Access by UK small and medium-sized enterprises to professional and academic information

Mark Ware, Mark Ware Consulting Ltd (August 2009)

Full Report  Companion Report  Press Release

SMEaccessresearchreportcoverThis Research Report studies an often-neglected market segment, that of small businesses.  An online survey and individual interviews were conducted in June 2009, to explore the importance of information in research jounrals, level of use, quality of access provision, and suggestions for improvement.  Users in larger businesses and in higher education were also surveyed for comparison.

People in high-tech small businesses value information more highly, and read more journal articles, than those in larger companies.  Of those that consider information important, 71% felt they had good access, and 60% that it was better than 5 years ago.  However, more than half sometimes had difficulty accessing an article, and there are a number of steps that could be taken to improve access:  pay-per view access could be made simpler, with a more appropriate payment mechanism for companies, and lower prices; higher education journal licences could include online as well as walk-in access for local businesses;  and a comprehensive, centrally administered national licence could be explored.

The Companion Report provides the detailed survey results on which the Research Report is based, and also comparisons with other sectors:  larger companies, universities/colleges, hospitals, medical schools and non-governmental public health facilities, and research and governmental institutions.