Open access is a scholarly publishing model that has emerged as an alternative to traditional subscription-based journal publishing. This study explores the adoption of the open access movement worldwide and the role that libraries can play in addressing those factors which are slowing its progress within developing countries. The study has drawn upon both qualitative data from a focused literature review and quantitative data from major open access platforms. The results indicate that while the open access movement is steadily gaining acceptance worldwide, the progress in developing countries within geographical areas such as Africa, Asia and Oceania is quite a bit slower. Two significant factors are the cost of publishing fees and the lack of institutional open access mandates and policies to encourage uptake. The study provides suggested strategies for academic libraries to help overcome current challenges.