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Paywalls are said to be 'essential' for online security (Hall, 2014) but is it worth taking the risk to ensure that your research is available to all? This is a controversial topic at the moment, with many people agreeing that open access to academic content is needed for us to be able to solve key issues in the world today. This must be the same issue expressed by creators of paid-for academic research, who want their content to be accessible to everyone. After all, why would they want to publish their work if they don't want any interaction as a result?
Why should content creators make their materials freely available?
Increasing Their Audience
Increases Their Reputation (The Ed Techie, 2013)
News - 20th November 2014
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announces new open access policy for all of its grant-funded research. Taking effect on 1st January 2015, it “enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.” (Vollmer, 2014).
This will be a huge step forward for the advocating of open access, with such a powerful technological presence outwardly expressing their agreement in educational open access to content for all.
Inspiring story of Jack Andraka, who, through accessing online content, was able to create an early detection process for some types of cancer.
Not being able to access research journals (or any educational resource) due to paywalls "discriminates your access to knowledge based on how much money you have, or where you work".
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Whilst security can be a risk to producers of online content, in my opinion the sole advantage of having an increased audience far outweighs this downside.
I recently attended a guest lecture at the Univesity by Phil Smith who is the CEO of CISCO UK and Ireland. It focused on the significance of technology in our lives today. He said something that really resonated with me - that we have to accept and embrace technological changes otherwise we will be left behind. In relation to this topic, this is very important. It seems that content creators who do not make their materials freely available online will be at a disadvantage to those who do.
Open Access Button
The Open Access Button registers when you come across a paywall, when trying to access online materials, and aims to find an accessible free version of the article on the web. It was created by students and will definitely help me with my studies.
You can download it here. (Open Access Button, 2014).