My critical response to #openness

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Open access proves to be an extremely controversial topic on many discussion and social media platforms. The idea of openness can be interpreted in various different ways. I was interested to find out my peers’ opinions on this particular topic and more importantly compare them with my own views surrounding open access and the whole idea of knowledge being openly shared. I wasn’t particularly surprised to see that my attitude towards openness was similar to my classmates’. The general consensus was that knowledge should not be available on a restricted basis, or only available to those willing to pay. It shouldn’t be concealed. It was interesting to see people’s different ways of viewing openness, some visualising it as a tangible concept, like a “box” of knowledge, others considering it more as an intangible concept, it is merely information floating around.

It is not until I have come to college that I have started to properly appreciate the importance of other people’s research, how it can be retrieved and how much it costs to get your hands on it. While researching for my assignment for my minor Arts subject I have come across obstacles regarding open access, I have come across a handful of academic articles that meet the specifications of my essay title, but are only available to me (a student who is contributing to this country) for a small fee of 180 euro. I will probably never get my hands on these particular articles, I’m not that upset. However for someone in the medical or scientific field, an article that proves challenging to access could make or break a potential medical advance or scientific discovery. From observing the various “twessays” surrounding openness, the general consensus is that putting a restriction on peer reviewed academic articles or research, inhibits one’s ability to acquire knowledge.

Not only could open access benefit those looking for information but it could also benefit university libraries economically, by not having to purchase subscriptions to as many academic journals. The prices of journals have been described as unsustainable and untenable (Suber,2012).Journal prices are inflating and the average academic library budget cannot handle the financial demands of such journals .Can library budgets meet the increasing cost of journal subscriptions without some form of open access being introduced?(Worlock,2004).

There is also the debate that open access journals (as opposed to costly subscription journals) would undermine important values such as editorial quality (Van Noorden, 2013).The question also arises whether expensive, reputable journals can survive in an open access world. Students are not just seeking out open access research, but research that has been peer-reviewed, this proves to be of huge importance in the science and medical fields. I feel like the most important thing in regards to open access is not just to have a huge quantity of information accessible, but also to have quality information that can be accessed on an unrestricted basis.

In regards to the “twessays” and their content, the topic surrounding the quality of open access such as editing and reviewing was not explored. Open access has its limitations, however the proposed benefits of open access outweigh these limitations. I felt like the benefits surrounding openness were only explored and the limitations were not touched on. You have problems regarding sustainability, quality control and publication fees. However the various benefits of open access which were explored in the “twessays” included the idea of knowledge for all, increased readership and more possibilities for those in third world countries. I was not surprised to find that my viewpoint in regards to openness was similar to my classmates’ opinions. I really enjoyed @jadwiga_98’s idea of openness being a box,and the information inside to be shared on an unrestricted basis.photo (2)

I also enjoyed @deebrady_dh’s focus on inspiring creativity through open access.

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“The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it.”- Aaron Swartz


Bibliography

Suber,Peter (2012),Opening Access to Research,url: https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/opening-access-research

Van Noorden,Richard (2013),Open access: The true cost of science publishing,url: http://www.nature.com/news/open-access-the-true-cost-of-science-publishing-1.12676

Worlock,Kate (2004), The pros and cons of Open access,url: http://www.nature.com/nature/focus/accessdebate/34.html

The Internets Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz,url: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXr-2hwTk58

Moravec,Michelle,Writing in Public,url:

http://michellemoravec.com/michelle-moravec/

Swartz,Aaron (2008), Guerilla Open Access Manifesto,url: https://archive.org/stream/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008_djvu.txt

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One thought on “My critical response to #openness

  1. Hi Niamh!
    You presented some interesting arguments here. I agree about the importance of stressing the idea of quality research on Open Access databases. You also made a good point about the nature of our class’s Twessays – they were mostly about better access to knowledge and the advantages of Open Access, avoiding the discussion of its limitations and drawbacks. However, I think that further research on this topic for our critical responses has definitely helped in expanding our knowledge on both the advantages and benefits of Open Access.
    Looking forward to your future thoughts on Open Access and our digital world! 🙂

    Like

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