Reflection: What the heck! Access denied!?

‘Open access’ – we couldn’t seem to appreciate this idea until we actually understand how it works. It is believed that most students would have taken advantage of the tremendous variety of free resources available online, whether it is a relevant journal article or a random YouTube video.

The current trend predicts that most online content will eventually be held behind a paywall. So, while most resources I have found under this topic were obviously free, it is believed that there are advantages and disadvantages to a content producer of making their materials freely available online. While I have written my blog post using a Psychology student’s perspective, Kevin has demonstrated what open access meant to him as an engineering student – his use of real-life examples such as Wiley and Khan academy has helped me understand the application of open access to the online platform. On the other hand, I found it very thought-provoking how Davina has used the difference between a shop and a museum to demonstrate the difference between open access and having a paywall online.

While both Davina and Kevin seem to favour open access (as most student would), I like to think that while a paywall may not be necessary, it is essential to be adding advertisements to encourage people who use the online resources frequently to donate funds, for the purposes of maintenance and enhancement of quality of resources. Think of it as a movie business, as mentioned by Joe – even though being able to download free movies online sounds extremely favourable, paying for such services may be a more sensible way to sustain the ability to enjoy the aforementioned services in a long-run. It’s like citizenship, while we enjoy certain rights, we have the duties and responsibilities. It all make sense, right?

Link to my comments:

Davina’s Blog

https://davinaappiagyei.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/come-in-were-open/comment-page-1/#comment-30

Kevin’s Blog

https://keviniri.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/free-for-all-open-access/#comment-17

 

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What the heck! Access denied!?

My first glimpse at this week’s topic immediately reminded me of those late nights where I was rushing anxiously to meet my deadlines – how frustrating it was, to finally come across an intriguing paper that appears relevant to my work, then realised that I had no access to it. I am sure most of you who reads this would be able to relate.

As suggested by Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen in a YouTube video, prices are increasing – research has shown that journal prices have outpaced inflation by over 250% over the past 30 years. Similarly, a post by TheDrum indicated that 90% of online content would likely be held behind a paywall in the coming years. As a consequence, it’s believed that middle and low-income countries are struggling, they have limited access to literature relevant to education and as a result, it’s preventing them from contributing or doing world-class research, as well as improving education.

Yet, on a content producer’s perspective, there are a few more issues to consider when deciding on making their materials freely available online or not.

First, it’s obviously an advantage to have it free online, as the more people see the papers, the more they could build upon them and cite you. However, it is important to note that although there are no or few distribution costs for online publishing, some marketing is required to get people to your site. That means, you have to register your publication with as many search engines as possible, and often times, this entails a cost.

Second, publishing materials freely online mean that there is no “final” product – any errors can be corrected in a matter of minutes or seconds even. You would think this means less effort, but NO – links need to be tested regularly in order to avoid ‘linkrot’. Also, since editing can be done at any time, there’s a responsibility attached to make sure what needs to be fixed is fixed ASAP.

Third, you would think, having materials published online will give you more room for creativity and experimentation, which is true, as there are less strict layout formats required. Still, at the same time, content producers have to be extra cautious with issues such as plagiarism and copyrights. This is because copyright laws for the Internet have not been firmly established yet.

Finally, inspite of all the issues that need to be considered when publishing materials freely online, I would like to agree with the idea that science spreads and increases best with open access, and here is a TED Talk where Elizabeth Marincola indicated that ‘When the best research somehow gets converted into a privately-controlled, limited access commodity, we are in danger of losing sight of our purpose.’

References:

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Publishing. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University. Available from: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=803&guideid=37 (Accessed on 10/12/16)

Lepitak, S. (2013) 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. The Drum News. Available from:

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/12/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggests (Accessed on 10/12/16)

Marincola, E. (2013) What happens when science, money, and freedom of information collide?. TEDMED. Available from:

http://www.tedmed.com/talks/show?id=17821 (Accessed on 10/12/16)

Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics). (2012) Open Access Explained!. YouTube. Available from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=L5rVH1KGBCY (Accessed on 10/12/16)

Reflection: Prison in Mind…

This week’s topic’s given me a very good opportunity to gain more knowledge from different perspectives regarding ethical issues raised by the educational and business use of social media – everyone’s had their go and lots of novel ideas came up.

This week, I wrote on my blog about how public shaming via social media emerged as a result of a judgemental society that built up based on panopticon-institutional systems. A reason for that – is that people who shame others tend to overlook the real damage and pain as a result of their casual expressions of moral judgements towards other people’s acts online. Hence, when I went on to read Chris’s blog, I felt like this idea of people failing to understand the effects of their actions, may further explain why new celebrities (e.g. : YouTubers) are experiencing a lack of privacy, with people doing things as outrageous as following them and stalking them to their homes, as well as having people constantly judging them on whatever they do.

On the other hand, Davina’s informative and intriguing post regarding identity theft has provided me a new insight into this topic. I found it thought-provoking to know motives behind identities stealing, particularly the fact that people find a sense of confidence, beauty or power in embodying a persona other than their own. As I feel like this may somehow be linked to my area of studies – Psychology, it would be very interesting to look further into how high prevalence of childhood traumatic experiences may be linked to people committing identity thefts, and how this may be prevented by discovering and treating certain traits at a young age.

Finally, as Kelvin and Tobie suggested in their comments on my blog, I would like to further extend on how public shaming could be tied to business or educational use of social media – I believe that the business use of social media, especially the growing involvement of online profiles and social media in recruitment, has given rise to more serious and long-term damage as a result of public shaming, victims often lack opportunities to start again and like prisoners, they are labelled for life as a result of the public shaming, just like in the Sacco’s case.

Links to my comments:

Chris’s Blog

https://chrissyder.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/when-sharing-your-social-life-on-social-media-becomes-your-profession/#comment-6

Davina’s Blog

https://davinaappiagyei.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/online-thief-in-the-night/#comment-23