? In the first place, would you want to make good coffee?
Question 4: Is everything ‘open access’ good?
As the saying goes, it’s not about quantity, but quality. Which, in this case, refers to the relevance of the content to your field of interest. ‘There’s so much to talk about, and I have no idea where to start from.’ Sounds familiar? It does to me. With open access, we anticipate the collapse of pay walls. Opening gates to unlimited research and multimedia materials. The question then becomes, if you really need all these information? A history student probably wouldn’t require in-depth scientific statistics.
The idea of open access envisions creativity and development of meaningful products. For a greater cause. So, what will you really do with a piece of irrelevant article? I presume I won’t invent a human robot just by watching a video on electronic engineering. As a marketing student. There is “no price in the world” that will make this “intelligible, relevant or meaningful to me” (Anderson, 2011).
Now, my turn to ask. What do you want?
Have you noticed the words I’ve highlighted? I think those are the factors that truly matter.
Image Designed by Freepik
According to Bell (2012), a research writing acts as a space for researchers of the specific discipline, where they do not need to stop and explain themselves. The writing is targeted at fellow members of the expertise. Hence, even when it’s ‘open access’ space, it doesn’t simply evolve into a platform for public communication of professional knowledge because that is not the purpose (Allington, 2013).
If that’s your purpose, then ‘open access’ is probably not the best option. So, what do you want?
Allington, D., 2013. On open access, and why it’s not the answer. Available at: http://www.danielallington.net/2013/10/open-access-why-not-answer/#sthash.7Y52600T.NiU3jDQ7.dpbs Accessed 15 November 2016.
Erin C., M. ‘Why open research’ Website. Available at: http://whyopenresearch.org/videos Accessed 15 November 2016.
Hole-in-the-Wall Education Limited, 2015. ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’ Website. Available at: http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/Beginnings.html Accessed 15 November 2016.
MacCallum C.J., 2007. When Is Open Access Not Open Access? PLoS Biol 5(10): e285. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050285
Suber, P., 2013. Open access: Six myths to put to rest. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/oct/21/open-access-myths-peter-suber-harvard Accessed 15 November 2016.
Wiley Online Library, 2016. Open access. Available at: http://olabout.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-828078.html Accessed 15 November 2016.