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The increase of charge mobility in transparent conductive indium molybdenum oxide (IMO) films is correlated with the presence of hydroxyl groups. The introduction of H-2 in the chamber during sputtering deposition compensates the excess charge introduced by cationic Mo doping of indium oxide either by oxygen or hydroxyl interstitials. Films present a linear increase of carrier mobility correlated with H-2 content only after vacuum annealing. This behavior is explained because vacuum annealing favors the removal of oxygen interstitials over that of hydroxyl groups. Since hydroxyl groups offer lower effective charge and smaller lattice distortions than those associated with interstitial oxygen, this compensation mechanism offers the conditions for the observed increase in mobility. Additionally, the short-range order around molybdenum is evaluated by extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy, showing that Moo -1 is placed at the In site of the indium oxide. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.