Topic 5 – The Final Reflection!


The Breadth of topic 5 has provided no end of material to discuss. Whilst I chose to focus my research on paywalls in the magazine industry, A quick scroll through the module home page shows the broad range of subjects one could have chosen to undertake for the final topic of the module.


Given the choices associated with this topic, I was able to find one that interested me greatly and since publishing my main post, I have been able to research the subject further. Indeed, public funded magazines are an example of how open access can work in practice. By relying on public funds, publication fees and institutional members, this strain of magazine cuts out subscription and licensing costs – an interesting development to my original post.

I chose to comment on Zac’s post as I found it to be relatable to my own. Zac raised some good points, but we had different opinions on why paywalls are set up. Whilst he felt it was competition based, I felt it was more an issue of quality and further research has shown this, with most high reputation outlets charging subscription fees, despite there being similar free material elsewhere (Yachts & Yachting and Scuttlebutt News is the best example I found).

Joe’s blog was very intriguing – It seemed strange to me that a producer would want their material pirated as this would nullify profit. Whilst I pointed this out in my comment, on reflection I do feel he makes a good point in that at the very least, their material would be seen by far more consumers, helping to make a name for themselves.

Technical issues meant I was unable to interact much with my fellow bloggers, which was a shame in the most engaging topic yet. However, small consolation was had in that this week was the first time my post attracted attention from outside the module.

Word Count: 308


“Open Access Magazines: University Library – University Of Bamberg”, Uni-Bamberg.De, 2016 <; [accessed 18 December 2016]

“Scuttlebutt Sailing News”, Scuttlebutt Sailing News, 2016 <; [accessed 18 December 2016]

“Yachts And Yachting Online – Sailing News As It Happens”, Yachtsandyachting.Com, 2016 <; [accessed 18 December 2016]

Media References:

“What Does The New Tri-Agency Open Access Policy Mean For Researchers? | University Affairs”, University Affairs, 2016 <; [accessed 18 December 2016].

“Amazingly Simple Graphic Design Software – Canva”, Canva.Com, 2016 <; [accessed 18 December 2016].


Zac’s BlogScreen Shot 2016-12-15 at 18.53.36.png

Joe’s BlogScreen Shot 2016-12-15 at 18.55.37.png


Read all About it! – Open Access in The Magazine Industry


For better or worse, our world is slowly being engulfed by the digital age and almost all written mediums are now making their way online. This has led to the advent of the ‘open access’ movement – essentially, making all scholarly material on the internet available to all. Peter Suber has described Open access as follows;

‘Digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions’

However, open access has relevance that stretches far beyond the world of academia. As an avid reader of several magazines, this blog post will explore the repercussions that open access has as far as the casual reader is concerned. The short presentation below sheds some light on some of the consequences that more open access material has had on the aforementioned industry.

As the presentation suggests, there are a multitude of factors to consider when assessing whether or not paywalls and open access have had a positive or negative effect or the magazine industry as a whole. However, some facts are known for sure;

  • As the magazine industry has expanded online, competition has increased
  • This increased competition is widely regarded to have had improved the quality of literature that is outputted

Open access has given rise to a new form of online reporting that has become the traditional magazines main rival and competitor – that which is free to use and circulate. This is in direct contrast with esteemed publications and new outlets such as offer short, easy to read articles free of cost. However this has its trade offs, adverts are far more common and the standard of journalism is generally inferior to that of its main rival.

Another undeniable truth is that ideas can be spread with far more ease and speed through open access. As explains, ‘This triggers new research studies; it acts as an impetus for knowledge.’ This could potentially mean that the increased competition that the magazine industry has faced has forced to ‘raise its game’, becoming more competitive in both content and pricing. Indeed, many outlets have lowered prices, with subscriptions now cheaper than single copies, as the industry attempts to build a consumer base and keep it. The below example from National geographic embodies this well.


Interestingly, magazines as an industry have declined gradually over the last few years as the market transfers to web. This is set to change though, as the graph below shows.


As can be seen clearly above, one of the ways that the business is returning to health is through the sale of online subscriptions. It seems then, that whilst Open access has it flaws, it may have helped rebuild the magazine industry in a way we previously haven’t considered.

Word Count: 431


“90% Of Online Content To Be Held Behind Paywalls In Three Years Media Company Survey Suggests”, The Drum, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]

“Advantages And Disadvantages Of Open Access | Edanz Editing”, Edanzediting.Com, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]

“Digital Magazine Trends And Challenges”, Mediaworks, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]

“Open Access And Copyright”, Scoop.It, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]

“Open Access Explained!”, Youtube, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]

“Pros And Cons”, Openaccess.Nl, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]

Solomon, John and John Solomon, “Subscription Business Model Series – Magazines”, Chargebee’s Saas Dispatch, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]

“Thad Mcilroy – Future Of Publishing » The Future Of Magazines”, Thefutureofpublishing.Com, 2016 <; [accessed 11 December 2016]