Open Access to Online Materials

No one likes having to look through the internet for the content that they need, only to find that it is locked behind a Paywall or micro transaction. With the ease of access and availability the internet brings to knowledge and research papers, where the user can simple search the paper and find it in a moment with a large variety of the paper along with it, rather than going to their library to rent it out on a loan. The creators of these papers/journals have begun to charge out their work on the internet. The video below gives a great explanation to it and some vast knowledge.

The moral of the story is that locking journals behind micro transactions can cause a lot of problems for the people that are trying to access their material, provided only with an abstract or snippet of the work, there can be some confusion and the user trying to gain access might be mislead with the content available and when you are trying to research a subject, you will need to compile a variety of sources to get on with the subject, this can all add up to a large amount of money.

Open access is not only closed to research journals, it can cover any media that is available over the web like music or entertainment media. the music streaming service, Spotify has had a lot of controversy with artists that are used in this service. Taylor Swift, had most of her content removed since she was uncomfortable with her content being a part of “Piracy, file sharing and streaming” (Linshi 2014).

Recently there has been a case quite the opposite of Taylor Swift’s. Steam, a computer game host platform had made public a new strategy on how content creators (modders) for games can distribute their work. Originally mods were freely available to download, however, with the new system Steam would allow the creators to sell their mods over the steam platform. Below is a video stating the facts on the system with some very clear advantages and disadvantages on the system.

News show my John Bane (The Cynical Brit) on paid for mods

Within hours of this new system being announced internet wide distaste and annoyance for the new system had begun and within a week the system being announced it was scraped (PC Gamer, 2015). This badly thought out plan has damage the company greatly and added a lot of controversy on what was a good name.

Making content with a payment does have some advantages, for example, as it was explained in John Bane’s video, having a paid service can increase the size of the market that contribute to it as well as possibly improving the quality of the items allowing more skilled people contribute to it. However, there are so many disadvantages to making a service that could work just as well free, paid for that there is little point or gain for doing it. Incorrectly selling content can lead to annoyed users, increase in workarounds for the content (piracy) and an overall lose in the user base.

Jack Linshi. (2014). Here’s Why Taylor Swift Pulled Her Music From Spotify. Available: Last accessed 03 May 2015.

PC Gamer. (2015). Paid mods are dead: PC Gamer reacts. Available: Last accessed 03 May 2015.

Piled Higher and Deeper (PHD Comics). (2012). Open Access Explained!. Available: Last accessed 03 May 2015.

John Bane, The Cynical Brit. (2015). Valve announces paid modding for Skyrim. Available: Last accessed 03 May 2015.


2 thoughts on “Open Access to Online Materials

  1. oliviahandyside May 10, 2015 / 2:05 pm

    Hi Jack,

    I found your post really interesting and it was really good to see you include examples outside of Academic Research which for me, really highlighted the different attitude I had personally in regards to different types of open access.

    I found that when Taylor Swift removed all her music from Spotify it prompted quite a bit of discussion among my friends. Many of us felt that quite frankly, Taylor Swift probably had enough money already, she wasn’t dependent on Spotify to pay her bills. And obviously opinions on her music vary but I would argue it probably doesn’t have the same global benefit as well founded academic research. Spotify is either funded by Advertising or Subscription, and I think this is a model that could be applied to Academic Journals.

    I know you presented the idea of Steam and the transition they made from free access to paid options. I think that for many that the Internet presents a portal for free information, and that most of us get frustrated when we’re asked to pay to view a certain page; that when something is uploaded to internet it essentially becomes public property.

    What are your thoughts in regards to how Academic Journals should be funded?



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