Driving Research

The British Library is concerned that the shift from print to digital publishing is undermining the traditional balance at the heart of copyright in ways that could make it harder for researchers to access and use information.

We believe that the UK needs an intellectual property framework appropriate for the digital age.


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The British Library is an unparalleled resource for research and higher education. New digital initiatives are transforming its collections and how they are accessed and used by researchers.

Click here to see how the British Library is Driving Growth Through Knowledge on YouTube.

Supporting Case Studies

Legal Deposit

The British Library receives a copy of every publication issued in Britain through a process called legal deposit. Because it is comprehensive, legal deposit represents the nation’s memory – and the responsibility for collecting it has existed since 1662.

New regulations passed in April 2013 take legal deposit further by enabling us to collect, preserve and provide long term access to digital material too – including blogs, e-books and the entire UK web domain.

By the end of 2013, the results of the first live archiving crawl of the UK web domain will be available to researchers, along with tens of thousands of e-journal articles, e-books and other materials.

Speeches and Positions

The British Library's policy on open access, and other documents on research and research policy

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In the Media

Related Links

The British Library is not responsible for the content of exteranl internal sites

Driving Research – facts and figures

  • 1.5 million visits to the British Library each year, including 500,000 visits to the Reading Rooms in 2011/12.
  • 94% of doctoral students and academics said that the Library had contributed to the success of their research, with 45% stating that they would not be able to achieve their research aims without the British Library.
  • Up to 40 million pages of historic newspapers are being digitised and made available online in partnership with brightsolid online publishing.
  • £37 million saved by the Higher Education sector over five years through the UK Research Reserve store of journals, which eliminates the need for duplicate storage in university libraries.

Intellectual Property

More information about the British Library's work on intellectual property law

We want to ensure that the transition from print to digital publishing benefits researchers and creators alike. Reform of copyright and IP law will help the British Library stay at the forefront of research services and collection preservation in an increasingly digital and networked world.

An updated, balanced copyright framework, which puts the UK on a level playing field internationally, will benefit the UK economy as a whole. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which became law in April 2013, lays the groundwork for changes to orphan works licensing and extended collective licensing which will make it easier for institutions like the British Library to make research collections available digitally.

By digitising material and making it available online, we can help our users benefit from greater research opportunities, feeding innovation in education, cultural initiatives and new commercial ideas.


Policy Contacts

Susan Adams
Head of Advocacy
+ 44 (0) 20 7412 7237

Tom Johnson
Advocacy Officer
+ 44 (0) 20 7412 7115

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