Topic 5

Hit a brick wall 

While it can be argued that one of the main purposes of the internet is to share, and receive information with ease, it has been noted that the current scientific model, dating back to the 1600s, makes this process somewhat challenging (Tracz and Lawrence, 2016).

According to Mayyasia (2013) scientist follow a ‘consistent pattern’ that has almost become institutionalised.

Although this act of publishing seems to enable people all over the world to gain access to research, often these papers are sat behind a paywall and subscriptions to these have increased massively. This article illustrates some of these horrifying statistics.

As it is impossible to buy access to every journal students must pay the price in losing out on core journals having to use what is available not necessarily what they need (Right to Research, 2010). Many universities are cancelling subscriptions because of this, thus lowering the pool of educational resources rather than increasing it.

As a student, I am all too familiar with that gut wrenching feeling you get when you finally find the perfect journal you have spent hours trying to locate to be told you can’t access it unless you pay an extortionate amount of money.

However, there are several solutions to this increasingly prominent problem; such as, Unpaywall.orgOpen Education Recourses and Open Access Mega Journals, which are placed under the term ‘Open Access’.

So, what is Open Access?

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 20.07.48

Wiley (2014).

Although, open access seems like a notoriously obvious solution to a problem faced by so many, it does however come with both advantages and disadvantages.

Below I have created an Infographic using Venngage recommended by @S2Hewitt on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 21.56.25Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 21.56.45.png

For me, one of the biggest issues with Open Access is its ability to enable another user to republish your work without seeking permission (Tennant et al. 2016).

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 20.27.57

However, from the abov discussion I was able to learn about the NON-PROFIT organisation ‘Creative Commons’ which if used in conjunction with Open Access would enable scientific research to be shared more openly and easily enabling new ideas and creations to happen (Gulley, 2013).

Having said that, I agree with several of the disadvantages outlined by Beall (2015) which are supported by Osbourne (2013) suggesting that while Open Access appears all kosher on the surface there are several hidden issues with the model disguised behind the masses of Internet pings in favour of it. While I agree with both sides of the argument I believe, it goes without saying that regardless of the many issues outlined there are however far more benefits and I agree with several points outlined by Shockey and Eisen (2012) in their YouTube video.

I think the metaphor below neatly sums up these opposing models.


Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 19.55.09.png


Open Access

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 19.59.56.png

Word count: 384


Beall, J. (2015) What the Open-Access Movemnet Doesn’t Want You To Know. Available at:’t-want-you-know#.WQ8mPhiZN0t (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Gulley, N. (2013) ‘Creative Commons: challenges and solutions for researchers; a publisher’s perspective of copyright in an open access enviroment’, Insights, 26(2). Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Mayyasia,  A. (2013) Why is Science Behind a Paywall. Available at:  (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Osbourne, R. (2013) ‘Why open access makes no sense, The Guardian, 8 July. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Right to Research (2010) The Problem: Students can’t access essential research. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Shockley, N. and Eisen, J. (2012) Open Access Explained. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Tennant, J.P., Waldner, F., Jacques, D.C., Masuzzo, P., Collister, L.B. and Hartgerink, H.J.(2016) ‘The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review’, F1000Research, 5(632). Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Tracz, V. and Lawrence, R. (2016) ‘Towards an open science publishing platform’, F100Research, 5(130). Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2017).

Wiley. (2014) Understanding Open Access. Available at: (Accessed: 7 May 2017).