Access to Research

Enabling access to academic articles in public libraries

About the service

About the service

What is Access to Research?

  • The Access to Research service gives free, walk-in access to a wide range of academic articles and research in public libraries across the UK.
  • All content is provided online and can be accessed from designated library terminals via a search delivery service called Summon.
  • The Access to Research service is only available in the UK.

Why was the initiative launched?

  • Access to Research was launched in response to recommendations from the Finch Group, a committee convened by the UK government to explore how access to publicly funded research could be expanded.
  • One of the main recommendations of the Finch Group was that the major journal publishers should grant public libraries a licence to provide free access to their academic articles. Access to Research is the outcome of this recommendation.

Who has been involved in delivering Access to Research?

  • Access to Research is the result of a successful collaboration between publishers, represented by the Publishers Association, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, and librarians, represented by the Society of Chief Librarians.
  • The search delivery software, Summon, has been provided free of charge by ProQuest.
  • The service has been led and implemented by PLS.

Initiative evaluation

  • PLS worked with SCL to evaluate the Access to Research pilot performance during the summer/autumn of 2015. The research aimed to examine the value of the Access to Research service in public libraries.
  • The report found that satisfaction with Access to Research is high, with 90% of those surveyed indicating the information they found through the service was useful.
  • User feedback included: “I was surprised how much material was made available” and “it makes the public library look like a more happening place.”
  • Read the full report or contact us for more information.

"A really important development in our belief that people should have as much access to the world's research as possible."

Rt Hon David Willetts

Over 80% of UK local authorities have requested a licence to sign up

Content & participating libraries

What subjects are covered?

What libraries are taking part?

Are you a librarian and want more information? Click here.

User feedback and input is vital in the development of the Access to Research 2 year pilot. Share feedback about your experience of Access to Research here.

Poster For Librarians

Poster For Librarians

Where is Access to Research available?

  • Since the launch of the pilot in February 2014, over 80% of UK local authorities have expressed an interest in opting in their libraries into the service
  • The service is available in participating public libraries across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • For a list of participating libraries, visit our Access to Research website. Please note Local Authorities need to opt in their libraries to be included on the site.
  • Any questions, or if you are a Local Authority and want to be included on the site, contact us here.
  • Libraries who wish to promote the service to their users are encourgaed to download and print out a poster. Its content is based on research gathered from users of the service and the topics most often searched for. The download link is here. It can be printed at A3 or A4.

"This demonstrates publishers' commitment to developing open access in the UK, and will be valuable for publishers, libraries and their patrons."

Richard Mollet, Publishers Association

15million + articles are currently included in the service

"This important initiative further cements the library as a local space for learning for the entire community."

Janene Cox, Society of Chief Librarians

Publishers involved

Publishers involved

Publishers who have opted in their content, as of Nov 2015, are:

  • Cambridge University Press
  • De Gruyter Open
  • Dove Press
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Elsevier
  • Emerald
  • IOP Publishing
  • Oxford University Press
  • Portland Press
  • Royal Society Journals
  • SAGE Publications
  • Science Reviews 2000 Ltd
  • Society for General Microbiology
  • Springer Nature
  • Taylor & Francis
  • Wiley
  • Wolters Kluwer Health