Open Access – For Fair and Equal Access of Information

In a society that is increasingly transitioning away from the focus on industrial and agricultural prowess, and further towards a ‘Knowledge-Based Economy’; there has been a growing discussion on Open Access and the Advantages and Disadvantages it brings to a content producer.

But, what exactly is ‘Open Access’?  

This video and summary below perfectly defines this for us.


So, why the need for Open Access?

As previously discussed in Topic One, over the last 20 years, internet usage has exponentially grown and the rise of Digital Residents (White and Cornu, 2011) means that users are increasingly taking to the internet to expand their knowledge and enrich their identity.  Without open access, only those willing to pay for this information will be able to access it, which in-turn creates a knowledge gap based on wealth and class. As a working class, lower income, university student, this would personally adversely affect my studies and restrict me from expanding my knowledge and horizons; I would not be able to afford expensive reports that students of a more affluent background perhaps could. In fact, Marxist Marcuse (1986) would argue that the limitation in enriching information, creates a ‘one-dimensional thought’ amongst the working class, forcing poorer people in to unquestioning, uneducated citizens who only have access to trivial materialism (as seen below), thus, highlighting the danger of restricting information behind expensive paywalls. 


What about the rights of the content producer? I hear you ask… Despite the initial doubts surrounding rights, access and fees, Open Access focusses on ensuring that authors can freely distribute their work whilst keeping their rights and forcing other scholars to cite their work. As this video by Wiley explains ‘everyone can read it, and cite it and help give the exposure it deserves’ (Wiley, 2014) to help up-and-coming content producers get their work published. Furthermore, it also allows greater research and understanding, as users can use and build upon previous works with the help of a ‘Creative Commons Attribution Licence’ and make further advancements in their specialised field.

Of course, there are still arguments stating the disadvantages surrounding open access such as people failing to cite the content producer, and costs to make information open, however the videos and explanations explored in this post have hopefully made you more aware of the positives and have convinced you that open access is the way forward to boost this Knowledge-Based Economy in a fair and equal manner.

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Ashraf, F. (2017). Digital Visitors or Residents, Which One Are You?. [online] Living and Working on the Web. Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2017].

Creative Commons (2003). Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales— CC BY 2.0 UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) (2011). Deprivation and education : the evidence on pupils in England, Foundation Stage to Key Stage 4 – Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA). [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

ISET Policy Institute (2014). Knowledge Economy Visualized. [online] YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017].

Marcuse, H. (1986) One-dimensional man: Studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society. London: London Ark 1986, c1964.

OEDC (2007). OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms – Material deprivation Definition. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Shockey, N. and Eisen, J. (2012). Open Access Explained! – YouTube. [online] YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Pell Institute (2016). The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education Publications. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

White, D. and Cornu, A. (2017). Visitors & Residents. [online] Digital – Learning – Culture. Available at: [Accessed 3 May 2017].

Wiley (2014). Understanding Open Access. [online] YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Open Access – For Fair and Equal Access of Information