Should Academic Articles Be Free Online? [MakeUseOf Poll]

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Last week we asked you what you think of Facebook’s new Graph Search. Unfortunately for Facebook, not many people seem to like it. On the other hand, many users haven’t even tried it yet, so there is some hope.

Out of 116 votes in total, the breakdown was as follows: only 5% said they love Facebook’s Search Graph, 15% think it’s pretty cool, another 15% don’t see anything too special about it, 22% just flat out don’t like it, and a full 43% haven’t enabled or tried it yet. This large number might be due to the fact that Search Graph is not yet available for all accounts, and even when it is, it is optional.

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s best comment by Ashwin Ramesh, who won 150 reward points for his helpful contribution!

This week’s poll question is: Should Academic Articles Be Free Online?

Want to make some extra MakeUseOf reward points? The most useful comment on the poll will be awarded 150 points!

Almost a month ago, a notable tech figure took his own life following a federal arrest. Aaron Swartz was behind things we’ve all heard of like RSS and Reddit, and believed academic journal articles should be free for all. He downloaded thousands of articles using his university log in, and was arrested and charged for it. Now that the dust on this case has settled somewhat, it’s time to take a look at this question again: should government-funded research articles be free for all online? Or does it make sense for them to be paid? While some of you probably never had any use for articles, this is an important question that may affect more than academia. Where do you stand in this matter?

The poll only has three options, but you’re more than welcome to share your opinions on this subject in the comments. Why did you vote like you did?

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Comments (67)
  • Natalie

    ‘Open Knowledge’ is the way forward. The most effective way is for all journal articles to be made available using a method similar to wikipedia, via donations to help run the site, so that each can contribute according to their means. This need not be one site, but many following the same model, this doesn’t matter. And there is absolutely no need for governments to either fund or in any way restrict knowledge on these sites. Knowledge should not belong to governments. It is not especially more expensive or difficult to do this than setting up any other kind of website. Making knowledge free for all makes sense both ethically, and socially, as it may lead to greater innovation.

  • Debkumar Bhadra

    I vote for freeing academic articles because that way we can help spread knowledge to every strata of the society and ultimately help education in real sense.

  • Some Psychologist

    As a student there is a lot of readily available resources to browse, download as PDF and use to supplement my own endevours. However this is provided by my educational establishment and one is still required to ‘log in’ in order to have access.
    Although this one log in provides access to multiple databases, the thought still comes to mind: what is stopping all research being stored on one international database?
    Obviously with the excursion of secure government projects, this would provide a superior platform for everyone involved – more so if the database was interwoven with a social network or forum.
    From this users could review the research as it was published, the researchers get noticed and everyone can search for their relevant topic in order to receive all the research.
    In answer to the poll, yes, understandably printed journals must make a revenue. But with a format such as this i personally feel this needs to be a future step. After all, you can’t exactly say a social network has never overturned a profound revenue ;)

  • kuldeep

    Research is expensive and beneficial for the whole mankind. Therefore cost should be given by society in the form of taxes.

  • Richard Otoo

    knowledge loses relevance when there is no money involved in it’s acquisition however i strongly believe that it should be made readily available to desirous persons with little or no money

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.