Metric aspect: E-Resources - E-journals, E-books, decision support tools

North West Ambulance Service LKS, Matt Holland.

Metric Definition

Ratio of Open Athens accesses to resources per headcount

A ratio of the number of Open Athens accesses to available resources over a given period compared to the Trust headcount.  Calculate by:

  1. Number of Open Athens accesses to resources for a specific time frame / Headcount
  2. For example, to calculate the Ratio for January 2017 using NWAS LKS data
  3. 247 / 5856 = 0.04

Why is it important?

Open Athens accesses are impacted by all library activities to drive up the use of eResources.  Where these are embedded in the library strategy and the marketing and are effectively implemented the Ratio should be positively effected.  The metric provides a simple number to evidence success (or lack of it).

Strategies and Plans

Achieving a higher resource utilisation, evidenced by the Ratio, could be a strategic objective in the LKS strategy and marketing plan.


The audiences are those external to the library including, other NHS Health Care Library Managers, Trust Managers and other external stakeholders.

Process for compiling the Metric

Data Sources

The total number of Open Athens accesses to resources can be sourced from the Athens Administrative Statistics module.  From the Open Athens Administrators Dashboard for Statistics follow: Generate report for required period via OpenAthens Admin > Statistics > Generate Reports > select Options Total usage for all accounts at this level  / Usage total for all resources > Select start and end date.  Typically, you can record the number for each month for a monthly presentation and for the previous 12 months for an annual percentage.

The number of employees is sourced from NHS Digital, NHS Hospital & Community Health Service (HCHS) monthly workforce statistics. See December 2016 Provisional Statistics.  All things being equal the headcount will not change significantly over time. You have the option for an annual Ration of taking the last headcount for the year you are calculating the ratio for or averaging the headcount over the previous 12 months. Be sure to make clear how the number you used was derived.

An average ratio for the North West and the ratio for the top 20 North West Trusts is available from NHS North West Regional eResources Statistical Report 2015-2016.


Problems inherent in compiling Open Athens accesses apply to this metric. Different profiles of use by your Trust staff will deliver the same ratio.  So a few super users can generate the same number of accesses as a larger number of infrequent users.  The number of resources you provide access to and how you provide access will also influence the Ratio.  While it is possible to compare with other Trusts, caution should be exercised.


This metric can be repeated monthly or annually.

What does it mean?

This metric gives a single measure of how active Trust staff are in using eResources.  It provides a useful indication of how successful promotion of eResources is in effecting usage by library users. It is a useful complement to the Percentage of NHS Open Athens Accounts to Headcount.  See also A note on Open Athens Statistics for a further explanation.

Desired outcomes

Improvement would be raising the ratio month on month or year on year.  If it is available the ratio can be compared to a regional average ration. An average is available for the North West region.

Improvement plans

Improvement in the ratio is the effect of the whole library effort (training, promotion, CAS etc. ) to promote us of eResources to users.  Effective promotion of  eResources should cause an increase in the ratio over time.


Reported on the Monthly Dashboard.

Reported on the Annual Report.

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021