PRC Releases Study of UK Small Business’s Information Access

Sep 11, 2009

A study released by the Publishing Research Consortium has found that small businesses in the UK have good access to information such as research articles and academic journals, while also indicating room for improvement. Among the findings:

• Across the board, 28% of respondents in small businesses said that their journal access was "good" or "excellent," 56% that it varied, and 17% that it was "poor" or "very poor."
• Of those who considered information to be an important success factor for their organization, 71% found access to research articles "easy" or "very easy," while 29% felt it was "fairly difficult" or "very difficult."
• 60% felt that access was easier than five years ago.
• Despite this, more than half had experienced some recent difficulty in obtaining one or more articles, representing 10-20% of articles read annually.
• Although they use a wide range of access channels, respondents find current pay-per-view (PPV) arrangements costly and difficult, and "walk-in" access at local universities inconvenient.

The study also offers publishers a number of recommendations for improving access, such as making PPV access cheaper and tailoring it to corporations rather than individuals, expanding institutional licensing schemes to include online access to university volumes, and centralizing licensing in a national scheme.