Momentum continues for fight to give teachers free research journal access

A petition calling for teachers to be given free access to research journals continues to attract new supporters.

On Friday, Schools Week reported that the petition, set up by English teacher Vincent Lien had been gathering momentum as part of the #teacher5aday push on Twitter to get teachers thinking about their well-being.

The petition has now cleared the 500 supporters mark, with 560 at the time of writing.

Mr Lien said that he was motivated to set up the petition after completing a Masters of Education, and finding he no longer had free access to academic research. “If, as teachers, we’re supposed to be able to improve our practice through research … surely the best way is for teachers to be able to access research,” he said.

One of the petitioners – David Fawcett – wrote: “If we are truly going to engage with research as a profession, we should have open access to it.”

The campaign has also received the backing on Twitter of Sam Freedman, a former policy advisor to Michael Gove.


Sir David Carter, one of the eight regional schools commissioners who form part of the government’s new ‘middle tier’ of accountability for academies, also offered his support to the petitioners.

Several of those supporting the campaign have noted that NHS staff receive free access to certain journals, prompting questions as to why similar arrangements are not in place for those working in education.

A DfE spokesperson said it was “actively supporting” efforts to increase the use of research in the classroom, and pointed to the Department’s recent World-Class Teaching Profession consultation, which proposed an “online platform for knowledge sharing”, but stopped short of offer support for the petition’s aims.

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. I think Vincent’s campaign and petition is a laudable one, but I do have reservations about this proposal for access to journals foe all teachers. Though it would signal in the right direction, the support is simply not in place in schools to make journal access anything else but a niche luxury. We need a systematic approach to CPD and time for teachers to properly engage with evidence if the move is to bear any fruit.

    Perhaps we should direct the money at creating a journal for teachers with oversight by teachers. It could cohere the excellent resources already out there in the public domain, like the IEE’s ‘Best Evidence in Brief’ and the EEF’s toolkit. The reality is that there is a huge range of high quality research freely accessible across the web. Rarely have I not been able to find studies that I wanted/needed as part of my work. The crucial factor is creating systems within schools, between schools and HEIs, that mobilize the knowledge that is available.

    I fear that journals will see this as a financial golden egg. The relatively cheap ‘price’ for Scottish teachers should anchor any discussion.

    I have written on my blog in more detail about the ‘Problem with Journal Access for Teachers’ here: