Final Reflections on UOSM2008


Wow, it has really come to the end! Check out my self-test2 (1) to see the improvements I feel I have made over the course of the module.

One of the things I think I will definitely take away from this active module is the importance of online communities. If you don’t participate in your chosen interest than how can you expect your network and personal development to grow? This module has definitely taught me how how engaging with others on their blog posts means they’ll return the favour and you build a common ground.Although followers can be important, they’ll only be loyal if you keep up the engagement and mutual interest.


One of the most exciting things about this module was the building of professional profiles as we saw in Topic 3. This was definitely fruitful as I realized how important being young and using my digital age to be able to create a digital footprint and be noticed by employers. This then lead to being sent the following message you see on the right !

It goes to show just how vital your online presence is and to what extent it can propel you professionally. Having followed all the tips from Topic 4 – Social Media Ethics, I was able to “botox” my LinkedIn and lure in a recruiter!

I definitely believe that this module has really enhanced my creativity, professionalism and awareness of online issues and debates. Following from this module, I will:

  1. Keep my LinkedIn growing by connecting with students and employers.
  2. Try to amass more Twitter followers by engaging more in topical interests.
  3. Keep blogging because I 100% enjoyed it!
  4. Jump on the Instagram bandwagon. I love cooking, food, desserts and all things yummy so I thought that this would be a good place to share and  get tips from fellow food lovers!

Special thanks to everyone that contributed to my blog and helped spark discussions on those 5 diverse topics and to Lisa, Nick and Sarah for the constructive feedback. I have definitely learned so much about myself, my capabilities and living and working on the web!




Reflecting on Topic 5

Here is a PowToon of my reflection on this topic:

My comment on Kemi’s blog looked at the future of libraries. Perhaps their role will decrease in society and will change to them offering advice on journals. This therefore won’t make them extinct but instead will improve their profile by working together to provide OA content. I think there will always be a need for libraries and OA might actually evolve easier within them.

Peter Coles (2012) highlights how open access is crucial in maintaining confidence in science. As he states, “to seek to prevent your data becoming freely available is plain unscientific” and, one might add, immoral, as Mike Taylor (2013) explains here from hindsight. My 2nd comment looks at just that – free music doesn’t necessarily mean no value. How will the music industry change? Whilst artists releasing free music (like Miley Cyrus did with her album Dead Petz) gives them great exposure and builds their relationship with fans, is this a sustainable form of artistry? Perhaps only established, well-marketed and successful artists can afford to do so, as those starting out might need some sort of income to be able to make a profit from their material before offering it all for free. This echoes the idea of OA in the educational sense, with publishers looking to be well established when publishing material to paying sights.


While scrolling through other people’s comments, I came across a Computer Scientist’s approach to the the subject. This Past student talked about how developers that  choose open source software but subsequently choose the wrong security package, can potentially have devastating consequences on their material, something that I hadn’t really thought about. I guess this could be linked with the entertainment’s industry’s problem of piracy.

I would be interested to know how many actual journals go down the route of YouTube and Spotify of providing free access supported by advertising and paid-for-advertisement free subscription models. I think this could really help LEDC’s contribute to cutting-edge research and enrich their knowledge and fuel insightful contributions.

If we take Spotify’s royalties model, it seems that OA has a definite future in benefiting artists and consumers:


To me, it seems that the pros of OA outweigh the cons.

The Pros and Cons of Open Access

If we look at today’s society we can learn almost everything from courses at the Open University to free apps and websites on smartphones. But does OA foster a more open scholarly communication system or is it simply a less reliable and reputable source of journals?OA+Benefits+2014 (1)

Check out my mindmap on the pros and cons of Open Access. The left-hand side is for arguments against, and on the right are arguments for 🙂 (I’m new to mindmapping online so if someone knows a better website, feel free to tweet it)

I also made a haiku deck on OA and some of its biggest factors affecting us.

The problem of accessing material was recently highlighted by Dr. Gary Ward in a press conference for the Federal Research Public Access Act. He argued that with increasing, cutting-edge research, it’s important that both students and teachers have easy online access so that teaching and learning material isn’t outdated before even finishing a course:

In my role as educator, I often find myself teaching my graduate and medical students what I have access to rather than what they most need to know. Just as one example, in a recent lecture I was preparing for our medical students… I was only able to access about two thirds of the articles that I needed in order to make sure that I was providing these budding young doctors with everything they needed to know about the subject. I can tell you that’s extremely frustrating to me as an educator and it’s clearly not in the best interests of my students. This problem isn’t unique to the University of Vermont. Every academic institution faces this problem – from the best-funded private institutions down to the small liberal arts colleges and community colleges. It’s just a question of degree.

– Dr. Gary Ward, Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, and Co-Director, Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Vermont.

If it weren’t for Southampton paying journal subscriptions for me to gain access to, I would really struggle to write essays and have good, reputable, academic content in my work. I support OA because everyone can read the latest research. This isn’t only limited to students though:

• A patient looking for information on a treatment his or her doctor has ordered or on a trial of a drug that could treat a disease
• A small business startup researching the latest related technological developments
• Any one of us interested in understanding climate change (which had a lot of hits since Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar win speech).

For me, Open Access promotes sharing knowledge for the public good. It has a ginormous inventory of reliable, scholarly sources in a library of reliable sources due to peer reviews. However, this Guardian article argues that quantity vs quality is becoming an issue in OA:

Academic research is not something to which free access is possible. Academic research is a process – a process which universities teach (at a fee).

For those who wish to have access, there is an admission cost: they must invest in the education prerequisite to enable them to understand the language used.

I found the video above to be helpful in explaining how OA works and what the goals behind it are. However, as pointed out in my haiku, charging users is not the only way to make money: you can make even more money from advertising than by simply charging users a fee. Free content = more people will view it = even larger ads fee. A YouGov survey suggested that more than half of users don’t know that ads subsidize free content ! Some no-fee OA journals have direct or indirect subsidies from institutions like universities, laboratories, research centers, libraries, hospitals, museums, foundations, or government agencies. This also extends to “auxiliary services, membership dues, endowments, reprints, or a print or premium edition” as stated by Peter Suber. Some even rely on volunteerism or a combination of these means to make profit showing that not only one demographic in today’s society benefits from OA material.