Tuesday, February 04, 2014

UK Public Libraries to get Free Access to Academic Journal Content

Announced today (press release) by the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS-UK) is a pilot program that will make thousands of academic and scholarly content available to public library patrons.   The publishers making their content available for free include: ALPSP, Bloomsbury Publishing, Cambridge University Press, Dove Press, Elsevier, Emerald, IoP Publishing, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, Portland Press, SAGE Publications, Science Reviews 2000 Ltd., Springer, Taylor & Francis, Versita, Wiley and Wolters Kluwer Health.

This pilot program which is expect to run for two years follows a technical trial period which was completed earlier this year.  The initiative itself is the result of consultation between libraries, publishers and agencies that was instigated by the Finch report of 2012.  In that report, the parties were encouraged to provide access to peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, free of charge, for ‘walk-in’ users at library premises.  The purpose of this access would be to (according to the report findings) enhance the ‘walk-in’ access already available at university libraries, and would enable anyone to have free access to a wealth of journal articles and conference proceedings at their local public library.

With UK public libraries under increased funding pressure over the past five years, it is assumed that providing patrons with this breadth of content and access will encourage more patrons to visit public libraries.

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