Doctoral School

Library response to PRES 2015 feedback

Thank you for the comments on Library resources, services and staff. Overall, we would very much like to encourage researchers to contact the Library with their questions, as many of the comments about resources could potentially be resolved fairly swiftly.

Journal access

Some comments related to difficulties researchers were experiencing accessing journals to which we already have access. Remember, that if you are using journals off-campus you will need to authenticate yourself as a Sussex user by logging in with your ITS username and password.

There were several comments on lack of access to Nature journals. The Library subscribes to 26 Nature titles, and has full access to the archives of Nature itself. We are currently exploring the possibility of purchasing access to further archives.

In all cases, if there is a journal to which you think the Library should have access, you can request that a subscription is considered by sending some information to the Research Support team via Subscriptions are considered carefully as they are a long-term commitment, and the Library will ask for support from the Library rep in the department before making a decision.

If you only want to access an article from a journal to which Sussex doesn’t subscribe, you could place an interlibrary loan request and receive the article electronically within 1 working day for a cost of £2.

Book purchasing

It’s possible to request that the Library buys books through the book purchasing link on Library Search. If you need the book urgently, for a short period of time or a book which may have limited wider use at Sussex, then the quickest and most appropriate route to get access is through interlibrary loan. We purchase books in line with our Collection Development policy to ensure that the best use is made of the Library budget. In response to PRES we have altered our processes slightly so that any requests from researchers which do not fit in with the policy are passed to the Research Support team so we can follow up with researchers in more detail to discuss the best way to fulfil the request.

Comments occasionally suggested that researchers had requested books from the Library but not had a response. In most cases it is likely that these books have been purchased and are on the Library shelves. As so many books are requested, our staff who process these requests will only contact you if we are not able to purchase the book. Otherwise, you should assume that the book has been purchased. Although this is stated on the email confirmation you receive automatically when placing an order, we appreciate that this is perhaps not obvious enough and we have updated the request form to make this process clearer.

Our default position is to purchase an ebook to fulfil a request, but if you prefer a print copy you can request this.


Several respondents stated they would like to see more ebooks in their subject areas, whilst others felt that ebooks were somewhat difficult to use. Academic ebooks are still a developing area (compared to online journals), and publishers are not all using the same platforms to provide their ebooks. This results in different ebooks offering different functionality (e.g. the number of pages that can be downloaded at a time, or the number of simultaneous users permitted). We will always choose the ebook that allows the widest use, but we are restricted by the options on offer. The Library is actively monitoring ebook developments and suppliers to ensure we are using the best options possible.

Additional comments

  • All of our online resources are available to use off-campus as long as they are accessed through the Library webpages so you are prompted to log in.
  • From the Autumn term onwards, our new Library Management System will mean that you only need to log in once off-campus to access your Library account and the online resources.
  • The Library has reviewed its fines policy and is putting in place an automatic renewal system that will mean you will need to return a book only if it is recalled by someone else.
  • If you feel your research area isn’t well-supported overall in the Library then please let us know and we can discuss further with you and your department Library rep.

Helen Webb
Research Support Librarian

Doctoral School