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Access to Research project to continue

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A initiative aimed at giving public library users free access to 10 million academic articles will be continued following its early success.

The Access to Research service was launched as a pilot in 2014, in order to support expanded access to publicly funded research in the UK. Since then 80 per cent of UK local authorities, representing more than 2,600 libraries, have signed up to the initiative.

Since the launch, more than 84,000 users have accessed the service – and an independent report, commissioned by the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), and co-funded by PLS and Arts Council England, has confirmed the value of the Access to Research service to users.

The report found that satisfaction with Access to Research is high, with 90 per cent of those surveyed indicating the information they found through the service was useful.

Almost every academic discipline is covered by the journals made available through Access to Research, via the Summon discovery service. Findings have shown that users are taking full advantage of this to explore a wide variety of topics. Some 230,000 searches have investigated a wide range of topics.

Access to Research has been made possible by a consortium of academic publishers, who collectively publish some of the world’s most respected scientific journals. News of the publishing community’s decision to extend the service has been warmly welcomed by librarians and users. Librarians participating in the initiative are encouraged to continue promoting the service, to further increase awareness of the wealth of information available from their library terminal.

Sarah Faulder, chief executive at the Publishers Licensing Society, said: 'I am delighted that the Access to Research initiative has been received so positively by librarians and the general public, and we are pleased to have the support of publishers to continue providing this service. We hope to see usage continuing to increase over the coming months.'

Ciara Eastell, SCL president, added: 'This news is welcomed by libraries and library customers and we appreciate all of the hard work that has gone into ensuring Access to Research can be prolonged. It is an incredibly valuable information resource for our customers and enhances the learning and information offers in public libraries.'