The advantages and Disadvantages of Open access

What is meant by open access?

Open access is free immediate access to articles free to all people all over the world, to make research literature more available. Here is a short video to explain more.

An example of open access are Open educational resources, or OER’s. OER’s are textbooks, research articles, videos, assessments and simulations that are licensed under an open copyright licence, or public domain. This means that students, teachers and anyone wanting to learn can gain access to information they desire. (Re… et al., 2017)


There are different routes to open access; Green and Gold. Green is where the research is run by the researcher’s institution in an electronic archive called a repository. They are commonly shared and access to the research can be granted immediately or after an agreed period of time. Gold on the other hand, is publishing that allows immediate access to anyone electronically free of charge. Authors will receive payment through article processing charges, advertising, donations or other subsides. (England, 2017).new-piktochart_22246032_63bad1463fc14852e2621b531f01be3823c77c8d

Is Open access a good thing, here I look at some of the advantages and disadvantages:


Within all of the advantages and disadvantages of open access there are some misconceptions. open access publishing does not mean that the author does not retain copyright, the publication will not be peer reviewed or indeed have a factor of impact upon the reader. open access is important to students, researchers, publishers and many more. so these misconceptions needed to be addressed. (, 2017)

It is not just academic institutions that involve open access, online media such as newspapers and magazines . In 2013, Simon-Kucher & Partners found that 90 percent of online companies would likely be held behind a paywall in the coming three years. One of these companies was The Telegraph Media Group, they would allow non-members to access 20 free articles a month but any more and they would have to pay. If you go the website you can select a premium package that suits you best. screen-shot-2017-05-07-at-17-58-08

If this is moving onto the mainstream media, does this mean that there is no hope for fully open access to academic research in the future?

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Colossal. (2017). The Guggenheim Museum Shares Over 200 Free Art Books Through the Internet Archive. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2017]. (2017). About The Licenses – Creative Commons. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2017].

England, H. (2017). What is open access? – Higher Education Funding Council for England. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2017]. (2017). Pros and cons. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Re…, E., pub…, S., Co…, O., concepts…, B. and …, P. (2017). Advantages and disadvantages of Open Access. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2017].

The Drum. (2017). Media Buyers’ Reaction: The Sun and The Telegraph to introduce paywalls. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Drum. (2017). Telegraph Media Group announces online UK paywall. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Drum. (2017). 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Telegraph. (2017). Telegraph. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2017].

Wiley, D., Green, C. and Soares, L. (2012). Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning. [online] Available at: http://Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning [Accessed 5 May 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Open Access. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2017].

7 thoughts on “The advantages and Disadvantages of Open access

  1. Louise

    Hi Charley,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post. The use of images made it a lot easier to understand the topic, as well as making it easier to read. I agree with the advantages and disadvantages of open access that you raised. From looking at both sides, do you feel that the negatives of open access outweigh the positives or vice versa?

    With regards to your example of the telegraph, do you feel as though charging the general public to read the news is ethical? In my opinion, monetization should have boundaries and limits. Being able to access ‘all-you-can-eat’ news should not be comprised because it was necessary to inform us. Even websites such as Twitter have struggled to monetize their millions of users without compromising the integrity of their website:

    I feel that surely the news media should act the same?

    Looking forward to your response.



    1. Charley Ridgers Post author

      Hi Louise, thank you for reading and i am glad you enjoyed it. as for how i feel about open access i think it is positive as it allows people to educate themselves and others in an easy way and has more benefits in the long run than disadvantages.

      I do not think charging people to read the news is ethical, the media has a responsibility to inform to public of any news surrounding all topics, so if we are being charged for this they are taking away some of their ethical responsibilities.


  2. Madeleine conway

    Hi Charley,

    Great blog this week – I agree with the previous comment in that your visuals really compliment the content. As a BA geography undergraduate, I’d naturally be concerned with open access within the social sciences. With social science research, there’s a lot of diversity in that a lot of it is conducted outside of the UK, and there’s lots of variation in the types of publication – e.g. books, book chapters, journal articles etc. The current UK publisher compliance rules make it quite difficult to publish non-journal material (Crotty, 2014), and current ideas for Open Access for books and essay collections etc. are often met with excitement and enthusiasm, but with no actual solid plans for the near future (Wickham and Vincent, 2013). Do you think this could affect the quality of secondary research (e.g. from university students) if they can only access paywalls and/or journal articles?

    Thanks! interested to hear your thoughts.

    153 words


    – Vincent, N. and Wickham, C. (2013). Debating open access. 1st ed. London: The British Academy. Available at:

    – Crotty, D. (2014). Open Access in the Humanities and Social Sciences: An Interview with Chris Wickham – The Scholarly Kitchen. [online] The Scholarly Kitchen. Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2017].

    1. Charley Ridgers Post author

      Hi Madeleine,
      thank you for reading i really appreciate the kind comments.
      I completely understand how you feel, I am doing sociology so I am constantly trying to access articles online and in the amount of time wasted on article I cannot access I probably could have written an essay!

      Yes, I do feel that secondary data especially students work will be affected, if it is not possible to access what is needed then the work produced will be poorer. I know that personally I would not be willing to pay to access an article if i was not completely sure it was relevant to what I need. How do you feel about it?

  3. Madeleine conway

    Thanks for the reply Charley!
    I completely agree. I don’t think there are many students out there who would pay for an article, especially at the prices they currently are! – perhaps only if it was absolutely imperative to a serious piece of work like a dissertation. The work produced would definitely be poorer in my eyes, and even more so if people do have to start paying… I reckon the number of references in an essay might go down for instance, which would overall hinder the credibility of it.

    Thanks again!

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