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Access to Research initiative begins pilot

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Students, independent researchers and small businesses in the UK can now access many academic papers through their local libraries. This is the result of a new initiative, Access to Research, which is a collaboration between librarians and publishers, who have made their journal content available for free to UK libraries.
 
Access to Research will provide licensed online access to over 1.5 million journal articles and conference proceedings through library terminals. At the moment 8,400 journals are included in the initiative, in the fields of health and biological sciences (20 per cent), social sciences (18 per cent) and engineering (14 per cent). Users will also be able to read a wide variety of articles in the fields of art & architecture; business; environmental science, history, journalism, languages, politics, film, philosophy and religion, mathematics and physics.
 
Access to Research has been launched under the leadership of the Publishers Licensing Society in response to one of the main recommendations of the Finch Group, a committee convened by the UK government, to explore how access to publicly funded research could be expanded.
 
Participants in the initiative include: ALPSP, Bloomsbury Publishing, Cambridge University Press, Dove Press, Elsevier, Emerald, IOP Publishing, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, Portland Press, SAGE Publications, Science Reviews 2000 Ltd., Springer, Taylor & Francis, Versita, Wiley, and Wolters Kluwer Health.
 
In addition, ProQuest has provided, pro bono, its Summon discovery service to improve discoverability of this online journal content.

The pilot is open to all UK local authorities to participate, and over half of all local authorities are already in the process of signing up their libraries to the initiative.

The technology to support the service has been road tested in 2013 by 250 public libraries within 10 local authorities (Buckinghamshire, Calderdale, East Sussex, Kent, Lewisham, Newcastle, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex, Windsor & Maidenhead).

The service is now being rolled out as a two-year pilot. During the pilot, interest and uptake will be closely monitored to see how the service could be developed in the future.