The Non-Financial Economy Surrounding Access to OER Repositories

On Friday I downloaded one of my slideshows from Slideshare – and discovered that I needed to login to Slideshare in order to initiate the download.  The a referer links to a post abut Scribd (see http://moonflowerdragon.blogspot.com/2011/04/scribd-as-repository.html) reminded me of the discussion about concerns about Scribd, including, as pointed out by Stephen Downes, the need to register in order to download resources.  “This isn’t open access” is the argument.

But access to such resources doesn’t have a financial cost – rather you are paying with the information you provide when you register.  And this doesn’t only happen with these commercial services – if you wish to download a resource from the Open Jorum repository  you need to supply your email address:

As some resources are quite large in size it can take some time to prepare them for download. Due to this we require you to supply a valid email address so that you can be notified when your download is ready.

To be fair, though, Open Jorum goes on to add:

The e-mail address that you submit is only used to inform you when your exported resource is ready for download and is not stored for longer than the time taken to perform this action.

But ironically, this can be more irritating that the approach taken by commercial services – as I ensure that my Slideshare login credentials are remembered, I do not have to continually provide email details if I wish to download multiple resources.  In addition I can bookmark resources, give comments, etc. because I am logged in.

Does ‘open’ have to be mean that no login  details need to be provided?

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