Open access = Unlocking opportunities?

Image done by Xinlin

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 contentsResistance from publishers perceive OA as a threat to the current profitable subscription model and their financial interests.

What about the CP?

Image done by Xinlin

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?

Image done by Xinlin, Source

No funding? What about crowdfunding?

Image done by Xinlin, Source

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!

(425 words)


Crichton, D. (2014). From Crowdfunding To Open Access, Startups Are Experimenting With Academic Research. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].

Curry, S. (2012). Science must be liberated from the paywalls of publishers | Stephen Curry. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].

Geib, A. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access | Edanz Editing. [online] Available at: [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: [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].

Sergey Nivens, V. (n.d.). Herzberg’s Motivators and Hygiene Factors: Learn how to Motivate Your Team. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].

Suber, P. (2015). Peter Suber, Open Access Overview (definition, introduction). [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Nov. 2016].



  1. Hi Xin Lin, regarding the issue of sustainability due to Open Access, you mentioned that money might not be the only source of motivation for content producers (CP), thus I would like to touch further on this topic.

    I agree to your viewpoint that providing free content also helps CP gained intrinsic satisfaction and benefits such as recognition, sense of achievement and advancement at work.

    Do you also agree that it really depends on the intention of a CP and how he defines ‘Value’ to what he has gained from the job.

    To support this, a survey was done to understand the reasons why respondents publish in Open Access journals, and the highest percentage of its results is due to the different intention to publish. Some may value reputation while others value career or monetary benefits. [1] Ultimately, if the intention is to get people obtain their knowledge and share to as many audience, CP would not mind paying for audience to get advantage [1] In return, they may gain recognition, acknowledgement of work and sense of achievement, which is seen as valuable rewards gained out from making their materials Open Access. Do let me know your thoughts on this!

    [1] Masrek, M.N. and Yaakub, M.S. (2015) ‘Intention to publish in open access journal: The case of multimedia university Malaysia ’, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 174, pp. 3420–3427.

    -Dayna (:


  2. Hi Xinlin,
    Your post is a pleasure to read as the points are concise and laid out neatly for viewing. It is most impressive for you to relate the pros and cons in the context of Herzberg’s theory, making it easier to comprehend.

    From what I know, the greatest drawback of OA is the trade-off between accessibility and cost. I second the idea of crowd-funding due to its cost effectiveness and viability, however it is not always the case to easily form a group of like-minded people to fund the article.

    Rather than have zero compensation, do you think having a closely monitored paywall is better? Users pay a minimal fee based on the content that they require; with the purpose of just covering the publishing costs.
    This implementation will allow users to still enjoy the benefits of OA but sharing the cost with end users; enabling more sustainability.


  3. Hello Xin Lin, thank you for sharing your thought on the topic. Putting Herzberg’s Theory on your post has reminded me again that the problem doesn’t only revolve around money. Also, the Crowdfunding solution sounds really great.

    I would like to have your thoughts on the disadvantages of Open Access to the authors, such as the possibility of works being exploited. For example, Creative Commons, which is an Open Access site that lets authors to have copyright license for their works. However, even the license lets end users to do whatever as they please with the original works and authors are not able to do anything about it. Also, are authors allowed to re-use their articles after letting them to be included in Open Access’ journals? Even when authors ask permission from publishers, sometimes publishers refuse it. Isn’t that unethical?



  4. […] Xin Lin blog emphasized on how different content producers differ in terms of their source of motivation for job satisfaction in using Open Access models. Most of my classmates’ blog mentioned about the issue of sustainability due to absence of incentives in Open Access, which causes content producers to feel unmotivated and slowly switch to Subscription Access. […]


  5. Hey Xinlin!

    If I were a passionate content producer, money would not be the main source of motivation, especially when it comes to putting contents that I am passionate about. Content producers seek recognition for their efforts and they are able to get it through the increase of citations, readership and viewership on different platforms. Which is why I also like the fact that you mentioned crowd funding as it provides sustainability for content producers to publish their articles and journals online.

    I agree that though it is a pity content producers have to pay publishers for their work to be free online, it does benefit them against having publishers ripped their work. However, open access means that anyone online has access to their work, which means their work is still vulnerable to the exploitation of netizens. (

    Do you think this disadvantage will be one of the reasons that prevent content producers to share their content online freely?


  6. Hello Xinlin,

    Your entry has pointed out the important factor of intrinsic values one can achieve by putting free content online. While getting profit and funding is essential for any content producers in the long run, I do agree with you that profit is not all there is to it.

    Intrinsic rewards like recognition and achievement can greatly affect the motivation of the content producer in developing more content for his community or industry. I mean you put your work online so people can see your work and then give feedback to you, both positive and negative. Positive in terms of your viewers sharing your work with others because it is good and negative when they help to point out your mistakes so you can improve your work.
    Having said that, when your work is being shared and developed upon through your viewers, the end result can fulfil the sense of achievement because sometimes problems cannot be solved by yourself. This also increases the recognition and citation of your work, which the content producer can get motivation from.

    You also mentioned crowdfunding as a way for funding producers because publishing content is getting more expensive. However there are drawbacks to crowdfunding too as well, mainly it takes a lot of time and effort. Here’s a link to pros/cons of crowdfunding:

    Let me know what you think of the drawbacks.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s