As visitors or residents (White & Le Cornu, 2011), every day, we are faced with an immense open space of information through internet access. There are numerous opportunities to access resources to learn about something of interest. The challenge is to select trustworthy content from the available options. Of course, each one interests depend on many (structural) variables that may condition access to quality information. This reflection stays for another ride…

Topic 2 has prompted me to reflect on various aspects related to the resources available in open access. Here they are:

1) I often use OER to improve my learning about different interests I have in life, be it personal or professional. My favourite platform to do some MOOCs is Coursera. I believe it is trustworthy. I’m currently attending two courses. One about Research Methods, and the other about Data Analytics. All the content to learn about the topic is available to anyone, but to get a certificate, we must pay. Thus, the knowledge is openly available, but the proof of the knowledge acquired is not. I understand. But do the fees for obtaining a certificate go to the course creators or to Coursera? Are the authors of the courses being compensated for their work?

2) As an academic lecturing research methods with the support of a given software, I’ve been struggling for years with the idea of creating YouTube videos to explain data analysis using that software (there are already a lot in English, just a few in PT). Never advanced with that idea because of (time constraints, for sure) fear of creating a public resource and having someone steal my work. Now, I know (just) a little more about copyright, but I am still not sure about how to secure my work. Thus, for now, my option is not to make it.

3) As researchers we have like a demand of our job to publish our research in academic journals (publish or perish). Ok. That way, we share with the wider community the knowledge we acquire with our work and contribute to the wider knowledge on the field. But, even keeping the authorship of our paper, we give away copyright to publishers. If it is a real open access journal, we don’t pay APC and can share the article right away. The article is free to anyone. But, if it is a so-called ‘open access journal’ that charges APC, researchers have done the work, but to get the article available to share right away, they must pay a big amount of money (that not every researcher has available)… Then there is the option of not paying APC and having the article closed for sharing for at least 18 months… The article is available to download for anyone who is willing to pay for it. However, researchers do not get any of that amount. Well, maybe I can understand that publishers must earn money and pay their employees, but it is (maybe again) an easy way to get money with others’ work. Notice that usually, the journal editors are academics, not being paid to be editors (as far as I know); reviewers of the papers are not paid either (some get discounts to buy publishers’ publications; others get a sort of credit that can be discounted in APC). So, that leaves the administrators and employees who do the editing to get paid. And, of course, if they work, they shall be paid. But it seems to me it is a big industry and an easy way of making money. Maybe (also) I don’t know enough about the issue. The only thing I know is that, as researchers, we’re stuck in this trap.


White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

In the Open wide space…