The Access to Research initiative, which gives public library users free access to over 10 million academic articles, is to continue.
The venture was launched in 2014 as a two-year pilot project, following recommendations by the Finch Group that the major academic publishers should devise a scheme under which public libraries could provide free access to licensed journals content. The collaboration, between public libraries and the Publishers Licensing Society, sees libraries able to offer access via their computers to over 8,000 journals across the subject disciplines. Publishers participating include Cambridge University Press, Edinburgh University Press, Elsevier, Oxford University Press, SAGE, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley.
Over 80% of UK local authorities, representing over 2,600 libraries, have now signed up to the initiative. A total of 84,000 users accessed the service over its first two years. In August 2014, that number stood at just 14,000.
A report commissioned by the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), and co-funded by PLS and Arts Council England, found high satisfaction levels among users, with 90% of those surveyed indicating the information they found through the service was useful.
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.”
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