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Open content activities in libraries: same direction, different trajectories

Findings from the 2018 OCLC Global Council survey
Research libraries Academic publishing Academic writing Archives Libraries Open data Open access Machine learning Information resources management

This report is the culmination of efforts from across the OCLC membership to answer the question raised at a Global Council (GC) meeting: “What is the status of open access and open content in libraries across the globe?”

The underlying open content survey was conducted in 2018-2019 by the OCLC Global Council, in partnership with staff from OCLC Research. The survey’s broad definition of library open content activities and global scope offers a new perspective on open content activities within the library community as it uncovers and highlights the maturity and versatility of these activities.

This report synthesises survey findings on current and future planned open content activities and areas of investment for a large cohort of research and university libraries.


  • This subgroup of 511 respondents from 69 countries is highly involved in open content activities (97%), and the overwhelming majority are stepping up their activities and planning new ones.
  • Overall, the figures suggest a future increase in involvement of 10-18% across all open content activities.
  • Future growth areas that indicate likely new emerging services are the management of open research data and interactions with (digitised) open collections through statistical and machine learning techniques.
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