Overcoming barriers: access to research information

Added by Sarah on 04 December 2009

This RIN report finds that many researchers are encountering difficulties in getting access to the content they need and that this is having a significant impact on their research.

Based on the findings of five studies, the report investigates the nature and scale of key restrictions on access to information resources of importance to researchers; the impact of these restrictions and the ways in which they might be alleviated or overcome.

The report examines the frequency with which researchers encounter problems in accessing content; researchers’ perceptions of the ease with which they can gain access and the issue of researcher access to information resources in the public and private sector which are not formally published and which are often subject to copyright restrictions. It also reviews academic and research libraries arrangements to provide access to researchers who are not members of their institutions.

The report’s key finding is that access is still a major concern for researchers. Although researchers report having no problems finding content in this age of electronic information, gaining access is another matter due to the complexity of licensing arrangements, restrictions placed on researchers accessing content outside of their own institution and the laws protecting public and private sector information. This means that research into important information resources can be missing. Researchers report that they are frustrated by this lack of immediate access and that this slows their progress, hinders collaborative work and may well affect the quality and integrity of work produced.

The final report and a briefing, along with the five individual studies are available below. Hard copies of the briefing are available to distribute to colleagues or at relevant meetings/events, please email contact@rin.ac.uk


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