Friday 10 May 2019

Free ‘Access to Research’ online search service in public libraries is re-launched

ATR-Logo‘Llama antibodies’, ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome’ and ‘Electromagnetic radiation’ amongst terms most frequently searched in libraries

Public library users search for an eclectic range of topics when using the Access to Research free online search. The service enables any user in a participating public library to search directly for and print out a copy of any of the more than 15 million journal articles that publishers make available through their participation. The free service is only available in public libraries. 85% of public libraries in the UK currently offer access to the service.

Analysis of the top 20 search terms by month nationwide for 2018 has thrown up an idiosyncratic list of interests, in addition to the perennial concerns of health, history and science. Medical ailments are well represented (‘Caesarean nerve damage’ and ‘Effect tuition fees have on students’ mental health’) but there is also room for the somewhat specialized (‘Llama antibodies’ and ‘Ragwort’).

“While most searches: ‘Royal Navy’, ‘Archaeology’ and inevitably ‘Brexit’ for example are instinctively what you might imagine people go to their local library to look up, the fact that entering even the most obscure terms usually returns a host of published research demonstrates how broad-based and useful Access to Research is” said Sarah Faulder, Chief Executive of Publishers' Licensing Services (PLS) which manages the service.

Access to Research began as a pilot service in 2014, one of the fruits of the recommendations from the Finch Group, a committee convened by the UK government to explore how access to publicly funded research could be expanded. The Group recommended that the major journal publishers should grant public libraries a licence to provide free access to their academic articles. Following the success of the pilot the scheme is now being re-launched to local authorities across the UK.

“Access to Research is a great initiative to connect library users with high-quality published research, and we are delighted that so many leading academic publishers are taking part. It is this kind of innovation that paves the way for a sustainable future where readers can access publicly-funded research in a few strokes of the keyboard.” commented Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the Publishers Association, a member of the service’s steering group.

The Access to Research initiative was developed by PLS in collaboration with Libraries Connected, The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the Publishers Association (PA), public libraries and publishers. The service is provided with generous support from ProQuest.


Notes to Editors

Media contact: Robert Stein, Head of Communications, PLS on or 020 7079 5938.


Access to Research is the result of a unique collaboration between librarians and publishers, who have made their journal content available for free to UK public libraries.
Users have restricted access to the service from locations other than public libraries. Journal articles can be searched for, read and one copy printed off for free in public libraries.
The content is searchable through the Summon® discovery service, provided free of charge by ProQuest.
-           Browse available journals:  
-           Find a participating public library:
For each month of 2018, the top 20 search terms for Access to Research have been identified and all examples of search terms in this press release are drawn from those findings. 


Current Access to Research participating publishers are: ALPSP, BMJ, Cambridge University Press, De Gruyter Open, Dove Press, Edinburgh University Press, Elsevier, Emerald, IOP Publishing, Manchester University Press, Oxford University Press, Portland Press, Royal Society Journals, SAGE Publications, Science Reviews 2000 Ltd., Society for General Microbiology, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Whiting & Birch Ltd., Wiley and Wolters Kluwer Health.

About the steering group:

Publishers’ Licensing Services
Publishers’ Licensing Services provides collective rights management services to publishers by overseeing collective licensing for book, journal, magazine and website copying. PLS also provides permissions and other rights management services to the publishing industry. PLS developed the Access to Research service in collaboration with public libraries, publishers Libraries Connected (formerly Society of Chief Librarians), the PA and ALPSP and continues to manage it. PLS is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1981.

Libraries Connected
Libraries Connected (formerly Society of Chief Librarians) leads and manages public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is made up of the head of service of every library authority, and advocates for continuous improvement of the public library service on behalf of local people.

ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company’s products are a gateway to the world’s knowledge including dissertations, governmental and cultural archives, news, historical collections and eBooks. ProQuest technologies serve users across the critical points in research, helping them discover, access, share, create and manage information.

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP)
ALPSP is the international membership body for not-for-profit organizations that publish scholarly and professional content and those who work with them. ALPSP connects, informs, develops and represents its members and has a membership of 330 companies in 40 countries. Over 10,000 journals are published by ALPSP members as well as numerous books, databases and other products and services.

The Publishers Association
The Publishers Association (the PA) represents book and journal publishers in the UK, spanning fiction and non-fiction, academic and education publishing in print and digital. UK publishing has a turnover of £5.7bn, with export income accounting for 60% of revenues. Our membership includes global companies such as Elsevier, Wiley, Pearson, Penguin Random House and Hachette, as well as many independent publishing houses and university presses. Our objective as an association is to provide our members with the influence, insight and support necessary to compete and prosper.


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