Topic 5 bought to light a wide host of opinions and discussion surrounding the open access of online content, with particular regard to academia and scientific research. Should producers of highly sought over content post their work freely on the web? What are the true demographics that are being reached and what do online consumers want to see?
I’ve found that the majority of the UOSM2008 cohort constantly comes face to face with restricted journal access when trying to cite relevant work in our university assignments. Leigh explained how open access is essential for cross-disciplinary research; and Ben discussed how the idea would dramatically increase citations, unique visitors and accelerate the information distribution process. On the matter of content distribution, 100% of people that answered my poll believe that it would be UNETHICAL to withhold material of high academic value.
Moreover, Irinie was very much pro the concept, stating that it would not only benefit students, but also the UK economy. Studies have shown that over £1,000,000 can be saved with each 5% increase of openly accessible online material.
To contrast, it was insightful to read about Tamara’s opinion. After questioning her on why she believed the results of scientific discoveries should be monetised, she explained how the development of a new prescription drug may cost upwards of £2.5billion… Shocking. Restricted access is thus a sure-fire method of earning some of the funds.
I have made it clear that I am very much FOR open access. After reading through everyone’s thoughts on the topic, in an ideal world a middle ground would be formed – a medium in which content producers and consumers would be pleased with. Perhaps open access of academic material should be funded by the UK tax payer, as proposed by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.
A key theme that I’ve discussed throughout my blog posts has been the ease of accessibility and communication that the internet provides. The reality of the open access of material published online, however, does come with many pros and cons and undeniably causes a stir of debate. As a student, I rely heavily on accessing reliable papers online for my own work, and nothing is more frustrating than to discover that the one journal I desperately need to read is completely inaccessible due to its hefty price tag. This situation is made even more discouraging upon learning that, in 2013, a market survey predicted that 90% of all online content would be retained behind paywalls by 2016 (Lepitak, 2013). Tick tock…
Bjork (2004) explains how unrestricted access to academic journals allows the reader to freely view a respectable publication, of which may be an invaluable tool in understanding and developing any findings. Realistically, ground-breaking scientific knowledge can only be deemed significant if it is freely accessible. I believe that once it becomes a commodity, the knowledge becomes downgraded – the findings are no longer universal. To put this notion into a hypothetical context, would it be ethical if the researcher who cracks the cure for cancer were to put a price on these tremendously valuable discoveries? Click HERE to answer!
The points that I have bought to light so far are all from the perspective of the ‘viewer’. As an academic content producer, these are some advantages and disadvantages that arise from publishing material freely:
- Discoveries can be able to be viewed by everyone. Including people that are from developing countries and thus may not have an easy route into joining the academic community.
- An increased audience. In turn, this will increase the number of citations that you will receive, which is essential in standing out amongst the vast quantity of papers being published every month.
- Technology is used more meaningfully – the internet does not revolve around Facebook! (Storer, 2015)
(Source – Australian Open Access Support Group)
- Sustainability on a global level. Research funding can either come from government-funded entities or the taxpayer, depending on the host country.
- There is always the risk of work being misconstrued or plagiarised completely.
Perhaps I have listed more advantages because I’m slightly biased and think that academia should be free for all. Retrospectively, however, we need a happy medium: open access, profiting the viewer yet still finding a way to reward the author/researcher.
Bjork, B. C., 2004. Open access to scientific publications – an analysis of the barriers to change? Information Research. Volume. 9. No.2. Finland [online] Available at: <https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10227/647/bjork.pdf?sequence=1> [Accessed 1st May 2015]
Leptikah, S. (2012) 90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests [online] Available at: <http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/12/90-online-content-be-held-behind-paywalls-three-years-media-company-survey-suggests> [Accessed: 1st May 2015]
Storer, R., 2015. Advantages and disadvantages of open access in libraries. SirsiDynix.com [blog] 1st April. Available at: http://www.sirsidynix.com/news/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-open-access-in-libraries [Accessed 1st May 2015]
Topic 4 definitely showed the most varied collection of posts to date. From the ethics behind celebrity endorsements to the relentlessness of social media, this topic proved to be tightly packed with a wealth of different concepts. Social media offers some incredibly powerful tools – we know this after completing all of the previous topics. But how far are we willing to conform to the unrestricted capabilities of the web?
Once upon a time, social media was used to be used purely for personal reasons, such as sharing photos on Facebook. However, people have since realised that social media could also be a great tool in enhancing a professional image, and thus may help you to get a job. Subsequently, employers have cottoned onto this idea, and it is not unknown that can they freely look at your social media platforms to see what you are like outside of the office. Peer learning in this topic has provided me with instances which show that people still continue to post thoughtless comments that seriously affect their work life.
Personally, I don’t believe it is ethical that your professional life could be hindered from saying something within your own personal space, whether it is online or offline, unless it concerns a matter that negatively affects an employer. Realistically, it seems that the moral of the story is to think before you post. It takes but seconds to reread a tweet and decide if it is appropriate to post!
To conclude, Sarah’s analogy of Twitter being a ‘megaphone to those who enjoy shouting’ was sterling in explaining the current state of the platform. Morally, we should be allowed to express free speech on social media platforms, but if you want to maintain a professional profile, there are boundaries that should be followed.
We all know and love social media. It gives us a chance to network, share opinions & passions and follow those we admire. However, as seen on any corner of the web, there will always be a darker and more unethical side within the wider picture.
Ethics (n) of or relating to moral principles.
From this definition taken from the OED, we can see that the term ‘ethics’ is quite simply synonymous with morality in your behaviours (OED, 2014) and, in a sense, the ability to be virtuous. This fortnight, we are discussing ethical issues that derive from the professional use of social media, and I have chosen to focus on two examples stemming from the notion of VISIBILITY on Twitter and online forums – both of which are platforms beaming with opportunity.
1. Hiding behind a mask The flexibility of social media allows us to reside anonymously on the platform, a trick that professionals have previously misemployed (Vinjamuri, 2011). This notion is immediately interconnected with the harmfulness of cyber-bullying. However, it is easy to forget that cyber-bullying is not something that only occurs amongst school kids… The CEO of the major health food chain, Whole Foods, set up a pseudonymous profile on a Yahoo financial forum, with the sole use of slating his competitors, Wild Oats (NBC News, 2007). This case study strikes up tremendous ethical concerns, as it is not viable to monitor every single profile on every single networking site. Therefore, although this resulted in huge lawsuits, it is still a problem that may be trickling down deep into other hideaways of the web – thus, causing a continuous cycle of rivalry-driven business jeopardy from selfishly abusing the ability to hide behind anonymous profiles.
2. Careless venting Social media is a main stage for expressing personal opinions. Many use Twitter to engage with others on topics of interest, particularly since the birth of the ‘hashtag’. However, it is not usual for those in the public eye to noticeably abuse this freedom of speech… Katie Hopkins is renowned for being overly opinionated on Twitter, spreading derogatory sentiments like wildfire. Quite like the Justine Sacco case – except more frequent and uncontrollably offensive. Personally, I see this as an unethical abuse of a feature that all social media platforms offer: freedom of expression.
Both anonymity and freedom of speech are components that we should treat with respect. So why are they being so unethically exploited on the web?
NBC News, 2007. Whole Foods CEO’s anonymous online life, NBC News. [online] 12 August. Available at: <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/19718742/ns/business-us_business/t/whole-foods-ceos-anonymous-online-life/#.VQ7op0tU_wI> [Accessed 21st March 2015]
OED, 2014. Ethics. [online] Available at: <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/64755?redirectedFrom=ethics> [Accessed 22nd March 2015]
Thistlethwaite, F., 2014. Katie Hopkins offends Islamic communities with ‘grumpy’ Ramadam tweet, The Express. [online] 30 June [Accessed 21st March 2015] – click embedded Tweet image to link!
Vinjamuri, D., 2011. Ethics and the Five Deadly Sins of Social Media, Forbes. [online] 3 November. Available at: <http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2011/11/03/ethics-and-the-5-deadly-sins-of-social-media/> [Accessed 19th March 2015]
social media n. web sites and applications which enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
The definition of social media, above, is one declared by the Oxford English Dictionary. Nowhere in that definition does it mention the need to use it for professional development, although I can completely relate with the reasoning for doing so. We have manipulated the definition to be beneficial to all those seeking to appear professional, showing astounding flexibility in social media as a tool. Might the paper CV be a dying tradition?
This fortnight’s topic is one that has made consider the ways in which I use the web – more so than the previous few. Upon peer learning through my fellow coursemates blog posts, it was made evident that utilising social media to enhance a professional profile was utmost importance to everyone. Perhaps this is because of our demographics – perpetually desperate students looking to be employed as soon as possible, as mentioned in Olivia’s clear-cutting title.
The guidelines recommended by the cohort are so useful. I particularly liked Aliyu’s idea of having a unique selling point to your personal brand and Irinie’s embedded video contained great LinkedIn tips. Across the group, it appears that the overarching ‘rule’ is to remain consistent, which is most easily achieved by using one profile photo and creating an organised visualisation.
In response to my initial post, Andy thought that the Adam Pacitti stunt could be seen as desperate. However, if I were to completely convert every platform to emulate my professional persona, could that not be interpreted as desperate too? Whilst I am keen to look as employable as possible, I’d being fooling no one into thinking I spend every available moment in enhancing my professional, digital presence. Balance is key!
As we delve deeper into the 21st century, we have to find a balance between recreational and professional usage of social media platforms, as our online presence is becoming a more and more intrinsic part in the job hunting and recruitment process. Huang et al. (2015) stated that creating an organised visualisation of our person is an indispensible method in making positive advancements to our lives. Thus, the web is key in offering tremendous professional potential if we understand how to use it to our advantage.
First and foremost, I’ve found that linking together every social media platform that you use is critical in developing a sense of authenticity and accountability. For instance, from this blog you can easily access my LinkedIn via a button and view my Twitter feed through my widget. Moreover, I also tend to use the same display picture across all my networks, so that I am easily identifiable (although, having an unique name helps too!)
Being half way through my UOSM2008 journey, I have decided that keeping a blog is invaluable in expressing personal opinions and, therefore, exhibiting your enthusiasm in a dedicated field of expertise (TheEmployable, 2014). Blogging also showcases your writing style, a skill that many employers review you by, according to Jobvite (2014). Overall, however, it is your aim to be the stand out candidate. Look at Adam Pacitti for example: he went outside the box to land himself his ideal job. How about starting a video blog (vlog) or creating a digital portfolio on Pathbrite? There is an abundance of ways to parade your talents on the web, whilst still maintaining highly professional standards.
Although the goal is to be as authentic as possible, it is also important to sift through the things that you would not like your potential employers to see… Moving towards a professional online presence would not work entirely in your favour if every photo after a night out were easily accessible, would it? Further statistics provided by Jobvite showed that, in 2014, employers were said to have increased their social networking recruitment methods by 73% – so it is fundamental to build your digital profiles as professionally as possible. As I mentioned earlier, you have to ensure that your personal life isn’t getting entangled in the professional spider’s web that you worked so hard to spin together.
Huang, D., Tory, M., Adriel Aseniero, B., Bartram, L., Bateman, S., Carpendale, S., Tang, A. & Woodbury, R., 2015. Personal visualization and personal visual analytics, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 21(3), p.420-433.
Jobvite, 2014. 2014 Social Recruiting Survey. [online] Available at: <https://www.jobvite.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Jobvite_SocialRecruiting_Survey2014.pdf> [Accessed: 6th March 2015]
TheEmployable, 2014. How blogging can help you get a job. [online] Available at: <http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/> [Accessed: 6th March 2015]