Or has it become a luxury? Nowadays, content accessing academic content online can cost you around £100 and it might start to seem a bit unfair. We have a right for education, right? So then why do we have to pay so much to access it? Shall content publishers be willing to share their knowledge with us for free? Masses of content are published online today (as you can see in the image below), should this also be paid for?
Pros of Free Open Access:
- As David Wiley from the Center of American Progress (2012) says, ‘education is first and foremost an enterprise of sharing’. We are ought to be willing to share information with each other for our society grow and evolve, and create a better world together. So the argument is, why not share that content with an intent of helping each other. Many students have come across the problem of not being able to access information critical for their studies because the access was now limited and available to only those paying around £50 per academic paper.
- Furthermore, unless you are a well known figure in your field, it is just as difficult to actually publish your content. So if you feel like you have something valuable to share with the public, you want your findings heard and potentially recognized, sharing your content for free and making it available to everyone can improve our chances of having it read and spread across the web.
- Last but not least, we have to bear in mind that not everyone can afford to pay even the smallest fees for accessing information online. Think alone of the developing countries who have limited online access anyway. So why deny them an opportunity to learn and discover by putting fees up on the online content? (TU/e, 2015)
Cons of free Open Access:
- One of the key arguments of charging for online content made by the media companies, is that publishers should be rewarded for their work (Lepitak, 2013). Conducting academic research is extremely demanding, time consuming and very complex. In a sense, I can agree with the fact that publishers should be paid for their content to be used by others, however it is still a controversial argument.
49% of 16-24 year olds argue that online content should be free (Tobin, 2014). Where do you stand?