Open access and the value of content – what are the implications and virtues?

Content producers can vary from academic scholars, to people you see on the street. Whenever something is uploaded online, such as an article, in many cases these have ‘open access’, in other words they are free for everyone to see, and re use. This video sums up open access in a simple, informative way.

With the exception of certain published works, which usually have fees attached to them, content posted online is slowly starting to become freely available, because of ‘digitization’ (Shockey and Eisen 2012). This can have many advantages and disadvantages. I have summarised a few of these in a diagram shown below.


Many people, including publishers, will benefit from the discussion surrounding their work through open access online. It’s surely a huge step in the right direction for anyone wishing to develop their content further online. Technological advances have also allowed for many in developing countries to become accustomed to research. As Wiley et al (2012) state, “we have now been given the ability to achieve the amount of education we desire – online, it is now available at almost no cost whatsoever”. Students within the realms of higher education, like myself, are usually able to access online content with no qualms when writing. The basis of research itself is also becoming dependent on the availability online – when conducting a fresh study based on previous research, having the key to this information is vital.

However, many disadvantages are apparent.
Worlock (2004) argues many people do not believe open access is “economically sustainable, and if relied upon, could damage the market”, because publishing businesses “may experience difficulties due to reduced revenues”. Another issue of open access online is that some disciplines, such as science, are barely even ‘open’. Many vital texts are excluded from the availability of free content online, making it difficult for researchers and students alike. Finally, due to the nature of the internet, work can be uploaded onto the internet with ease, claiming it’s true . The effects of this can be harmful on students or researchers. Unfortunately, it’s impractical for us to judge the quality of hundreds of thousands of pieces of material. This is possibly an adjustment for the future – stepping up the quality control measures by introducing specific checks.

To conclude, there are many positives of open access content online – by getting work out into the domain of the internet, it can be passed on from person to person, increasing your reputation in your specific field. It will be interesting to see how this issue develops further in the future.


A wordcloud I created summarising key terms surrounding online content


400 words excluding quotations




  • Wiley, Soares, and Green. “Dramatically Bringing Down The Cost Of Education With OER”. N.p., 2012. Web. 5 Dec. 2016.
  • Worlock,. “Nature Web Focus: Access To The Literature: The Debate Continues”. N.p., 2004. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.
  • Youtube,. Open Access Explained. 2012. Web. 5 Dec. 2016.



2 thoughts on “Open access and the value of content – what are the implications and virtues?

  1. Hi Alice,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week and liked your take on the topic. I agree with you that there are many advantages and disadvantages of open access.

    However, you conclude that you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for open access. Do you not think that open-access will encourage people to take content producers work and pass it off as their own? Furthermore, the majority of content producers spend a great amount of time researching and writing their work, do you not think that they should be rewarded for this more? Personally, I like the idea of a paywall with a limit to the articles you can read every month before you have to pay. In my opinion, this would almost be a perfect solution for students such as ourselves as we would not have to pay for the time we don’t use articles.



    1. Hi Emma,

      Thank you for your feedback. I would definitely agree with the fact that it may be difficult for content producers to avoid others using work as their own – the internet is such a vast field now and it would more than likely be untraceable and therefore the plagiarism possibly not detected. However, on the other hand, it could help raise the profile of up and coming researchers, expanding their dependability in their given field. I like the idea you have suggested of a paywall limit – something to take into consideration for the future.



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