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The Summon discovery service provides the perfect platform for reinforcing the pivotal role of libraries; facilitating meaningful research by helping users discover the most relevant content, and improving information literacy.
Called Access to Research, this project is the result of a unique collaboration between librarians and publishers, who have made their journal content available for free to UK libraries. The project will result in students, independent researchers and small businesses being able to access many of the world’s best academic papers through their local libraries. The pilot is open to all UK local authorities to participate, with over half of all local authorities already in the process of signing up their libraries to the initiative hoping that this will encourage more customers to visit their local library.
At a special launch event on Monday 3 February 2014, David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, said: “This country’s excellent science and research base is world-renowned and one of our greatest assets. With less than one percent of the global population, we produce over six percent of global articles. But this still means the vast majority of global research is not subject to the UK’s open access policy. The Publishers Licensing Society’s excellent ‘Access to Research’ program will now give the public free access to research around the world through our public libraries. This will connect people, including students and small businesses, to a wealth of global knowledge – maximizing its impact and value.”
Access to Research will provide licensed online access to over 1.5 million journal articles and conference proceedings through library terminals. With 8,400 journals included in the initiative at the moment, this will make content in the fields of Health and Biological Sciences (20%), Social Sciences (18%), and Engineering (14%) available to the public for the first time. 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; and Mathematics and Physics.
This initiative was 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.