These are conclusions from a survey of the Top 100 MOST POPULAR downloads from Edinburgh Research Explorer in August 2019, it contains some VERY obvious biases and doesn’t reflect the breadth, depth, or usefulness of the repository as a whole; and shows that whilst OPEN ACCESS can reach a wider audience, it can also be ignored by a wider audience.
1. STEER CLEAR OF SCIENCE
Research items from science-related schools made up 18% of the Top 100, dropping to 12% in the Top 50 and 0% in the Top 10.
2. DON’T COLLABORATE
With each additional author, the number of items and the average number of downloads decreased.
3. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WRITE IN ENGLISH, BUT IT HELPS
In the Top 100, one item was written in Italian, the remainder in English:
that was also one of only five items that month, that failed to find an audience outwith the UK.
4. GO OPEN-ACCESS
8 of the Top 100 items didn’t offer Open-Access Permissions, they averaged 25% fewer downloads than the overall average.
We are pleased to announce that the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA) has recently had a lot of work done to improve it’s looks, add new functionality and clean up some of our collections data.
For those of you who are not familiar with ERA it is is a digital repository of original research produced at The University of Edinburgh. The repository contains documents written by, or affiliated with, academic authors, or units, based at Edinburgh that have sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by the Library, but which are not controlled by commercial publishers. Holdings include around 27,000 full-text digital doctoral theses, 1,500 masters dissertations, and numerous other project reports, briefing papers and out-of-print materials. In October 2019 we recorded 223,000 visitors to ERA who downloaded 51,984 items.
Details of some of the improvements are listed below:
The DSpace platform was upgraded from version 4.2 to 6.3
Visual redesign and styling ERA to make it more appealing
New functionality to assign DOIs to deposited items
Change scanning metadata information to be stored in dc.relation.ispartof and not dc.subject.
Log-in expiry time
Set login expiry time to an hour.
Go from yyyy-mm-dd to dd-mm-yyyy
Move Edit Item button up, to the top of the bar, customise drop down list to have most used elements at the top.
Default language boxes
Give “en” as default to language boxes.
Of all the new improvements I am most excited about the new functionality to assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to items deposited in ERA. All new items will be automatically assigned a DOI, and we will investigate how to do this for the rest of the nearly 35,000 items already online.
The first half of 2019 saw the fifth highest total of downloads from ERA over a six-month period, unfortunately this is the lowest total of its ‘mature’ phase (since Jan-Jun 2017 download numbers have been consistently higher than 300,000 per 6-month block).
More disappointingly, this is the first time in ERAs history that we’ve witnessed a fall-off in numbers in two consecutive blocks: December 2018 saw a 15% decline and June 2109 has brought a further decline of 6.5%.
The remainder of this report aims to offer an overview of the last six-months of download activity on the Edinburgh Research Archive. Using data generated through the IRUS-UK download statistics portal to investigate that activity under the following headings: