Is Open Access a Realistic Possibilty

This week we were looking at the argument of publishing academic articles and the costs that go with it. I must start off by saying it’s not something I have given much thought. Lecturers bring the topic up from time to time but as far as I’m concerned while in university they are all free for me. Of course people will point out I incur costs through my education fees but I’m sure my education fees are wasted on much less worthwhile endeavours.

All three pieces I read looked at the option of open access and its validity and as with everything there are two sides to every story. The figures stated seem outlandish and the first piece I read “Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist” says it all in the title. The last article I read was the only one that tried to actually explain the outlandish costs “Open access: The true cost of science publishing” that publishers slap on. Something I can’t quite get to grips with is the variation in prices. Some articles cost less than a $/€100 with others going in to the thousands. The explanation of course comes down to hybrid journals and the importance of the subject matter as well as the peer review process but it still seems over the top.
The debate about open access was discussed thoroughly in “Gold or green: which is the best shade of open access?” and while people seem to be pushing for this is doesn’t actually seem like a viable option to me. Costs would be shifted and the debate whether the average price per article would actually rise or fall is still unsure due to economic demands. Furthermore the lack of enthusiasm as it was put from researchers and research funders to deposit any manuscripts they publish in subscription journals in free online repositories seems an intriguing issue.The lack of a business model behind the gold open access coupled with the fact they seemed to have an agenda going in to it does not shine a good light on that route. However I would be worried if the green open access was adopted, there would be far too much to be waded through with everyone having their articles accessible. I admittedly don’t understand and would need to carry out further research which of course depends on the access I have to what’s published I suppose.

The general consensus is that open access is the way to go and it will eventually become the way. However coming from my economic background I can’t see why organisations would even entertain the idea of relinquishing any power especially if there is nobody forcing them, which there is not. Apparently this debate has been going on since the early 90s and from what I could ascertain will continue on for some time to come. Of course with anything technology has its impact. Many organisations are still dealing with antiquated workflows for arranging peer review, typesetting, file-format conversion and other chores. Whereas small start-ups can come up with fresh workflows using the latest electronic tools, some established publishers are.

Only time will tell and every vested party will have their say no doubt and keep a close eye but who eventually wins out is a mystery nobody can answer at this point in time.

Open access: The true cost of science publishing Cheap open-access journals raise questions about the value publishers add for their money.(2013) Richard Van Noorden

Gold or green: which is the best shade of open access?

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist. (2011) George Monbiot

Developing My PLN

The overriding theme that stood out to me was how to improve on the skill sets you already have through collaboration with others via web 2.0. The world has been opened up for people to mine information from all sectors and areas of the world for their own growth. The first reading Professional Development 2.0: Take Control of Your Own Learning. Focused on the blog aspect side of the things and how that can be used to improve yourself as individual. By writing about what you are doing it gives you an opportunity to reflect and reassess what you have done. It also is a way of expressing your thoughts for others to see and in return get their viewpoints on specific issues and build your PLN which was eluded to heavily in the first reading as something that can be hugely beneficial. The idea was to never to settle for what you think you know but to always try and learn more and improve yourself and to never stop trying to improve.

This is something I can definitely agree with having done blogs before and taking the time to rethink what I’ve just learned and giving it time to swirl around in my head. Some times what you think in your head comes out quite differently when you write, spurring on other thoughts and ideas. I think this idea was carried through to the second reading putting together professional portfolios. You want to express what you have learned and show how you have done so. I believe in creating a portfolio as was outlined would stir up many of the same thought processes that goes into a blog. It gives you time to look at things differently and learn even more.
In terms of competencies at this moment in time I am still learning what exactly I am good at and where exactly my strengths lie at. So in saying that I still think its important I understood who I am when learning to work with others. Something I have been accredited with, rightly or wrongly is seeing things differently. I’m not sure this is always a positive but it definitely throws up some interesting thoughts and processes when going about my academic work. Something I have to improve rapidly is time management. It isn’t so much I waste time on one thing and leave none for another. I tend to have a hard time focusing on more than one thing. I have to complete one task before I can contemplate another. This can lead to some stressful situations. Even if I was able to designate specific time for specific tasks I know I would be much more productive. The idea of having a PLN is something not new to me but something I havnt really thought about. The benefits are clear and it is something I should be looking to develop.

Ethically it is a bit harder to define for me. I like to think I take other people’s ideas on board but I know I can also be quickly dismissive which was pointed out in the readings as a negative about blog input. Concerning ethics and values I have learned it is vitally important to let everyone speak but come up with a constructive way of making sure everyone is on the same wavelength. In the SILS course I find people can be too nice especially when it came to the business end of last term. I can be very quiet in groups and laid back but once it’s time to get things done and I think people are hindering progression I was very happy to take the role of the villain for the benefit of the group. I am not saying I was mean or purposefully stepped on peoples toes but I was happy to say “No” we have to do x,y and z. I am sure I annoyed people but I know it was essential and it was an interesting side of myself to see.

At this stage of my life I haven’t decided what exactly I am going to do and doing the course in Information systems is hopefully going to build a platform for me to start opening other doors. So I think it is vital that I get to experience different aspects of the course that are offered and meet different types of people. Learning to deal with types of people I have never encountered before has definitely been a theme of this year so far.

Bedell, J.T. (2010) Professional Development 2.0: Take Control of Your Own Learning


IFLA Code of Ethics