The University of Sheffield
5 files

Open access and the role of the National Library - initial survey

posted on 2020-08-15, 12:26 authored by Rosie HigmanRosie Higman
This dataset is the first data collected as part of the wider project 'Open access and the role of the National Library'. Open Access, the sharing of research publications online free of charge, has grown substantially over the last 20 years. There has been substantial research into Open Access but it has largely focused on publishers and universities and not considered wider stakeholders in the scholarly communication ecosystem, such as national libraries.

National libraries vary hugely between countries, characterised as much by their differences as their similarities, but a purpose common to most is that of preserving the publications of the nation. This is a task which will undoubtedly be affected by the move to Open Access.

This research aims to uncover how national libraries are responding to the growth of Open Access, how and why this varies across countries, and what models national libraries could adopt in the future. In a joint project with the British Library a mixed methods approach is being used to ensure the full depth and breadth of activities and approaches is being captured.

This dataset contains the results of an initial survey which was conducted online between July 2019 and January 2020. There were 34 valid responses (32 for questions about Open Access), representing 18.89% of national libraries (based on the Conference of Directors of National Libraries 2017 list). 32 respondents consented to their data being shared and those results are included in this dataset. The survey was distributed via Conference of European National Librarians and Conference of Directors of National Libraries.

This dataset includes a readme file with further details of the methodology, the survey questions (in PDF and odt formats), the full de-identified results of those who consented to sharing their data (csv), the free-text answers organised by theme (xlsx and zipped csvs).

Ethics application number: 026596

Thanks to Laura Sbaffi, Torsten Reimer and Stephen Pinfield for their help in developing this survey.


AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship



  • The project has ethical approval and have included the number in the description field


  • The data complies with the institution and funders' policies on access and sharing

Sharing and access restrictions

  • The data can be shared openly

Data description

  • The file formats are open or commonly used

Methodology, headings and units

  • There is a readme.txt file describing the methodology, headings and units

Usage metrics

    Information School



    Ref. manager