As we move forward with either our thesis or research papers, any literature reviews will have to include multiple articles over a cross-section of academic journals. This would be a very expensive task without the support of the library’s student services.
What if, however, we could access these articles in an open forum? What if academics could choose to provide free access to other scholars in an effort to increase readership and their public profile? Academia.edu is one of the more notable open access, free forums where scholars can share their academic work. Wecker (2014) writes an article addressing this very forum and raises the question of copyright infringement versus open access. He compares the issue of sharing articles on this site (when they have been peer reviewed and published by journals such as Elsevier) to the issue of entertainers having their work posted on YouTube.
Where do we draw the line? One scholar (Jenny Bledsoe) finds that many publishers will allow scholars to post PDFs of their work, so long as the author includes a link and credit to the original journal (Wecker, 2014). However, this only works if the journal supports open access.
In my mind, it is time to make education and research open to anyone wishing to access it. With millions of people accessing Academia.edu and the millions of papers posted to the site, it is almost impossible to put a stop to the sharing. Digital accessibility is on the rise around the world; therefore, it is time that academics and peer reviewed journals find a comfortable and cooperative means of protecting copyrights and preserving integrity in publications, while also openly sharing knowledge with the masses.
Wecker, M. (2014). Should you share your research on Academia.edu? Vitae. Retrieved from https://chroniclevitae.com/news/345-should-you-share-your-research-on-academia-edu