Open data

Libraries provide their users access to a wealth of resources, most of these are protected by copyright and intellectual property rights. To protect the rights on these resources, libraries will only be granted access rights for users on campus or even inside the library.

At Ghent University Library, we complement this with a series of open access and open data programmes to enhance access to research. We produce high-resolution scans of historic documents, provide just in time scans of articles from print journals and promote open access for academic publications.

To maximise the use of the older collections, Ghent University Library is a partner in the Google Books Library Programme. Here, we provide digital access to the full text of about 250.000 out-of-copyright books.

For the entire university, UGent has implemented an "Immediate Deposit/Optional Open Access" mandate for scientific publications as of publication year 2010. As a consequence, all research output is registered in the UGent Academic Bibliography and Institutional Repository with an electronic full-text attached. Moreover, UGent asks researchers to make the full-text open, whenever possible.

The library's mission has been formulated accordingly: "Facilitating open knowledge creation".

What does "open" mean?

“Open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose.”

In line with our mission as a university library, we require that you preserve openness for future generations and give the creators of the content full credits.

  • When Ghent University Library creates digital materials, these will always be free to be re-used in accordance with the conditions laid down by the Creative Commons Public License Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International, and this will be clearly indicated.

  • The metadata about our collections is always open, available with an Open Data Commons Open Database License. You are free to copy, distribute and use the database; to produce works from the database; to modify, transform and build upon the database. As long as you attribute the data to the source, publish your adapted database with ODbL license and keep the dataset open.

Data downloads and API's

Every web page for an individual item in our collections has a section "for developers", detailing all available API's and a range of formats for that item's detailed metadata.

All UGent bibliographic descriptions and library locations are also available as sets.

More download details & formats


As a university library, we offer a range of services along with our data. You are free to walk into one of our buildings and start your research with the computers provided there.

Certain items can be borrowed from the library, you can use a copier or scanner or request a digital reproduction. Many digital resources can be downloaded for personal use. All details and regulations are available online.


Ghent University Library is a contributor and partner in a number of international open data archiving projects:

The Internet Archive is a non-profit that was founded to offer permanent access for researchers and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive is also working to prevent the internet and other "born-digital" materials from disappearing into the past.

All UGent webpages are archived here. allows scientists from diverse disciplines - encompassing physics, mathematics, statistics, computer science and more — to share research before it’s formally published. A million papers have now been uploaded to the repository that pioneered the open access movement.

The European Commission and the European Research Council promote Open Access for scientific publications actively. Research projects receiving certain EU grants are required to disseminate their results in Open Access.

OpenAIRE (Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe) is the project that supports researchers in these requirements. Ghent University Library is partner in OpenAIRE and national contact for open access in Belgium.

The Center for Open Science is on a mission to increase the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scholarly research. The Open Science Framework is a free tool to make the process, content, and outcomes of research openly accessible for others to discuss and build on.

UGent researchers can use their UGent login to run research projects on OSF.