Topic 5: Do we still really have a right for education?

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?

online content

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?



Home (1956) Advantages and disadvantages of open access. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2016)
Lepitak, S. and posted (2016) 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2016).
Shutterstock (no date) [image] Open access. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2016).
Tepper, A. (no date) How much data is created every minute? [INFOGRAPHIC]. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2016
Wiley, D., Green, C. and Soares, L. (2012) Dramatically bringing down the cost of education with OER how open education resources unlock the door to free learning. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2016).


2016 (1995) Panel hears pros and cons of open access publishing. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2016).

One Reply to “Topic 5: Do we still really have a right for education?”

  1. Hi Kate, I found your post interesting and really liked the visual aids that you prepared. You listed important benefits of open access in a comprehensive way. Referring to your final question, although I am not 16-24-year old, I also believe that we can and should find a way to provide a high proportion of creative work for free, especially in science and research. First, as you argued, because the primary purpose of research is to share and utilise knowledge from which the society can benefit. Second, because it is also beneficial for the authors who get recognition for their work.

    Note that I do not say ALL the work should be free as I think guaranteed revenue is non-disposable factor of continuing creativity. Also, a breach of copyright can happen when we cannot control who accesses our work – a disadvantage that you did not mention in your blog. What are your thoughts on this legal issue?


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