To ensure the full benefits of open access (OA) research are realised, it must be made easy to find and use. But simply placing research outputs in an institutional repository is not enough.
You can take steps to raise the visibility of your institution’s repository and help ensure users can find and use relevant content.
Measuring the reach of research is a valuable way for institutions to demonstrate impact, as required for example for the research excellence framework (REF). Being able to track and benchmark usage can help identify trends within your own repository and your research, and compare performance with other institutions.
What you can do
Ensure your repository is discoverable
In order to ensure that content in your repository can be found, register it with OpenDOAR, an authoritative listing of academic repositories. Every repository listed has been evaluated and described to include details such as subject area, content type, country and language. This means users can search for the most relevant repository.
Once registered with OpenDOAR, your repository can be picked up by other services such as CORE, which aggregates OA content, benefiting those whose content is used and increasing its impact. As well as offering a web-based search engine, it also provides programmable access to metadata and full-text for text mining.
Search engines, such as Google, provide guidelines on taking steps to ensure your content can be accessed. Our guidance on making Google searches work for you has some helpful resources to get started.
Make your content discoverable and usable
RIOXX records also include a licence statement, so readers know what they can do with the content. We provide support to help you implement RIOXX.
Create a policy for your repository
Having a clear policy on what is available in your repository, how it can be re-used and what commitments you make to preserve it, makes it more likely that others will use your content.
OpenDOAR provides a tool to support the development of a repository policy.
Encourage repository use
You can make it easier for your staff and students to make the most of repository content by providing different methods of accessing content on your own website.
Customised search and analysis tools can be created using the CORE index and its application programming interface (API). Potential uses include text mining, linking publications to research data and citation analysis.
CORE also provides a repository plugin, which provides recommendations on related publications to users.
To encourage use of material within your repository consider implementing a copy request button. This allows individual researchers to request a copy of an article even though it may not be available open access, for example due to a publisher’s embargo.
Track and benchmark usage
Knowing how many people are accessing your repository provides valuable evidence of potential impact.
IRUS-UK provides standards-based download statistics, which can be used to report to institutional managers, researchers and research funders.
You can use IRUS-UK to compare how your repository, and research, is doing compared to your peer institutions. To use this service, install the IRUS tracker plugin on your repository.
These case studies describe various use cases for IRUS-UK, including reporting, benchmarking and advocacy.
- 1 Considered to be the most sustainable method in the long term, and recommended by the Finch report, the gold route involves publishing in a fully open access journal or website. Read more in our quick guide: an introduction to open access - https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/an-introduction-to-open-access