Journal publishers consider free walk-in access via public libraries
02 May 2012
Scholarly journal publishers collectively are exploring fee-waived walk-in access via the public library network, as part of a package of proposals under discussion in the Finch Working Group on extending access for UK researchers to global published research findings.
A number of technical and licensing issues are still under review by a specialist publisher-library group, such as authentication, copying rights, and network security, but the expectation is that these matters can be resolved within an effective and sustainable overall package of recommendations from the Finch process. The repertoire available would be assembled and licensed on an opt-in basis, probably via the Publishers Licensing Society.
David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, speaking at the AGM of The Publishers Association said: "Open access is the way forward and this proposed PA initiative would be a very useful way of extending public access to the majority of articles currently only available to public libraries through subscription. If agreement can be reached on the PA's related conditions, it would be good for our libraries too.”
Steven Hall, Managing Director of Institute of Physics Publishing said: “This is an important initiative to improve access beyond the research libraries and institutions with direct subscriptions. It must be seen however as an element in a balanced package in which evolving effective funding mechanisms to support gold open access and agreeing acceptable embargo periods for green open access mandates will be the critical issues, alongside extending existing licensing arrangements sector-by-sector through separate negotiations.”
Graham Taylor, Director of Academic Publishing at The Publishers Association said: “We expect this significant initiative will be a welcome new means of extending access to journal articles for SMEs, entrepreneurs and citizen scholars who might not have ready access to a research library. The repertoire of primary global research has hitherto not been available via the public library network.”
Notes for editors
1. Finch is expected to report in June. The independent Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings chaired by Dame Janet Finch was established with DBIS support to investigate how access to global research outputs could be extended for the benefit of UK researchers. The WG has been operating since September 2011 and includes representatives from research libraries, learned societies, the funding councils, the research community, the universities and society, commercial and open access publishers.
2. This initiative is confined to primary research journals only. It does not extend to textbooks, research monographs (books), or aggregated databases already available to public libraries, nor would this offer extend to the consumer trade sector in any way.
3. For further information, contact Graham Taylor (
) or Gemma Hersh (
) at The Publishers Association, or Emma Griffiths at BIS (
The Publishers Association
The Publishers Association (PA) is the leading trade organisation serving book, journal and electronic publishers in the UK. Membership is comprised of 120 companies from across the trade, academic and education sectors. Its core service is representation and lobbying, around copyright, rights and other matters relevant to members, who represent roughly 80% of the industry by turnover. www.publishers.org.uk