Open Access and the role of the national librar

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Information School


The proposed project will address the overarching research question:

What roles can national libraries play in open-access publishing and dissemination of research outputs, and how might those roles be developed in future?

This research question, currently draft, will be finalised in the early stages of the research process and, like the planning and implementation of the project as a whole, will be co-designed and co-produced with the British Library, ensuring its scope is coherent, relevant and manageable. The project will focus on open access (OA) of published research outputs, but will also take into account other facets of 'Open Science', particularly open data. Robust academic research on the relationship between national libraries and OA is to date sparse, and so this proposed project will make a novel contribution to the literature. It is proposed to frame the research using the theory of evidence-based policy (EBP) in particular, involving a critical perspective on the policy cycle: taking account of the complexities of evidence-gathering and decision-making processes, policy formation and negotiation, and activities around project implementation and service development.

The research will engage with a wide range of issues, including the relationship between OA and legal deposit, business process design to support OA, open systemic interoperability, and balancing priorities of immediate access and long-term preservation. The research will also consider how OA may relate to or develop the mission of the national library within its own societal context. It will, therefore, investigate the relationship between the national library and other stakeholders, including publishers, funders and policymakers, higher education institutions (HEIs), learned societies, and charities, in relation to OA. The study will be international in its coverage, tracing these relationships at a global level and also considering collaborations between different national libraries. It will cover the relationship in the UK between the BL and the national libraries of Wales and Scotland in relation to OA.

The project will be designed to enable practice-based application, but will have a robust theoretical underpinning. Research phases will deploy well-established methodologies and will be informed by appropriate theory associated with qualitative and quantitative methods.

For further details, see the attached proposal.


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