Since open universities can adapt to students’ work schedules, personal preferences, age, and so on, they have facilitated access to education for a large group of people. The open university phenomenon, which arose in the 1960s, fostered countries’ cultural growth; higher education was now longer exclusively for a privileged few. This paper presents a bibliometric study on the existing scientific output on open universities throughout the last 40 years. A bespoke methodology of bibliometric studies has been used, by setting key descriptors to be consulted in the most prestigious scientific database Web of Science. The sample was composed of 809 papers in total, indexed in prestigious journals and published during the period 1969 to 2018. The output, scattering, and impact bibliometric indicators were analysed in those papers. Among the results obtained, it was found that scientific output on open universities is in a phase of exponential growth, in which 2015 was the most productive year. Furthermore, the UK, where the phenomenon of open universities started, is the country with the most scientific output. Finally, the bibliometric study of the output indexed in the Web of Science shows a panoramic vision of the past, present, and future of open universities, emphasising the idea that this phenomenon is continuing to grow.
- open universities,
- higher education,
- bibliometric analysis,
- scientific output
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