Understanding Open Access
As with the growth of technology and digitisation, individuals and organisations are increasingly publishing their works online as open access; online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access and restrictions on use. (Wikipedia, 2016)
Infographic on Open Access (http://bit.ly/2fEhaA6)
A content producer making their materials freely available online can gain from many advantages that come with the benefits of digitization, however, some might argue of the setbacks to this approach. Publishing material freely online is mainly advantageous to:
MOOC Infographic (http://bit.ly/1UNUMCk)
OERs and MOOCs such as Khan Academy and Udacity have led content producers i.e. educators to collaborate among themselves in developing effective teaching styles and discovering new resources, thus enhancing their skills and knowledge as professional educators.
Publishing academic articles freely online allow other students/researchers to readily access them, in which the articles would then be cited and referenced, building upon their profile and reputation.
Photographers who publish their work on Flickr under a creative commons license, or on copyright-free sites such as Pexels and Pixabay for photography, enable others to use and reproduce their photos freely, garnering publicity and extending audience reach.
Behance Statistics as at 15-11-2016 (https://www.behance.net/about)
Works published by designers publicly on sites like Behance and Dribbble – while not necessarily copyright-free – receive views from a large public audience. (Scaglione, 2012) This can also lead to earning potential clients.
3D Printing Forecast (http://bit.ly/2gdnUbW)
3D printing, a relatively new technology in the growth stage of its product life-cycle (Lomas, 2013), benefits from open access sites like Thingiverse and GrabCAD; a community where mostly engineering students and professionals openly share CAD (Computer Aided Design) files of simple to complex objects. This allows anybody without formal engineering background to download the files and print them directly on their 3d printers, expanding the target market of 3D printing from professionals to hobbyists.
However, publishing materials freely available online has its disadvantages as well.
A key disadvantage lies with funding. The content produced on these sites requires time and money prior to publishing them, as well as the cost of running the website and domain. Hence, many of these sites are either funded by governments or through donations, and those that run out of funds are prone to becoming obsolete or shutting down.
Other disadvantages include the lack of quality control over the content produced, improper use of intellectual property, and increased competition from other content producers.
Self-made Infographic on the Disadvantages of Open Access
Despite the disadvantages, as a content producer who publishes my work online as well, I believe the advantages far outweigh its disadvantages. Not only can published content receive overwhelming publicity, it can also help others on the receiving end. Having been students yourselves, I’m sure you’d agree the availability of freely accessible material online is extremely helpful.
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List of References:
Columbus, L. (2015) 2015 roundup of 3D printing market forecasts and estimates. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2015/03/31/2015-roundup-of-3d-printing-market-forecasts-and-estimates/#3f3797b81dc6 (Accessed: 15 November 2016).
Creative Commons, About The Licenses. Available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ (Accessed: 16 November 2016).
Creative Commons Wiki (2016) What is OER? Available at: https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/What_is_OER%3F (Accessed: 15 November 2016).
Geib, A. (2013) Advantages and disadvantages of open access. Available at: https://www.edanzediting.com/blogs/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-open-access (Accessed: 16 November 2016).
Lomas, N. (2013) The much-hyped 3D printer market is entering A new growth phase, says Gartner. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2013/10/02/gartner-3d-printer-market-forecast/ (Accessed: 15 November 2016).
Scaglione, J. (2012) Web designers are using the Behance network to increase visibility. Available at: https://designmodo.com/behance/ (Accessed: 15 November 2016).
Td.org (2015) MOOCs: Expanding the scope of organizational learning Infographic – e-learning Infographics. Available at: http://elearninginfographics.com/moocs-expanding-scope-organizational-learning-infographic/ (Accessed: 15 November 2016).
Wikipedia (2016) ‘Massive open online course’, in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course (Accessed: 15 November 2016).
Wikipedia (2016) ‘Open access’, in Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access (Accessed: 15 November 2016).