Open Access to Learning

“Print newspapers are moving online or closing altogether. University presses are considering anything to stay in business.” Richard Miller explains the profound change surrounding University education over the past decade, as everything including scholarly books and journals are moving online. This has introduced many problems to scholars and students alike. To purchase a scholarly journal off the database Elseviers it will cost $31.50, and to purchase a journal off Wiley Blackwell the cost will increase to $42. This typically is more than the average University student can afford to pay and restricts learning and access to information.

Systems have emerged to combat this commercial capitalism surrounding educational resources. Some databases have introduced an open journal system. The Public Knowledge Project is striving to ensure the new generation of convergent online journals are free to access. This not only has positive implications for students and teachers but also scholars as the database provides a platform to launch their articles without forfeiting the rights to their research.  

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Open access extremists such as Aaron Swartz, aim to achieve equal access to all educational bodies. Swartz began the campaign against Internet Censorship Bills which has attracted millions of followers and is still active today. Agreeing with Millers argument, Eileen Schell believes Universities are becoming a business management model due to the rising costs of accessing journal articles which combines to an average 60% of the overall budget for University libraries. In the Edu-factory collective, Schell discusses Open Source Unionism. This is an effective idea as higher education workers can come together to use the new Internet age to its’ full potential. The overall aim of the Open Source Unionism movement is about academic freedom, scholarly integrity and the extension of affordable, accessible and quality education. Schemes such as this one are needed in society today to protect the rights of students and academics to access the knowledge and education needed to excel in their fields of research and to protect existing and new scholars journals from the capitalism surrounding Universities and research information.      Lauren Northover

 

 

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Citizen Journalists; Friend or Foe to the Future of Journalism?

The digital age has emerged in the twentieth century which has dramatically changed the way audiences’ view and access information. Cameras, blogs, Twitter and the internet in general have introduced the thought of gaining information at the click of a button but also the ability to produce and create one’s own media agenda to the point where a citizen journalist could be anyone. Luke Goode, an advocate of citizen journalism and democracy defines citizen journalism as a web-based practice whereby ‘ordinary’ users participate in journalistic practices using video or mobile phones.  So the question remains, is this good or bad for professional journalists?

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Thorsten Quandt believes there are two types of journalists; segregationists who believe user generated contributions should be kept separate from their professional work and integrationist who embrace the citizen journalists and believe in co-creation.

In Australia, bloggers and journalists are kept separately and individual contributions to the media sphere are not recognised as journalistic sources. Therefore journalistic codes do not apply, such as source confidentiality. Fiona Martin, a Professor in Online and Convergent Media, believes this raises issues for participatory journalists as themselves or their sources are not protected under state law. An example of the repercussions of this could be the website WikiLeaks. Dangers arise regarding privacy issues and the source could be in danger if the story is tracked.

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Citizen journalism can at times help professional journalists. It can provide information that journalists had not previously seen or reported. The story can also be spread worldwide in an instance which ultimately brings people together. Consumers can be more involved and have the option to in-depth news that isn’t subjected to a journalist’s political agenda. User generated content can assist professional journalists if the correct information is reported. As Quandt concludes, change is inevitable and due to the convergence of new media citizen journalism will continue to thrive and be another source of information.          Lauren Northover