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Fund Aids Access To Electronic Information

Tertiary Education Commission
Vice Chancellors Committee

Media Release
29 July 2004

Fund Aids Access To Electronic Information

New Zealand researchers now have electronic access to a core collection of the key international information resources required to support research.

This has come about through a project to support access to electronic information resources - involving universities, Crown Research Institutes and three polytechnics – and is the result of a successful round one application to the Innovation and Development Fund (IDF).

The IDF is administered by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) which has signed a $3.6 million funding agreement with Lincoln University, acting on behalf of the other project participants. Approved in December last year, the project has been funded until June 2005.

“The IDF’s purpose is to foster innovation in New Zealand’s tertiary education organisations. This project, allowing researchers to access up to the minute information worldwide, clearly supports the IDF’s purpose,” said Ann Clark, General Manager of the Tertiary Education Commission.

The electronic information resources in question – Elsevier’s Science Direct Freedom Collection which enables access to over 1500 full-text journals and Thomson ISI’s Web of Science which indexes and abstracts over 8500 journals – are regarded as premier research tools around the world.

Some players in the tertiary education and research sectors previously had varied degrees of access to these resources at a combined cost of more than $8 million. However, the IDF funding will ensure that all universities and CRIs will have access to at least the core collection, at a marginal cost. The three polytechnics – CPIT, Unitec and Wintec will have access to a subset of Science Direct.

Ms Sue Pharo, Council of NZ University Librarians (CONZUL) chair, says researchers will reap significant benefits from having access to a large body of international research literature. These benefits include the ability to work collaboratively across institutions now that access barriers have been removed.

Mr Anthony Scott, Association of Crown Research Institutes (ACRI) Executive Director, is also enthusiastic over the project’s benefits. “The nation’s science talent is found right across universities, CRIs and polytechnics and their increasing collaboration is critical to maximizing New Zealand’s investment in science. Until this project got the go ahead, multi-entity teams could not access the same information resources.”

The NZ Vice-Chancellors’ Committee represents the interests of the country’s eight universities and its Executive Director, Mr Lindsay Taiaroa, has welcomed the project as an example of positive developments resulting from TEC’s capability development funds.

When the project funding agreement expires next year, participating institutions aim to have an equitable model in place to allow on-going costs to be met.

ENDS

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