Having been alerted to the existence of statistical tools for measuring usage of articles deposited in a number of Institutional Repositories, I have collected some very encouraging statistics about how IRs are being used in developing countries.
The number of IRs using this software (developed at the University of Tasmania) is limited at present, but the following sites are among those I found that record usage by date and by country:
As some examples in the table below show, the full text download usage by developing countries was very encouraging indeed. India, China, Brazil, South Africa are among the busiest user-countries, and the less scientifically advanced countries are almost all represented as you go down the usage table.
University of Otago, based in New Zealand
University of Strathclyde, based in the UK
Rhodes e-Research, based in South Africa
E-LIS, based in Italy
Period of usage
Number of records in repository
Full text downloads
. . . .and on to several hundred other countries
Encouraged, I searched other IRs and found the same story unfolding. Multiply the number of registered IRs (> 1000) by the usage figures and you can see that developing countries are using IRs a lot! ...[I]t is very encouraging to see how IRs are closing the N to S, S to N and S to S information gaps that we used to talk about. The low-cost nature of establishing IRs allows institutes in economically constrained countries to be part of the global research community, readily using and exchanging essential information....
Not only do these statistics provide a true record of the need for the research information deposited, but they even provide information on the specific research that scholars are searching, an invaluable insight into priorities for development programmes. And of course, authors will be greatly encouraged to witness usage figures of their published research, and institutes will be happy to see their organisations high on the research map.
We can earnestly hope that someone – soon – will carry out an authoritative study on the usage of IR material. This would be a magnificent contribution of value to many sectors. Perhaps someone is …?.
Peter Suber at 3/27/2008 12:00:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.