The messages around open access, your obligation to funders and requirements for REF, might seem complicated. So we’ve put together this infographic for International Open Access Week to highlight what it’s really all about; making your work free to read to a global audience.

This is especially important considering the theme of this year’s annual celebration of Open Access, “Open for whom? Equity in open knowledge“.

As a research intensive university in a relatively wealthy country, we benefit from expensive subscription access to the scholarly literature, but not everyone is so fortunate.

A global audience

White Rose Research Online (WRRO) is a shared repository for research outputs across the White Rose Consortium (Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York).

From Sept 2018 to Sept 2019 there were over 3 million downloads from from WRRO, from 235 different countries.

While many of these are from the UK (780,020 downloads) and the USA (479,792) with China 3rd on the list (132297), just about every territory in the world has accessed research from WRRO including sub-Saharan African nations like Nigeria (20509) and Ethiopia (13240), South American countries such as Colombia (7616) and Chile (5933) and Eastern European states like Poland (16352) and Romania (11400).

Top 10

Number of successful downloads by country (1st September 2018 – 30 September 2019):

Country Downloads
United Kingdom 780020
United States 479792
China 132297
India 129156
Germany 90641
Canada 86419
Australia 86331
France 56937
Netherlands 46450
Philippines 40441

Geography test

Here are download figures across the African continent with country names replaced by number of downloads (1st September 2018 – 30 September 2019, source IRUS-UK).

Can you match the number with the country? Check your answers against the full dataset (download xlsx file)