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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