Topic 5: Open Access Online

Open access is concerned with online research that is available for anyone to use since it is free of financial restrictions and is fully available for re-use. Because of this however, it is a highly debated topic.


Like anything, open access has its advantages and disadvantages, which you can see in the infographic I made below:

and cons of oa online

At first I thought I would be against Open Access (OA) because I could see the benefits for everyone but the authors, who would ultimately have to pay for the publication costs.

“There’s no such thing as a free journal. It costs money.”

But then I found out that there is an increase in Government funding for research which would cover those costs, so even though the authors wouldn’t be paid for their articles, they would still receive recognition through citations, and isn’t that the main aim of education? To spread knowledge over receiving financial reward? The costs of OA are justified, because their expenditures with regards to marketing, recruitment and management are rising, so to charge for publication to me, seems fair, especially given that OA contributes to benefitting science and research due to its ‘free for all’ nature, enhancing availability and therefore further developments in research.

The average annual price of journal subscriptions is thousands of pounds, which isn’t surprising seeing as when I haven’t had access to an article, its price is usually between £30 and £100. I have never paid for an article I didn’t already have access to through OA or the University subscriptions because of not only its cost, but also because it may not even turn out to be relevant, given that abstracts don’t always give you all the information you need, and because there are no refunds when it comes to paying for journal articles. This seems equally ridiculous given that the Government and other organisations typically fund research for years, and then it doesn’t even get used because the average person cannot afford to pay for the chance that the £30 article may be relevant, let alone thousands of pounds per year for a subscription to a journal that hasn’t even produced the content it publishes. This is one of the reasons why I am pro OA, however it does make me question my University fees – if part of my nine grand a year is to contribute towards journal subscriptions, if OA came into full effect and was completely accepted by higher education, I would expect to pay less to attend uni, especially if an increasing amount of research is available through OA and if OA is the future, which it is likely to be.

In my opinion, OA is the future for journal articles, so it’s better for researchers to get on board rather than protest it, because then they run the risk of being left behind and not reaping its benefits for education as a whole and for themselves.

Here’s a quick video by the highly accredited publication Wiley, and why they support OA:


BROWN, A. 2012, ‘Open Access: Why Academic Publishers still add value’, [online], Available: [Accessed 07.05.2016].

Edanz Editing, 2013, ‘Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access’, [online], Available: [Accessed 07.05.2016].

Open Access, ‘Pros and Cons’, [online], Available: [Accessed 07.05.2016].

WEXLER, E. 2015, ‘What Open-Access Publishing Actually Costs’, [online], Available: [Accessed 07.05.2016].

YouTube 2014, ‘Understanding Open Access’, [online], Available: [Accessed 07.05.2016].


8 thoughts on “Topic 5: Open Access Online”

  1. Hi Anna

    Your post is really thought-provoking. I guess because I’ve always had a hard time with finding research with open access/subscription by the Uni, I immediately became pro-OA, whereas you were initially against it.
    You also mentioned a significant point – our university fees. I might be going off topic with regards to OA and free content, but the 9K uni fees have always been an issue to me seeing as I have to spend such a long time in uni.
    I think your conclusion is pretty important. There are many societies/groups that are acting to promote OA, and to make everyone more aware of the movement, however, what can actually be done to limit those disadvantages to the author?
    In my blog I’ve mentioned very briefly the Finch Group’s report, where they recommend how to develop a model that will be both effective and sustainable for expanding access of published findings. It deals with the issue of unsustainability (I used this video in my blog to explain this concept:

    What do you think of the sustainability issue, and how would you suggest the model for OA could overcome this?


    1. Hey Shriya, thanks for commenting.

      I think the only way to overcome the sustainability of OA is through trial and error. Refining the model and trying out different methods until they come across the right formula to ensure quality journals available to all. The more people that join and contribute, the better it will be because they will learn from developing it, and I think this is the direction the world of academia is headed towards.

  2. Hi Anna,

    I enjoyed reading your points on Open Access. I think you evaluated both sides to it very well.

    I am also pro open access, mainly after researching it very well. I also stand with you for the fact that access to knowledge shouldn’t cost anyone around £30-£100 to find out whether it is hardly relevant or not.

    Upon doing research I found that there are two different routes described to help encourage Open Access, one being Gold and the other being Green. I have explained these within my blog post ( So with that in mind, its readers that mostly benefit from Open Access, with also authors. However, do you think that authors should be able to decide whether they want their work to be put through Open Access? Do you reckon there could be different classes within the Open Access? Like having someone information being fully available and others made less available, due to high quality of research?


    1. Hey Shaheer, thanks for commenting.

      Firstly, I think that yes, authors should definitely be able to decide whether they wish their work to be published through OA or not, and I think this is already in place, given that if it weren’t, there would be a whole load of copyright infringement cases!

      With regards to your second question, I believe open access should be just that – open. If some articles weren’t fully available, they wouldn’t be classified as open access articles because they would be partially closed. I hope this answers your question.

  3. […] AnnaGrace however disagreed with me and felt that artists should all be paid for their work, even though artists like Swift already make a great deal from their tour and merchandise sales. Prior to learning the payment method of Spotifty I would have agreed that these streaming services did treat the artists unfairly. However as I stated in my post and discussed with Holly the way music is being heard has changed and album sales have lowered so not allowing your music to be streamed could harm the artists popularity. […]

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