Enhancing the visibility and accessibility ofopen content.

OCLC works with governing bodies, publishers, aggregators, libraries, and the communities they serve to enhance the visibility and accessibility of open content.

We bring the power of the world’s largest library cooperative to support open access initiatives at scale. For publishers and content providers, we bring visibility to open content. For libraries and their users, we help prioritize open collections for optimal discovery and access.



We’re partnering with providers to offer content and services that leverage all types of collections to create a more inclusive and rich experience for users.

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We’re creating more efficient ways to manage open content resources by offering integrated workflows and superior discovery and fulfillment experiences.

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We’re making open content more discoverable and accessible through our continually expanding collections and user-friendly discovery services.

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Open access and the publishing of open content has caused a fundamental shift for content creators, publishers, and aggregators.

We’re partnering with global content providers of traditionally published and open content materials to create a more inclusive and rich experience for users.

For more than 20 years, OCLC has worked with the world’s leading content providers to support the inclusion of high-quality content into WorldCat and OCLC’s library services. Today we work with 350 partners, nearly 100 of which provide fully or hybrid peer-reviewed OA materials, including books, journals, dissertations and audiovisual materials. Through these partnerships, we’re working to make WorldCat a primary resource for the integrated discovery of open content and licensed materials.

Interested in contributing? Publishers and aggregators of open content can contact OCLC’s Business Development team using the link below. Libraries and organizations that want to add metadata about their open collections to WorldCat can use the Digital Collection Gateway as a self-service tool at no charge.



Libraries are tasked with balancing budgets and priorities while still meeting the evolving needs and expectations of the communities they serve.

We’re creating more efficient ways to manage open content resources by offering integrated workflows and superior discovery and fulfillment experiences.

One of the most important factors to accessing knowledge is the visibility of a library’s collections. Our work to prioritize open content alongside licensed content—and our success in reaching users on the search engines and popular websites they visit most—is unparalleled in the information industry. We are continually searching for new partnerships and opportunities to increase the use and impact of library resources.

In addition, the WorldCat knowledge base is home to nearly 500 open collections (and growing) that can be managed through WorldShare Collection Manager.



It can be difficult for researchers to navigate the waters of paid and open content to find and access precisely the information they need.

We’re making open content more discoverable and accessible through our continually expanding collections and user-friendly discovery services.

WorldCat Discovery users and WorldCat.org visitors can limit search results to a subset of source databases known for providing open content. This content will continue to increase as we work with providers to add metadata and more rapidly identify OA content. Additionally, WorldCat Discovery users will benefit from a new integration with Impactstory/Unpaywall. When a citation contains a DOI, WorldCat Discovery leverages Unpaywall’s unparalleled rigor in assessing link quality to ensure users will access full text directly and successfully. 


Survey results: Interest in open content is growing

OCLC’s Global Council (in conjunction with OCLC Research) surveyed libraries around the world on their open content efforts, investments and opinions. The key takeaways from 705 libraries in 82 countries were: libraries’ interest in open content is growing, they want to move forward quickly, and they believe that OCLC can play a role in supporting their open content efforts.

Cover: Open Content survey results

Member Story: Open Access Digital Theological Library

The Open Access Digital Theological Library (OADTL) has a clear ethical mission: to make all high-quality, open-access content in religious studies discoverable to the global community through a single curated, search experience.

“Our goal is both to provide existing content to a global audience and to give the developing world a voice to speak to the developed world,” explained Digital Theological Library Director Thomas Phillips. “We curate without regard to religious perspective, without any bias as far as ideology.” 

Photo: Open Access Digital Theological Library (OADTL) team

Distinguished Seminar Series: "For the Greater (Not) Good (Enough): Open Access and Information Privilege"

In November 2017, Char Booth, Associate Dean of the University Library at California State University San Marcos, spoke as part of the OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series. The presentation addressed the concept that open access has had a huge impact on publishing and scholarly communication—yet who you are, what you earn, and how you research still create serious barriers to information availability. The session examined open access through the perspective of information privilege, highlighting actions libraries and allied organizations can take to reduce access inequities in pursuit of social and economic justice.


Additional resources

The Shift to Open at University and Research Libraries Worldwide
Learn about the findings of our Open Content survey and what they tell us about how university and research libraries are making the shift to open.

OCLC and Open Content
In this brief presentation, members of OCLC’s open content working group provide an overview of our commitment and activities on integrating open content into the library workflow.

Open Content Checklist
Consider these questions and best practices along your OA journey.

Unlock the Value of Open Content
This program, originally presented at ER&L 2019, featured presenters Swetta Abeyta from Saint Mary’s College of California, Jill Emery from Portland State University, and Danielle Bromelia from OCLC, and provided a timely overview of the state of open access delivery with examples of current solutions from the perspectives of librarians and library service providers.

Upcoming events

Join us for these special events where OCLC will discuss open access topics.

From the OCLC Next  blog

OCLC is proud to be a participant and voice in the Open Access movement alongside great associations and partners such as COAR, SPARC, IIIF, ORCIDDataCite, and many more. We support national and regional bibliographic infrastructure developments, as well as MARC record improvements for the identification of open content.