​Cultural heritage organizations have long struggled to ensure their users cost-effective, widespread information access. This situation presents challenges and opportunities, both of which have evolved over time. The open content movement has expanded that challenge to supporting and advocating for content free of barriers and paywalls. Open content touches many areas of librarianship, but it is often difficult to understand how libraries approach this movement through internal activities and external financial support.

The LYRASIS open content survey was conducted in early 2020 as a mechanism to better understand how (primarily academic) libraries within the United States participate in the open content movement. The survey specifically focused on participation in activities/financial support for open access (OA) scholarship, open data, and open educational resources (OERs).

The core output of this survey is the 2020 LYRASIS Open Content Survey Report. The report is able to identify trends across a wide range of libraries, including:

  • ​Across academic libraries, institutional repositories for OA scholarship are widely adopted regardless of institution size. However, libraries have limited sway over faculty participation in their IRs.

  • The majority of American institutions do not financially support independent OA initiatives – the institutions that do financially support OA contribute to a variety of pricing models, with no one dominant trend.

  • Open data adoption and hosting is lower than other areas of open content; academic and public libraries are beginning to host different forms of data, but most are still more likely to advocate for data curation than performing the work itself.

  • The majority of academic libraries do not host or provide access to OERs in their repositories. Rather, they choose to support local or state level initiatives that organize and disseminate OERs.