Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore patterns and developments in the open innovation literature. Design/methodology/approach – A bibliometric analysis was performed by classifying 411 articles in a range of key attributes. Findings – Europe (61 per cent) as a region of data source was higher than all other regions together. As a unit of analysis, firm level (65 per cent) was more than all other levels together. Qualitative studies were mostly case-based, and quantitative studies were largely based on survey and panel data. Regression was a widely used analytical technique. Originality/value – The authors identified avenues to address overlooked research topics, increase cross-continental collaboration, diversity of research methods beyond case study and survey, etc. Based on findings, the authors outlined some future research directions.