Open access (OA) refers to free immediate access and reuse of contents published online. Content producers (CP) agree to allow contents to be legally reused as long as their sources are properly cited. As users, we hope to push for OA to make contents free and accessible. Don’t you agree the sight of “Subscribe to access” irks you?
Conversely, studies by Simon-Kutcher & Partners have shown that even majority of media companies are intending to establish paywall to online contents. Resistance from publishers perceive OA as a threat to the current profitable subscription model and their financial interests.
What about the CP?
With OA, CP pays publishers to review the work and release it to public for free. Although many may argue this is a disadvantage for costs incurred, however it could be a trade-off for more benefits and opportunities.
Firstly, it ensures CP has the rightful ownership of contents, preventing publishers from selling their contents and earning profits. Secondly, it enhances visibility and impact of work as it can be downloaded immediately. Thirdly, OA articles can reach out to more audience, with increased readership and citation rates. Thus, OA allow CP to gain reputation with increased publicity.
For instance, PLOS ONE publishes reports of original research, while adhering to an OA policy. CPs agree to legally make contents available for reuse and exchange of knowledge as long as it is cited, for the benefit society. The company has strict criteria for publications to ensure quality control and prevent cases of fraud/ false information.
Some have also argued on the issue of sustainability due to absence of incentives for CP and their work, resulting in lack of motivation. No doubt there is a correlation between income and work, but is money the only source of motivation for job satisfaction? Refer to the image below for further illustration. If you are a passionate CP, based on the aforementioned advantages and Herzberg’s theory, would it have helped you to gain recognition, a sense of achievement, advancement and the work itself?
No funding? What about crowdfunding?
In addition, it is not completely impossible to get funds for CPs. Experiment is a start-up to connect researchers/ CPs with those who are keen to contribute to fund the research project and has 103 completed funded projects thus far.
We progress as we learn and open up to opportunities we never knew we had. Nothing is perfect, so is the idea of OA. Perhaps, shifting from the old model of publishing into OA isn’t that bad? We can continue to innovate and find better solutions to enhance sharing of knowledge online!
Crichton, D. (2014). From Crowdfunding To Open Access, Startups Are Experimenting With Academic Research. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2014/03/03/from-crowdfunding-to-open-access-startups-are-experimenting-with-academic-research/ [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Curry, S. (2012). Science must be liberated from the paywalls of publishers | Stephen Curry. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/10/science-open-access-publishing [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Geib, A. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access | Edanz Editing. [online] Edanzediting.com. Available at: https://www.edanzediting.com/blogs/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-open-access [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Lepitak, S. (2013). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. [online] The Drum. Available at: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/12/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggests [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Sergey Nivens, V. (n.d.). Herzberg’s Motivators and Hygiene Factors: Learn how to Motivate Your Team. [online] Mindtools.com. Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/herzberg-motivators-hygiene-factors.htm [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].
Suber, P. (2015). Peter Suber, Open Access Overview (definition, introduction). [online] Legacy.earlham.edu. Available at: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].