Publishers must remove barriers to content during the coronavirus pandemic - Thu, 19 Mar 2020

SCONUL and partners including RLUK and Jisc are asking publishers, aggregators and suppliers to remove barriers to accessing content during the coronavirus pandemic to enable teaching and research to continue virtually.


Some publishers, aggregators and suppliers of digital content and software have already come forward in offering a range of solutions to help institutions maintain their teaching and research activity during this time of crisis and we acknowledge this and thank them.


However there is more than can be done.  We are asking them to:


1. Make any relevant content and data sets about COVID-19, Coronaviruses (regardless of species affected), vaccines, antiviral drugs, etc. currently behind subscription-only paywalls Open Access immediately to facilitate research, guide community public health response, and accelerate the discovery of treatment options. The removal of technology that limits text and data mining is also requested in support of research.


2. Remove and waive all simultaneous, concurrent user or credit limits to an institution’s licensed digital content during this period when universities are going all online in order to allow research, discovery, and learning to proceed.


3. Remove, waive or pause triggers associated with evidence based or demand driven models in recognition that there will be a higher use of online content as courses are being delivered online.


4. Lift existing contractual Inter Library Loan restrictions or photocopying limits temporarily so that universities and colleges may assist their students to complete their studies.


5. Temporarily waive costs associated with the digitisation of second extracts under the CLA licence and engage with the CLA and other collective management organisations to increase extent limits to ensure teachers can provide students with the content they require.


6. Extend trial access periods to 90 days in the first instance to provide institutions and colleges with a monitored and managed route to access content they may require but have been unable to subscribe to previously.


7. Lift any restrictions on remote access, so that teaching activities and research can continue online and remotely, despite institutional closures. 


The full statement is available here

The letter to the Publishers Assocaition is available here