Cost of Information — Open Access

Open Access

In this blog, I will first explain what open access is, then state my opinion on the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto.

“Open access refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access and free of many restrictions on use.” It usually includes both peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses, book chapters and monographs. It has two different versions — gratis and libre. While gratis open access is free online access , libre open access refers to the free online access with various additional usage rights.

The formal beginnings of the open access movement are several declarations issued in the early 2000s: the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (2003), and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities(2003).

Authors can provide open access to their work though a variety of ways. They can either publish it and self-archive it in a repository where it can be accessed for free, which is called ‘green’ open access. Or they can publish their work in such a way that makes their research output immediately available from the publisher, which is known as ‘gold’ open access.

Open Access matters a lot to the society because it provides useful information for those who cannot afford to pay for the information. Anyone has access to Internet can use those information. Scholars, students, and the general public all benefit from open access.

However, in Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, what was expressed as an idea seems totally not acceptable to me. The authors and companies have their rights to reserve the copy rights, since they write it, they have the right to sell it for a price. And that is exactly why what they are doing is legal, I do not agree that those laws which protect the copyright are “unjust laws”. Furthermore, we cannot just simply copy those documents which are copyright protected and upload to the general public. This action is obvious stealing.

On the other hand, I do agree that some companies are charging their documents for way too much. Although what they are doing is legal now, one day in the future the court should probably make a law to set a price ceiling for the access to information. This sounds much more acceptable and reasonable then sharing every documents we can find online to our friends and other people.