A new move towards broader open access has made over one and a half million journal articles free for public use through UK libraries. In a pilot program called Access to Research that is partly being powered free of cost by ProQuest’s search capabilities, the public can now access these articles and conference presentations through their libraries.
According to a press release, “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, Mathematics and Physics.”
Over 8,700 different journals will have content included in the initiative, content that is published by 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, Wolters Kluwer Health. A number of library and publishers associations are also invested in the project, which will run for two years in pilot stage to gauge the use and interest from the public.
While students, small businesses, and independent researchers are expected to be the major consumers of these mountains of content, this is a bold first move in helping civic leaders, publishers, and citizens see the value of open access, an often hotly contested topic especially where government funded and published research findings are concerned.