Alistair Smith - Institutional Repositories: for scholars or for the rest of us


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How are Institutional Repositories (IRs) being used? We can get some clues from the kind of links made from the general web to IRs. Results will be presented from a project looking at the links made to the larger IRs in New Zealand; as well as three well established overseas IRs. The project examined whether links were the equivalent of formal
citations, or whether they were informal links. Formal links comprised only 1.85% of the links, indicating that IRs may not be primarily forming part of the formal research communication structure. However informal links (largely from blogs and Wikipedia) comprised 18.2% of the links made to the IRs. Subject directory links comprised almost 50% of links. These results indicate that New Zealand IRs have a useful role in making research information available to the general public, even though they do not appear to be referred to intensively by other researchers.

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Alistair Smith - Institutional Repositories: for scholars or for the rest of us

  1. 1. Institutional Repositories: for scholars, or for the rest of us? Alastair G Smith School of Information Management Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand [email_address]
  2. 2. Institutional Repositories (IRs) <ul><li>Becoming an important form of research publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Purposes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open access to research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preservation and availability of research outputs (e.g. theses) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Showcasing institution’s research output </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitating communication between researchers </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Webometrics <ul><li>Bibliometrics applied to the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional bibliometrics studies citations made to documents </li></ul><ul><li>Webometrics studies links made to documents on the Web </li></ul><ul><li>“ Web Impact Factor” a measure of the overall impact of a website </li></ul>
  4. 4. General Research Question <ul><li>Are IRs in fact contributing to research communication, and is this reflected in, for example, citation impact? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Other studies on Institutional Repositories <ul><li>Open access advantage: does having a document in an IR result in more citations? </li></ul><ul><li>Yes, but </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Varies between disciplines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May be due to earlier availability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May result in more readers, rather than more citations </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Citation study of IRs <ul><li>Seems obvious to apply citation study methods to IRs </li></ul><ul><li>But there are some issues… </li></ul>
  7. 7. Citation study of IRs: issues <ul><li>Citations may not include the information that the document was found in an IR </li></ul><ul><li>Document in IR may have multiple URLs (IR specific, persistent ... ) </li></ul><ul><li>Document in IR may differ from published version </li></ul>
  8. 8. Citation study of IRs: problems <ul><li>Problem finding appropriate tool </li></ul><ul><li>ISI, Scopus don’t search for references to an IR </li></ul><ul><li>Google Scholar indexes many IRs, but does not search for links to a specific IR </li></ul>
  9. 9. Specific research question <ul><li>What kind of links are made from the general web to IRs? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Methodology <ul><li>Used Yahoo Site Explorer (YSE) to find links to IRs </li></ul><ul><li>Investigated nature of links, rather than numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Classified links as formal, informal, subject </li></ul>
  11. 11. Institutional Repositories <ul><li>New Zealand </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Auckland University of Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lincoln University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Auckland </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Canterbury </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Otago </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Victoria University of Wellington </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waikato University </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Overseas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Australian National University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Queensland University of Technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Southampton </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Yahoo Site Explorer <ul><li>Offered the best facilities for searching for inlinks to a particular site at time of research </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a list of sites that link to a given website </li></ul><ul><li>Allows the list of linking pages to be downloaded to a spreadsheet </li></ul>
  13. 13. Yahoo Site Explorer interface
  14. 14. Using Yahoo Site Explorer <ul><li>Excluded links from within IR subdomain </li></ul><ul><li>Sample of 100 links to each repository were classified </li></ul>
  15. 15. Classification scheme <ul><li>Based on Kousha & Thelwall, 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal : Formally cited research in journals, conference proceedings, online magazine etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informal : links from blogs, Wikipedia, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self publicity : link from author’s website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject/directory links : link from general or subject specific web directory, or from directory of IRs </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Results Formal research links: equivalent to citations 2% Informal research links: links from sources that do not have print equivalents 18% Directory links: made to documents because of their informational value 50%
  17. 17. Impact factors <ul><li>Research IF : formal and informal links made from other documents to the research content ; divided by number of documents in IR </li></ul><ul><li>Subject IF : all links made to IR documents because of their information value, including subject directories ; divided by number of documents in IR </li></ul>
  18. 18. Impact factor comparison
  19. 19. Observations <ul><li>Few links are formal citations </li></ul><ul><li>Larger, more mature IRs (ANU, QUT, Soton) have higher proportions of formal, informal, and significant links </li></ul><ul><li>High impact factors for QUT and Soton: due to mandatory deposit of publications? </li></ul><ul><li>In less mature IRs, impact can be influenced by a few well linked articles </li></ul>
  20. 20. Influence of single document on small server
  21. 21. Public access to research <ul><li>Study of the carbon produced in producing and transporting food linked from blogs and Wikipedia </li></ul><ul><li>Study of bias in football refereeing linked from sports blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Significant numbers of links to IRs from Wikipedia </li></ul>
  22. 22. Wikipedia reference
  23. 23. Football refereeing paper
  24. 24. Implications for research <ul><li>YSE covers general web – further study needed of links from research web, and from research blogs </li></ul><ul><li>As IRs mature, there may be more conventional citations to them </li></ul><ul><li>Citations should identify if a document in an IR was the version consulted </li></ul>
  25. 25. Implications for IR managers <ul><li>Institutions with high coverage of output achieve high impact factors </li></ul><ul><li>Value of IRs may be in making research available to general public, rather than to scholars </li></ul>