Public access to licensed journals held in academic libraries

Added by Sarah on 05 April 2006

This report looks at the provision of access for members of the public to digital content in libraries in the higher education sector in the UK.

This work was undertaken by an expert group and provides advice to the sector and to its funding agencies on issues that need to be addressed if public access is to be enhanced. It follows on from an issue raised in the 2004 report Scientific Publications - Free for All? by the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, with regard to providing to members of the public access to the digital copies of journal articles that are licensed to academic libraries. 

It is clear that the provision of walk-in access is patchy and that there are a number of organisational and technical issues that need to be addressed if it is to be delivered successfully. Working with the higher education library community, JISC and those responsible for the Inspire programme, an expert group was assembled in order to publish a report on current practice, key issues to be overcome, and recommendations for the future.

The report notes three key issues to take forward:

  1. A UK register of licences should be created to clarify agreements, and a common form of words should be used to cover either the provision or denial of walk-in access.
  2. A new programme with Federated Access Management technology should be initiated to note administrative and technical problems which arise when providing access to the public through secure university networks, as well as in the current JISC/SCONUL/UCISA system.
  3. Continued funding to the Inspire programme from DfES and DCMS will faciltate the development of public access to HEI libraries throughout the UK.

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