(From The Chronicle of Higher Education: Daily News Blog, 12.01.2006)

Britain’s Victoria and Albert Museum will make digital images of objects in its collections freely available to scholars beginning in early 2007, a move that The Art Newspaper said “could transform art publishing.” The move comes at a time when art-history scholars are facing a host of problems in getting their research published, including rising permissions costs.

The new policy will allow visitors to the Collections Online Web site to download high-resolution files free of charge, according to a museum news release. The Web site already contains more than 25,000 images from the museum, with more being added. The museum is one of the largest repositories of works in design and the decorative arts from cultures around the world.

“We want to respond to the needs of the academic and education community by making collection images available with greater convenience and minimum cost,” Mark Jones, the museum’s director, said in the news release. “High charges have acted as a barrier to spreading knowledge, and we want to play a part in removing this.”