For 4 years, this blue button has irritated me beyond belief. Writing a patient case report or research essay at 4am was never fun, and to make it worse, I was constantly at war with all the journals that would not give me or the University access to their cutting-edge research articles.
A key, running theme in my posts has been the revolutionary change in education that has been brought about by digital means, for example medical education through video podcasts (see Topic 1). During school, KhanAcademy provided me with a wealth of knowledge that helped me through my A Levels. For this reason, I decided I would also help others by making my notes freely accessible (see Physics notes).
Free-to-use resources have been treasured by many others like me. They dramatically bring down the cost of education and promote self-study. However, there is a significant issue concerning Higher Education and open access resources, as I alluded to previously. Important and innovative research is restricted for public, free-for-all use. Richard wrote about the educational “Digital Divide” in developing countries, which is only made worse by the sky-rocketing prices of journals. Wiley explains open access and why they support it as publishers:
The value of open access reaches far beyond personal gain. Jack Andraka, scientist and boy wonder, made use of open access to develop an early-detection diagnostic tool for some of the most lethal cancers known. He explains that:
“Having open access to scientific journals is important because then an important financial barrier to knowledge would be removed.”
Imagine if nearly all online content was retained behind paywalls (as predicted would be the case by 2016)?
Support for open access (OA) is rising.
As a medical student, I am both a “consumer” and “producer” of research output; we conduct an extensive research project in the MMedSc course.The Australian Open Access Strategy group has explained the clear advantages from both “consumer” and “producer” perspectives. I have summarised both sides to the argument for OA, from a “producers” perspective in my SlideShare below.
Perhaps now we must make an effort to overcome these disadvantages to the content producer, so that we can all benefit from open access, as discussed in this report.
David Wiley, Cable Green, Louis Soares, 2012. Dramatically bringing down the cost of education with OER. Educause, Center for American Progress. [Accessed 5th May 2016]
Video: Understanding Open Access. Wiley 2014.
Lia Steakley, 2013. Teen cancer researcher Jack Andraka discusses open access in science, stagnation in medicine. SCOPE, Standford Medicine. [Accessed 5th May 2016]
Stephen Lepitak, 2013. 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. The Drum. [Accessed 5th May 2016]
David Jakabek, 2015. Open Access, and why it matters to medical students. Australian Open Access Strategy Group. [Accessed 5th May 2016]
Anon. What is Open Access? Australian Open Access Strategy Group. [Accessed 5th May 2016]
Peter Suber, 2013. Open access: six myths to put to rest. The Guardian. [Accessed 6th May 2016]
Adam Geib, 2013. Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access. EdanzEditing. [Accessed 6th May 2016]
Video: Tragedy of the Commons or the Problem with Open Access. This Place, 2015.
Dame Janet Finch, 2012. Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications. Finch Group report. [Accessed 6th May 2016]