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ARL releases public access survey results

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The Association of Research Libraries reveals that many of its member libraries are already, or soon will be, providing resources that help academics make public-funded research freely-available.

The findings follow an ARL survey that explored the role its member libraries are playing in supporting public access policies. These policies are based on a premise that authors of government-funded research programs should make their work freely-available to taxpayers.

This survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in February 2009. Respondents were asked to provide information on staffing, partnerships, and resources and services developed for public access policy (PAP) compliance support, and the challenges related to providing such support.

Seventy libraries (57%) from sixty-seven institutions responded to the survey. Of the respondents, sixty-three were at libraries located within the US (90%) and seven were at libraries located in Canada (10%).

The majority of the responding libraries provide, or plan to provide, resources and services that help authors affiliated with their institution to comply with public access policies.

Thirty-seven respondents (53%) indicated that more than one library within their system provides PAP compliance support; eleven (16%) indicated that just one library within their institution is providing this support. Four other institutions (6%) are planning to support PAP compliance.

Of the libraries that do not provide such support, eight (11%) indicated that another department or unit within their institution provides compliance support. Eight others (11%) responded that their institution offers no PAP compliance support.

The Public Access Policies, SPEC Kit 311, includes documentation from respondents in the form of PAP web sites, compliance FAQs and flowcharts, handouts and slides from presentations to faculty and library staff, and sample letters to publishers.