Open Access News

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Systematically gathering and disseminating repository usage data

Christine Merk and Nils K. Windisch, Usage Statistics Review: Final report, JISC, September 24, 2008.  (Thanks to the JISC Information Environment Team.)  Excerpt:

The JISC Usage Statistics Review Project is aimed at formulating a fundamental scheme for repository log files and at proposing a standard for their aggregation to provide meaningful and comparable item-level usage statistics for electronic documents like e.g. research papers and scientific resources....

[U]sage events should be exchanged in the form of OpenURL Context Objects using OAI....

With the JISC-funded Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics (PIRUS) project and the DFG-funded Open-Access-Statistics there are two projects which will formulate standards for usage statistics and work on their implementation in the future. To reach broad comparability, national efforts should be bundled together. A central authority which could for example be the Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research (DRIVER) should aggregate the usage data....

Policies on statistics should be formulated for the repository community as well as the publishing community. Information about statistics policies should be available on services like OpenDOAR and RoMEO....

It was discussed whether usage statistics should be open access and if yes to what extent. There was a common understanding that the raw data should not be publicly available as privacy might easily be breached. Only strictly regulated access for research should be possible.

Less consent was reached about the status of the usage statistics. Many repositories are on the one hand part of the Open Access movement and therefore do not want to contradict its ideals. On the other hand, the infrastructure for the services has to be financed. Usage statistics would be a valuable service. They can be used for research evaluation and they are the precondition for the introduction of recommender systems. A third option besides a freely available or a fee-based service is a partially publicly available service. Basic measures can be made open access while the access to more sophisticated measures and recommender systems can be restricted....