Access to Research (A2R), the initiative to connect the public with academic research through the UK’s public library network, has revamped its website.
The move will enable more people undertake research from home-based locations following changes to work routines caused by the pandemic. Thus, the new website is simpler, faster and clearer. The A2R service promises to enhance the offering of libraries to their local communities.
Over 30 million articles for everyone
Visitors to participating public libraries can access over 30 million academic articles, delivered digitally, on topics as wide ranging as art, architecture, biological sciences, business, engineering, environmental science, film, health, history, journalism, languages, politics, philosophy, physics, religion, social sciences, and mathematics.
The service is for use by everyone. While the vast range of material available means there is something for the curious browser, it is of particular interest to the dedicated professional, independent researcher or student.
The top ten searches for August of last year indicate the variety of uses for A2R. Creative writing heads the list, closely followed by German prisoners of war, singing techniques, Plymouth blitz, farming UK, genetics and diabetes, North Korea, prison chaplains, Yorkshire Dales, and Agatha Christie.
Access to Research, developed and run by the Publishers’ Licensing Services (PLS), is a collaboration between publishers, represented by the Publishers Association, and librarians, represented by Libraries Connected. The search and delivery software, Summon, is provided free of charge by ProQuest.
It came about because of the Finch Report, published in June 2012. The report recommended that major journal publishers should enable public libraries to provide free access to academic journal articles on public library premises.
The website now presents participating libraries via a map with a “click to discover more” facility. Also, there is a list of participating publishers. These include Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wiley, SAGE, Elsevier, OUP, CUP and The Royal Society.
How do Libraries Gain Access to A2R?
Access to A2R is free. All UK local authorities are welcome to opt their libraries into the initiative. Simply email email@example.com to find out more.
How Can Publishers Participate
All academic publishers are welcome to make available their open access journals into the Access to Research initiative. Please note that the service is for online content only. In order to find out more contact A2R on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or find out more online, with this introductory webinar. A further webinar answers users’ common questions which also offers advice about promoting the service. Find this in the About us section of the Access to Research website.