This is close to my heart. The shorter the gap between real research and learning and teaching or any other endeavour the faster we can drive change. Most of these resources are too expensive for Colleges and schools at moment and if truth be told even some of the smaller HE establishments in UK -Academics are now looking at alternative publishing models that will open up resources for HE in more cost effective way - but will also open up resources to learners in other sectors.(maybe even to those who drive public policy too - in my experience few NDPBs or Gov Departments have direct access to this research) Social Returns of publically funded Resarch and Development are huge. 1.6 Billion spent through research in UK each year.
Commercial sector will benefit enormously from this too as they will get more direct access to the Science.
However institutions need to mandate self archiving and publising if this is to happen meaningfully - where it exists needs to be up to the researcher a local repository may not be meaningful for some research which is done at national or global level.
Academic publishing is an industry..created..peer reviewed..available through commercial journals .. subscription model for institutions. Institutions deal with managing these. Big cost savings in moving to new models of publishing.
There are different models.. worked through economic models
Toll Access, Open Access Publishing, Self Archiving
OA and SA models offer huge financial savings to system (order of 200 million)and wider social returns ( harder to quantify) There is now a JISC Report setting out benefits for system and for HEIs in moving to new model.
Hector MacQueen University of Edinburgh
Copyright is not a barrier to Open Access Publishing - google book settlement is shaping into a universal open access repoistory. Project Gutenberg, European Digital Libray, Amazon look inside service , Music and Art next ...
Theatre History. example. The Romans left britain and only 1100 years later were amphitheatres built again in London and professional theatre companies appeared. Theatre historians have difficulty in finding evidence of these early players and their tours around UK. Data was in very expensive books - data was in local authority records - researchers have been gathering this for last 40 years - now Somerset has been able to digitise this and make this and databases available free over the internet. Boom now in books about early english drama fed by this data set now being available (400 years later) There is also a database of early English play titles ( DEEP) . Most other collections are still subscription only and many researcher don't have access to these resources like EBO.