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My repository is being aggregated: a blessing or a curse?


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Usage statistics are frequently used by repositories to justify their value to the management who
decide about the funding to support the repository infrastructure. Another reason for collecting usage statistics at
repositories is the increased use of webometrics in the process of assessing the impact of publications and
researchers. Consequently, one of the worries repositories sometimes have about their content being aggregated
is that they feel aggregations have a detrimental effect on the accuracy of statistics they collect. They believe
that this potential decrease in reported usage can negatively influence the funding provided by their own
institutions. This raises the fundamental question of whether repositories should allow aggregators to harvest
their metadata and content. In this paper, we discuss the benefits of allowing content aggregations harvest
repository content and investigate how to overcome the drawbacks.

Published in: Internet, Technology, Design
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My repository is being aggregated: a blessing or a curse?

  1. 1. 1/22 My repository is being aggregated: a blessing or a curse? Petr Knoth CORE (Connecting REpositories) Knowledge Media institute The Open University @petrknoth Open Repositories 2014 Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2. 2/22 Some interesting quotes about aggregations It seems as though when we like it we call it “curation,” and when we don’t we call it “aggregation.” or-not-aggregation-is-part-of-the-future-of-media/ "Aggregators and Google News are, to us, the worst offenders. They make money by living off the sweat of our brow.”
  3. 3. 3/22 OR ?
  4. 4. 4/22 repositories aggregators The ecosystem
  5. 5. 5/22 repositories aggregators The use cases Enrichment & harmonisation Data input Data management Analytics Search & discovery Programmable (machine-to-machine) access Mutually beneficial ecosystem!
  6. 6. 6/22 repositories aggregators The problem ? The aggregators have a negative impact on our usage statistics. We are improving the discoverability of the repository content and increasing its reuse potential.
  7. 7. 7/22 repositories aggregators A shortsighted solution to the problem Access denied to aggregators
  8. 8. 8/22 repositories aggregators A shortsighted solution to the problem Access denied to aggregators Typically achieved using the Robots Exclusion Protocol (robots.txt)
  9. 9. 9/22 Can be done selectively: OK * Not allowed repositories aggregators A shortsighted solution to the problem Access denied to aggregators Typically achieved using the Robots Exclusion Protocol (robots.txt) For example: - Arch1m3r in Franc3 - OTH3S in Austr1a - 3uras1a journals in Turk3y
  10. 10. 10/22 The open access paradox “Open access content is more open for exploitation by commercial services than by not for profit public services.”
  11. 11. 11/22 Is protectionism legal? Groom (2004) suggests it might be illegal as it, among other things, triggers concerns of unfair competition.
  12. 12. 12/22 The mission of repositories according to SPARC (Crow, 2002) “… the primary goal of repositories is to open and disseminate research outputs to a worldwide audience …”
  13. 13. 13/22 SPARC’s position paper on IRs “For the repository to provide access to the broader research community, users outside the university must be able to find and retrieve information from the repository. Therefore, institutional repository systems must be able to support interoperability in order to provide access via multiple search engines and other discovery tools. An institution does not necessarily need to implement searching and indexing functionality to satisfy this demand: it could simply maintain and expose metadata, allowing other services to harvest and search the content. This simplicity lowers the barrier to repository operation for many institutions, as it only requires a file system to hold the content and the ability to create and share metadata with external systems.”
  14. 14. 14/22 COAR: About harvesting and aggregations … “Each individual repository is of limited value for research: the real power of Open Access lies in the possibility of connecting and tying together repositories, which is why we need interoperability. In order to create a seamless layer of content through connected repositories from around the world, Open Access relies on interoperability, the ability for systems to communicate with each other and pass information back and forth in a usable format. Interoperability allows us to exploit today's computational power so that we can aggregate, data mine, create new tools and services, and generate new knowledge from repository content.’’ [COAR manifesto]
  15. 15. 15/22 What is Open Access exactly? By “open access” to [peer-reviewed research literature], we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. [BOAI, 2002]
  16. 16. 16/22 Open Access = Access + Reuse
  17. 17. 17/22 Multiple copies of content • It would not be right to stop copying of content, as multiple copies mean: • Better preservation • Higher availability • Lower network latency • Increased visibility • Higher re-use opportunities • Keeping the market free from monopoly • Researchers like copying of content
  18. 18. 18/22 Solution • Aggregators must support repositories and help them to fulfill their mission • Repositories must stop believing they are the only access point for open access content (this includes both gold and green OA) • Aggregators must implement reasonable measures to help repositories get accurate benchmarks.
  19. 19. 19/22 repositories aggregators The solution ? usage monitoring service
  20. 20. 20/22 IRUS-CORE implementation
  21. 21. 21/22 Conclusions • It is possible to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem for both repositories and aggregators • Open Access is not just about access, but also reuse - encouraging multiple copies of content. • The primary role of repositories is to disseminate not to become a single access point • Repositories and aggregators each serve largely a different audience. • Aggregators should implement mechanisms to give credit to repositories.
  22. 22. 22/22 Thank you!