10 July 2015—The Society of Chief Librarians has appointed Shared Intelligence, who won the contract after it was advertised to tender, to research the value of the Access to Research programmea2r

—Access to Research (A2R) is a service that enables public libraries to provide all of
their users with in-library access to a vast range of academic articles and research free of charge.
The service was launched in January 2014 in response to recommendations from a committee convened by the Government to explore how access to publicly funded research could be expanded. One of the main recommendations of this committee (The Finch Group) was that the major academic publishers should grant public libraries a licence to provide free access to their journals.
These publishers have now provided access to over 8,000 journals and 10 million articles across a wide range of disciplines. Development of the service has been led by the Publishers Licensing Society and the platform has been provided by Proquest.
a2rWe have comprehensive usage data from Google Analytics and Proquest’s own analytics software but we want to know more. We want to understand how we can make this service even better for library communities.”
Shared Intelligence will address gaps in the quantitative research, including:
–Identify types of user (e.g. student, independent researcher etc.) and whether they are representative of the general library population
–Identify what they were searching for and what their motivation for do so was
–Find out whether and how the public has benefited from using Access to Research
The overarching purpose of this research is to give the stakeholders (i.e. the government departments involved (DCMS and BIS); the library community (Society of Chief Librarians, the British Library, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)); and the publishers a deeper insight into the value of the service to local communities. The findings will play a key part in determining whether, after the two year pilot, the service will continue to be made available to local library users.
The findings will be shared in a final report in September 2015.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Elford, SCL Advocacy Manager | elizelford@gmail.com | 07891 056114
Notes for Editors:
The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) is a local government association made up of the chief librarian of each library authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. SCL takes a leading role in the development of public libraries, through sharing best practices, advocating for continuous improvement on behalf of local people, and leading the debate on the future of the public library service. www.goscl.com