If I were to ask you….


Credits: Image Source

If I were to ask you: “What is the Internet for?”, what would you say?

I would say something like this – “Well, the internet is a platform for people to share ideas and experiences about the topics that interests them.”. That is essentially what the internet is for isn’t it? To share. However, because of copyright laws, sharing is often in conflict with the unrestricted access and reuse of information online (a.k.a Open Access).

The”4Rs”, (W.David, G.Cable, S.Louis, 2012) shows us what we are allowed to engage in under Open Access. They also summarize the advantages of Open Access.

Revise, Reuse, Remix and Redistribute

Essentially, because of Open access, people will be able to freely use Open Education Resources (OER) materials for their own purposes, be it educational or perhaps to aid them in their research which they can then improve on and share it with others. It goes in a circle. There are many who fully support open access and it’s cause, an example being the OpenCon event 2014 which was held in November.

Despite the fact that there are many advantages to open access as mentioned, there are also a fair deal of disadvantages. It seems to me that the biggest problem is that “Some journal publishers and scholarly societies argue that open access will undermine their financial health and have other negative consequences.”, (University Of Washington, 2014).

However, by restricting information available, will we be potentially stripping ourselves from better and cheaper education? Will we be limiting people from using information that could potentially lead to brand new innovations and discoveries? We never know who will be benefiting from open access as this video shows:

Just to emphasise on the benefits of Open Access, a panel at OpenCon talked about a “z degree program” which is a degree program conducted entirely on open data and OERs. Not only did they report higher retention rates of students and on average better scores of students on the degree program as compared to normal degree programs, they also saved students $100 per course (C.Abby, 2014)

A fairly new concept created in 2001 is Creative Commons. It works under a “some rights reserved” versus “all rights reserved” policy which allows authors to let others share and use their ideas and materials under their own conditions. This seems to me the future way to share ideas instead of the full restrictions of copyright laws.

Ultimately, we need to start rethinking the reason why we are sharing in the first place, is it in order to gain views, likes, money possibly? Or is it to share our knowledge and experiences in order to benefit others? It seems to me that the advantages of Open Access far exceeds the disadvantages and that information should if not completely free, at least be available to all.

Let the internet do what it does best – share.


W.David, G.Cable, S.Louis. 2012. Dramatically Bringing Down the Cost of Education with OER -How Open Education Resources Unlock the Door to Free Learning [ONLINE] Available at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED535639.pdf. [Accessed 09 December 2014].

University of Washington Libraries. 2014. Open Access FAQ — UW Libraries. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.lib.washington.edu/scholpub/facts/faq. [Accessed 09 December 2014].

OpenCon 2014 | November 15-17, 2014. 2014. OpenCon 2014 | November 15-17, 2014. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.opencon2014.org/. [Accessed 09 December 2014].

Tidewater Community College. 2014. Textbook-free degree garners national attention. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.tcc.edu/news/press/2014/zdegreecbn.htm. [Accessed 09 December 2014].

C.Abby. 2014. OpenCon: Students and Early-Career Researchers for Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data. [ONLINE] Available at: http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/OpenCon-Students-and-EarlyCareer-Researchers-for-Open-Access-Open-Education-and-Open-Data-100835.asp. [Accessed 09 December 2014].

Creative Commons. About – Creative Commons. [ONLINE] Available at: http://creativecommons.org/about. [Accessed 09 December 2014].

Columbia University. 2014. Open Access Movement: a philosophy, a dance, a practice – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=486AGRqSvGU. [Accessed 09 December 2014].


14 thoughts on “If I were to ask you….

  1. Hi Charmaine,

    Loved reading your post! And I liked how you said, “Let the internet do what it does best – share.” Indeed, we’re always sharing information online with each other. Just by your blog post, you’ve shared with me certain insights regarding the topic which I did not know!

    An example would be Creative Commons – some rights reserved vs. all rights reserved. I’ve been using images from photopin.com for my blog without realizing that it’s under the “some rights reserved” policy. Now I know!

    Agree with you on this: “This seems to me the future way to share ideas instead of the full restrictions of copyright laws.” I honestly feel that this is a good idea as it “allows authors to let others share and use their ideas and materials under their own conditions.”

    If I were to produce something, I’d love for that to happen. I wouldn’t mind others using my materials at all (it even makes me more known to the public!), provided it’s under my conditions.

    Keep up with the interesting posts, Charmaine 🙂


    • Hi Jeanne,

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post! 🙂
      I am glad I managed to spread the word about Creative Commons as I too found out about it only while doing this topic. It is a much more relaxed form of copyright but yet doesn’t put the authors in any form of disadvantage whatsoever! I really love the idea!

      I would love to see your work and materials in the future when you do work on it! *winks* 😉



  2. Hi Charmaine,

    I like that you have a strong stand on contents should be be shared on the internet. To your last paragraph, I also think that people who share contents online has different initial motives and purpose. It would be best that people’s initial motive is to share their knowledge.

    However, I do think that many will still wish to be recognised for their efforts and some hope to be well known and popular for it. This is also seen more obvious in the context of entertainment content sharing such as Youtubers who makes tutorials like the teaching of musical instrument, cooking, make up and so on.

    What do you think?


    • Hi Eve!! 🙂

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post!! I do believe that different people will have different purposes for sharing their materials online. Be it for entertainment, knowledge and skills, or for plain popularity of likes and votes, the fact that people are still sharing content makes what the internet is today. When it comes to Youtube etc., Youtubers get money for a certain number of views and likes. Thus, they will be more likely to share content in order to gain popularity and thus money. Thus, open access in this case may not be a bad thing and may even turn out to be profitable and a win-win situation for all parties.

      Hope I answered your question! 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Charmaine!

    Great post! I loved what you shared.

    I do agree with you that the internet is meant for sharing. Open access would really help make information more accessible to everyone with no restrictions. This allows MAXIMUM sharing which I strongly believe in too!

    I also agree with your point that restricting information will limit other researchers from discoveries, and I liked how you phrased it as “potentially stripping ourselves from better and cheaper education”. Research will only be fully utilized when it has been shared around as much as possible. Not having open access to research would be like hiding a shiny gem in a black box and leaving it in a corner in a dusty closet. Do you have any opinions on how a content producer might deal with misrepresentation of content? With open access, do you think there is anything that researchers can do to prevent misuse of their work?


    • Hey Yvonne!! 🙂

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post!! 🙂
      As mentioned in my post, I think that Creative Commons is a good way to to help researches prevent the misuse of the work while still allowing users to continue using materials freely. 🙂 Authors can specifically choose the specific conditions they wish to apply on their materials. I think that this is the future way ahead instead of using copyright which is a lot more restrictive.

      Hope this answers your question! 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi again Charmaine!
    Creative Commons is definitely a good way to encourage writers to post content without any limitations. In order to achieve the vision of universal access, someone needs to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws.

    After reading the link you’ve provided on “z degree program” (or zero textbook cost) i’m surprised that it actually eases the pain of the rising textbook costs for college students by one-third – thats’s a huge sum! Our classmate Ebrahim found another content producer called Coursea that allows free access to all their courses and content with the same objectives! Here’s the link you can check it out : https://www.coursera.org

    Come to think think of it, probably on our part we need to do something to motivate content producers, for example sharing their work online through social media like twitter and Facebook instead on just putting their work on our references page to help them gain readers and maybe sponsors.

    What do you think? How will you do your part in making open access work in your own little way?

    Would love to hear from you! Interesting post as always (;


    • Hi Sherdale!

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the Coursea site! Will definitely put it to good use if I wish to find any educational materials for school and future reports. I feel that merely putting references may not be helping content producers gain as much recognition as they deserve as it is a basic requirement. Like you suggested, sharing their work online like twitter, facebook or LinkedIn and following them on social media would be a great way to start. Gaining popularity often motivates authors to continue their good work as it shows them that there are people out there who appreciate and look forward to their work and believe that they have done a good job. Other than that, helping to spread the works of these authors to friends, colleagues and family can also help content producers gain the recognition that they truly deserve.

      Hope this answers your question! Thank you for the kind commments! 🙂



  5. Hello Charmaine. Very interesting post you got there! I enjoyed reading your thoughts about some of the advantages and disvantages associated with Open Access.

    I like how you brought up an interesting case study of Creative Commons’s “some rights reserved” model. Perhaps that could be a solution to content producers who may not be comfortable with letting their content be fully remixed or revised, but partially according to their own terms.

    I also like how you also reminded us that we have to rethink the way we are sharing in the first place. Perhaps knowing our main motivations behind why we are sharing contents will allow us to navigate Open Access better, should we take on the shoes of producing content ourselves.

    It seems that consumers stand to gain a lot from the free content that Open Access brings. How do you think content producers will benefit though?


    • Hi Simon! 🙂

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post! I definitely feel that consumers stand the most to gain when it comes to open access. Content producers should also fret not as they have much to gain. Even though it will not be the case in the short run ( as in the case of basically no profits in exchange for their hard work put into their materials initially ), but the recognition and future sponsorships and endorsements that they may stand to gain in the long run far outweighs the initial disadvantages. I feel that sharing free content is in a way like karma. If you share good content, you will get good rewards in the end as well! Good content may even be improved on and further distributed which can lead to even more recognition to the initial content producer. Thus, sharing or open access in that sense to me, seems to be a win-win situation for all! 🙂

      Hope this answers your question! 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s