A leaner, faster interlibrary loan service?

Jisc is pleased to be taking forward a project to assess the feasibility of a service in the discovery/ interlibrary loan (ILL) workflow utilising Open Access Button functionality to aid the discovery, creation and promotion of open access content. Through investing in work to be undertaken by Open Access Button and Sero Consulting, we expect this would improve the user experience of the ILL process, and generally help institutions speed up/ reduce costs for ILL fulfilment by automatically checking if requested material is already available under open access conditions.


The Open Access Button is an open source, non-profit tool delivering free, legal research articles instantly or automatically requested from authors, when users hit a paywall. Jisc has been closely involved with the development of Open Access Button (OAB) from its early days and is now interested in investigating how OAB functionality may be utilised to best effect within a library setting directly, in addition to its current role as a tool used by individual researchers. A potential service embedding OAB functionality in the discovery/ ILL workflow, may prevent multiple ILL requests from the same article as it would contribute to making the articles open access.

The project: ‘Exploring the opportunities for an OA Button-enabled discovery/ inter-library loan service’

We are interested in gathering evidence on the requirement by institutional libraries for an OAB-enabled discovery/ILL service in terms of its use/ value, integration with other services, the scale of the opportunity and the potential efficiencies it provides to libraries, both individually and collectively. Depending on the range of evidence gathered, Jisc, will then assess whether there is value in developing the service any further.

To this end, Sero Consulting will be gathering evidence on such a requirement from across the sector, whilst the Open Access Button will be focusing on gathering insight from individual institutional library settings. We’re pleased that the Button is already working with Imperial College London Library to consider a customised, user-tested approach to speeding up ILL fulfilment, and we are looking forward to starting work with other institutions who have registered their interest.

We are aware that other work is taking place in this space, so we are aiming to co-ordinate with the British Library, SCONUL, UKCoRR and others through the project’s Advisory group. That way we hope to be able to guide the work on a strategic level and stay abreast of any developments/ links relevant to this area of work.

If you would like to get more information on the project, provide feedback, or feed into this work in other ways, please contact Sarah Fahmy ( in the first instance.

More information is also available on the Open Access Button blog

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