Give pupils and teachers free access to research, academics argue

All academic research should be free for teachers and pupils to access, a higher education body has said.

The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) launched a report this week arguing that a new national licence should be created which allows access to the latest academic journals to anyone who wants to read them.

The report states that teachers and A-level students would be among those to benefit from such a move.

Teachers would be able to use the latest education research to inform their pedagogy, and subject specialists could keep up to date with the most recent developments in their fields, ensuring that A-level pupils are well-prepared for university, it adds.

Nick Hillman, the director of Hepi, said: “The UK is a world leader in academic research. Yet access to the latest work is severely restricted. For those outside universities, including public-sector workers, it is not easy to find out what is happening at the forefront of knowledge.”

Some research journals currently offer “open access”, allowing non-academics to access articles for free. Most, however, require a hefty subscription fee, usually paid by universities on behalf of their staff.

The national licence would allow any UK resident to access the latest academic journals for free. Hepi staff cite teachers, as well as teacher-trainers and policymakers, as among those who would benefit.

Sarah Chaytor, co-author of the report and head of public policy at University College, London, said that open-access publishing would bring “social, cultural and economic benefits to us all”.

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