Metric aspect: User registration - library members and OpenAthens registrations

North West Ambulance Service LKS, Matt Holland.

Metric Definition

Percentage of NHS Open Athens Accounts to Headcount.


This metric uses NHS Open Athens as a proxy for user engagement to estimate the percentage of trust staff (FTE) who are potentially engaged with the Library and its eResources.

Calculate by (Number of Accounts / Headcount) * 100. For example, (2000 / 5000) * 100 = 40%

Why is it important?

Strategies and Plans

Achieving a higher penetration of NHS Open Athens accounts can 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 number of NHS Open Athens Accounts can be sourced from the front page of the Open Athens Administrative module. Typically, you can record the number on the 01 of the month for a monthly presentation and an average of the previous 12 months for an annual percentage. For the annual percentage figure, you might also take the last recorded number for the period reported, e.g. 01 of April each year. Be sure to make clear how the number you used was derived.

The number of employees is sourced from NHS Digital, NHS Hospital & Community Health Service (HCHS) monthly workforce statistics. See December 2016 Provisional Statistics.

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


Trusts have different strategies for registering staff. 1) Staff may elect to have NHS Open Athens Accounts or be given them on contacting the Library, or, 2) be given an account on joining the Trust.  Either strategy will effect the statistics and their comparability with other Trusts.  Another limitation is the imperfect match between accounts and current staff.  For example, unexpired accounts still on the system for staff who have left your organisation.

If you can identify a specific group of staff who have Open Athens Accounts, such as doctors, and a comparable headcount you can run this metric for these discrete groups.


This metric can be repeated monthly or annually.


Any NHS Trust can create this metric.

What does it mean?

This is a simple, easy to understand metric.  Broadly the more NHS Open Athens registrations the more Trust staff have engaged with the library, at least registering for an account.  For services without a physical library such as NWAS LKS, this is a useful measure of activity where other measures, for example physical visits to the library, are not available.   See also A note on Open Athens Statistics.

Desired outcomes

This metric works best against a benchmark.   For example, setting a benchmark to say 25% of Trust members will have registered for an NHS Open Athens account.  Achieving this Benchmark or consistently exceeding it provides a measure against which to assess improvement.  NWAS LKS sets a Benchmark of 25%.

Improvement plans

Raising the percentage of Open Athens registrations is an objective in the NWAS LKS strategy. The means to achieve it are set out in the NWAS LKS marketing plan and the metric is reported in the monthly dashboard.  Messages about Open Athens are included in all the libraries communications, article in newsletters, meeting with students and with those running internal courses.  The whole effort is aimed at a year on year increase in Open Athens registrations and/or to exceed the benchmark of 25% of staff registered.


Reported on the Library Monthly Dashboard.

Reported on the Library Annual Report.

The data is presented in the Annual Report, plotting the monthly percentage for the previous 12 months.

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021