The Research Information Network published its latest report last week. The report explore the difficulties that researchers in Scotland encounter to access information, and strategies used to overcome those barriers. The authors of the report also produce a very comprehensive list of non-cost barriers to accessing information observed:

  • intellectual property restrictions, especially those associated with copyright and so-called ‘orphan works’
  • information held by public bodies that is not yet available under the terms of the Public Records Acts or the Freedom of Information Act
  • information held by corporate bodies that may be sensitive for commercial or other reasons;
  • information about individuals that may be subject to privacy restrictions
  • problems associated with digitisation or inadequate cataloguing, and  data that is locked up in formats that make them difficult to use

From RIN:

The report’s key finding is that access is still a major concern for researchers. Although researchers report having no problems finding content in this age of electronic information, gaining access is another matter due to the complexity of licensing arrangements, restrictions placed on researchers accessing content outside of their own institution and the laws protecting public and private sector information. This means that research into important information resources can be missing. Researchers report that they are frustrated by this lack of immediate access and that this slows their progress, hinders collaborative work and may well affect the quality and integrity of work produced.