Free Essay

Open Access Movement

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mayo12
Words 866
Pages 4
Mayuri Agarwal
Response Essay: “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” Aaron Swartz
Word Count: 820

A few days ago, Pizza hut had an unlimited pizza offer for a day where you would get free pizzas after paying for one. We went there and ordered pizzas. We observed that the pizzas, which were coming for free, were not of the usual quality. They had very less toppings and were not good properly. That is when people started saying that anything, which Pizza Hut offers for free, is not of a good quality. I find that to be applicable on myself.

What if Pizza hut becomes the Internet? Aaron Swartz’s article “Guerilla Open Access
Manifesto”, states that information of any kind should be public and free of cost. Aaron stated in his article that all information must be shared and it is the responsibility of the people who have access to these resources to share it with the others and make it public and “free”. What about the quality of this information? Will everyone like to each such a pizza?

My arguments further will explain why most people would not want to eat such a pizza.
In response to what Aaron has stated, two things come to my mind. First, is sharing information with respect to the Open Access movement actually free? Second, how does one differentiate between the authenticity of the article and decide which one is spam and which is not?

While the Open Access promoters constantly emphasize on the fact that information

will be free for public use, they do not talk about who has to pay for these. Jeffrey Beall in his acrticle explaining the truths about the open access movement argues that, “the price barriers have been removed from the consumer’s side but instead they have been shifted to the author’s side (Beall 2015)”. “There is a choice of whether the author wants to publish their article free in a traditional manner, where it is available to subscribers only, or to pay a fee (currently $3000) to make the article available on an
Open Access basis (Worlock 2015)”. Thus, while Aaron suggests that “we need to take this information wherever it is stored and share it with the world (Swartz 2008)”, we also need to consider the price we would have to pay for this.

The promoters of the Open Access Movement aim to make more and more information available to as many people, but one thing to keep in mind is that more information does not necessarily mean quality information. “Hundreds of people with no experience in scholarly publishing have created new publishing operations, all with the tacit approval of the open-access movement”.
(Beall 2015)

While at college, we were given a number of assignments in political science. While making them, I constantly stumbled upon spam articles and websites giving misleading information. On the other hand, I also read articles on Jstor and subscribed to some of the articles. It was clear that the articles on Jstor had been well researched and authentic as compared to those on the other sites.

We see that if we apply the open access movement to the field of medicine or music, we might

see a different scenario. Even though there are CDs of songs available at the music stores, we still get songs of the same quality for free over the internet. On the other hand, if medicine has open access, drug dealers can misuse it. Thus we see that open access clearly has different connotations when applied to other places, but when applied to internet, it clearly indicates that the quality of the information would deteriorate.

A very good example of free information along with being reliable is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The makers of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a similar concern, “A fundamental problem faced by the general public and the members of an academic discipline in the information age is how to find the most authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date information about an important topic. “Its creators have solved one of the internet’s fundamental problems: How to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers.”
(Sonnad 2015)

We thus need to keep in mind that it is not a black and white situation where we are either opposing privatization of knowledge or opposing open-access movement, we need to see how reliable and authentic information can be published by the authors as well as accessed by the readers by spending nothing or as little as possible. We need to ensure that the open-access movement does not hamper the quality of the information published and along with this also lets the authors publish their articles without a huge price.


Aaron. "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto." 2008.
Beall, Jeffrey. June 2015. access-movementdoesn't-want-you-know#,Vf2gIs7FGu4 (accessed October 19,2015)
Worlock, Kate. "Nature Publishing Group." September 2015. (accessed October 19 2015).
Sonnad, Nikhil. "Quartz." September 21, 2015. (accessed October 19, 2015).

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