As a student, being able to access materials is crucial to my studies when it comes to doing assignments and gathering further sources of information to aid in my understanding of various topics.
Why allow free access?
Free resources reaches out to a wider range of viewers and readers with faster and broader dissemination of information. Reaching out to individuals or organizations to re-use or spur better ideas does play an important factor in educating and inspiring them.
The author of an article can increase publicity and reputation along the way as we cite and quote from their work, by reference links from the users of the sources. Research findings have also shown that open accessed articles are cited more than non-open accessed ones. Gunther Eysenbach, (2006)
Content development is another benefit for sharing, whereby better using the available resources can lower costs of development. Besides that, the increase in popularity can bring more viewers in future.
Financial benefits – Generating profits
As traffic to your site increases, advertisers will approach you to post various advertisements on your site. A perfect example of such, is Google, where 96% of its revenue comes from advertising.
Challenges you might face
Copyright issues are seen as a major issue as anyone can lift off the sources and plagiarize without citations. In order to protect the rights of the author, various types of licenses are introduced.
Source: Taylor & Francis Online
In the short-run, authors incur losses due to patents, however, shall popularity increase over time, profits will be generated in the long-run.
Given that the initial cost of investment could be high due to the amount of archives, there are risks to be borne.
Quality assurance may also be a considerable issue in terms of relevance, reputation of the author, and quality of the sources. It could be difficult for new authors as reputation comes from recognition of readers through reviews and citations.
The last challenge contributing to the risks, is the sustainability over time. Funds to keep up with increasing number of articles can be worrying as well, as there are many other competitors/alternatives for users to choose from.
By allowing comments and reviews to be written on the websites by users who have previously cited, can be a way to begin building reputation. Another way would be revealing the total number of downloads of the resources.
Securing funds from sponsors can be done upon achieving a level of reputation, and value added services could be offered at different prices.
Providing free resources can be a profitable business if weaknesses and threats can be overcome. Do you agree? What do you think?
Ahrash N. Bissell, (2009) Permission granted: open licensing for educational resources
Greg McFarlane, (2012) How Does Google Make Its Money?
Gunther Eysenbach, (2006) Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles
J. M. N. Hey; S. Hitchcock; L. Carr; S. Harris; W. Hall, (1997) Citation Linking: Improving Access To Online Journals pp.115-122
Jan Hylen, (2006) Open Educational Resources: Opportunities and Challenges
A guide on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Satarak