Session 7: Usage

This part of the conference ended with two excellent and very different presentations on measuring the usage and impact of scholarly output.

Tim Brody, from the University of Southampton, discussed his work developing IRStats, a tool to measure the use and impact of open access repositories. IRStats has been developed to answers questions such as, “What is Professor Smith’s most downloaded paper?” and “Who is the most highly downloaded author in Mathematics?” Existing tools such as Google Analytics and AWStats, don’t offer this level of detail, which can be useful for both strategically placing the repository as an important tool in the University and as a service to both individual scholars and departments. IRStats is available for EPrints and I intend to try it in our repository.

The final presentation was by Johan Bollen, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He took off from where Tim left us and discussed a much larger scale project called MESUR. This project also attempts to measure the impact of scholarly output by analysing metrics from usage data. It differs to the IRStats project in both its methodology and scale, combining the evaluation of usage, citation and bibliographic data. By analysing this data, they’ve produced some fascinating graphs which show the relationships between academic disciplines. This is a project I look forward to learning more about.

As I mentioned, this was the last session in this part of the conference. The next day-and-a-half, I will be attending an EPrints User Group Session, where I hope to learn more about the new version of EPrints, the experience people had of the RAE excercise and repository analytics. There’s also a couple of training and support sessions which will be useful.