Why a survey?
Despite the ongoing discussions about the benefits of Open Access, Open Data, Open Government Information, and Open Content more generally, the extent to which such content is impacting the spread of knowledge and libraries’ role therein are yet to be understood.
It is a complex topic, as Rachel Frick recently wrote in her blog post “An open discussion”. Some predict that in an open access world, where most articles and monographs are available online and for free, the library’s role in discovery and fulfillment will further erode. Others argue that a library’s quality control role will become only more important with open access, because this content is more susceptible to fraud. The impact on library budgets is also a central topic, with growing concern that if content is freely available, libraries will lose acquisition budget. David Lewis’ article on “The 2.5% Commitment” proposes that all libraries devote at least 2.5% of their budgets to support a common infrastructure for open content. What this initiative has made clear is that no-one really knows how much libraries are actually investing in OA and open content. If libraries are not able to measure their investments and efforts in open content, how can they make planning decisions moving forward? If the benefits for the library and their users are unclear, how can libraries measure how successful they are in realizing those benefits? With all these challenges still ahead, it is timely to start the conversation about impact and use of OA and open content.
This year, OCLC Global Council expressed interest in exploring this theme. To help fuel a meaningful discussion around this very vast topic, a survey has been developed that focuses on the following questions: What are libraries’ ambitions and realities with open content? How invested are they in open content? How can OCLC assist to leverage their efforts?
This is an open invitation to all libraries of any type and any region in the world. The survey aims to bring more voices to the table and to share a baseline understanding of libraries’ commitment to open content and their ambitions in this field. The scope of the survey is intentionally broad to gather as many different perspectives as possible and to be inclusive.
If access to open content is important to your library, please consider participating!
Click on the link to take the survey: oc.lc/oasurvey
We will share the survey findings broadly, within the OCLC Membership and with special effort to engage allied organizations and programs, like the Mellon funded “Mapping Scholarly Communications Infrastructure” and the Knowledge Exchange approach to Open Scholarship.
Titia van der Werf is a Senior Program Officer in OCLC Research based in OCLC’s Leiden office. Titia coordinates and extends OCLC Research work throughout Europe and has special responsibilities for interactions with OCLC Research Library Partners in Europe. She represents OCLC in European and international library and cultural heritage venues.