May 17, 2022

Research Article “Access to Academic Libraries: An Indicator of Openness?” (Preprint)

The following article was recently shared on Humanities Commons.


Access to Academic Libraries: An Indicator of Openness?


Chun-Kai (Karl) Huang
Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University

Lucy Montgomery
Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University

Cameron Neylon
Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University

Katie Wilson
Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University


Humanities Commons
DOI: 10.17613/vad9-sc89


Open access to digital research output is increasing, but academic library policies can place restrictions on public access to libraries. This paper reports on a preliminary study to investigate the correlation between academic library access policies and institutional positions of openness to knowledge.

This primarily qualitative study used document and data analysis to examine the content of library access/use policies of 12 academic institutions in eight countries. The outcomes were statistically correlated with institutional open access publication policies and practices.

We used an automated search tool together with manual searching to retrieve web-based library access policies, then categorised and counted the levels and conditions of public access. We compared scores for institutional library access features, open access features and percentages of open access publications.

Academic library policies may suggest open public access but multi-layered user categories, privileges and fees charged can inhibit access, with disparities in openness emerging between library policies and institutional open access policies.

As open access publishing options and mandates expand, physical entry and access to print and electronic resources in academic libraries is contracting. This conflicts with global library and information commitments to open access to knowledge.

Direct to Full Text Article (.doc)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.