City Open Access

Icon

News about City University's open access repository, philosophical musings about Open Access

Repository records now in City’s new Library Search

Over the last few months I’ve been involved in implementing Summon here at City, which we have called Library Search. One of the things we wanted to make sure we included in Library Search’s content set were repository records, and they have now been uploaded to the service’s index. You can view all repository records in Library Search, and the first hit for this search is an example of a City Research Online full text research paper coming up in a real search.

It will be very interesting to see if our download statistics improve as a result of this, and I expect that they will- presumably City users of the service will be interested in City academics’ research! You can read more about the development of this service over at our Summon at City University London blog.

Advertisements

Filed under: City Research Online, , , ,

Quick update

Just a quick post to say that we’re still here and still working on making City a more open access-friendly place! In lieu of any major pieces of news about the service, here are a couple of other places I’ve been writing. First is over at LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences blog, where I wrote with a couple of colleagues in defence of institutional repositories. Second, I’ve set up a new blog with my colleague Lucy to discuss another project that’s taking up a fair bit of time at the moment, implementing Serials Solutions’ Summon resource discovery software. One of the many advantages of Summon is that it will make City Research Online content more visible to one of our key user groups, the staff and students at City. I intend to write about repositories and web-scale resource discovery at some point, so keep an eye out if you’re interested in that.

Filed under: City Research Online, Systems, , , ,

Making City Research Online OpenAire compliant

We’ve just made City Research Online (CRO) OpenAire compliant. This means that all EU FP7 funded research added to CRO will be made available via OpenAire’s Discovery Portal, and that this research will be fully compliant with the EU’s open access mandate for FP7 funded research.

To make CRO OpenAire compliant was relatively straightforward, since the ever-helpful guys at Eprints Services did the hard work of installing the OpenAire Compliance Plug-In. It was then a matter of using OpenAire’s validation tool to ensure things were working properly, then registering CRO with OpenAire (see CRO’s entry in this list of compliant repositories). All we need to do now is work out which of our full text papers have received FP7 funding!

I’m happy that we’ve managed to do this piece of work. There is currently something of a push to get UK repositories OpenAire compliant (there has been lots of activity on the various repository email lists), since very few in the UK are at the moment. It allows us in the CRO team to offer another service to our users: if you have FP7-funded research, give the outputs to us and we will do the legwork in making it comply with the EU’s open access mandate. There is also the imminent (possible but strongly rumoured) prospect of the EU mandating Green open access for all the research it funds- and if that happens we’ll be ahead of the game in offering this service to our users.

Filed under: City Research Online, Open Access, Systems, , , , , , ,

Using City Research Online to serve papers to RePEc

One of the promises of the creation of a network of institutional repositories was that this would truly be a network, in the sense that there would be facility for appropriate transfer of material between services (I wrote about this for UKCoRR’s blog a while ago if you want more context). For example, an academic should be able to post a paper in the home repository, and also see this transferred automatically to e.g. the ArXiv.

We saw an opportunity to do this here at City when we began archiving our Department of Economics Discussion Papers Series. It soon emerged that the main point of discovery for economists looking for papers was the Repository of Papers in Economics (RePEc). The person in charge of the series had set up a page on the Economics website that pushed the papers in the series to RePEc, but this required an awful lot of maintenance, in particular ensuring that data could be transferred to RePEc in an appropriate format as RDF files.

So, we offered to take care of ensuring the series was automatically transferred from City Research Online (CRO) to RePEc. This involved some work with Eprints services and the people at RePEc to set up an area at CRO which indexed the papers as RDF files using the eprints2redif script. This is then used to push these files to City’s Department of Economics page at RePEc. The CRO RDF file-set updates overnight, meaning that additions, deletions and changes to the files therein will quickly be reflected on our RePEc page.

This will hopefully be a convenient and useful service for our economists- add your discussion paper to CRO, and it will automatically appear in RePEc! For us it’s a real win as well- we can take the administrative and technical burden off the economists’ hands, and also demonstrate that we are able to offer this kind of service to other departments. Also, it means that we should see a significant improvement in our download statistics, since the papers’ records in RePEc actually point back to full text papers in CRO when people hit the download button (see the URL to download this paper, for example). So it really is a win-win situation!

I would encourage other repository managers to have a think about this. I found the Department of Economics to be very receptive when we approached them, particularly when it became clear that we take on work they were spending time upon. There is some technical work that has to be done, but nothing that should flummox an experienced Eprints administrator. The next thing I’m going to think about is whether we can arrange something similar for our Centre for Mathematical Science, who are keen users of CRO and the aforementioned ArXiv.

Filed under: City Research Online, Systems, , , , , ,

OR2012: Microsoft Academic Search

I’ve failed fairly miserably to blog about Open Repositories 2012, but here at least is something I’ve taken from the conference to work on here at City. This was from the session on  Repositories and Microsoft Academic Search presented by Alex Wade from Microsoft, and you can see a video of this presentation here (it’s the first presentation).

Microsoft Academic Search is precisely what you might guess it to be- an academic search engine, in the vein of (e.g.) Google Scholar. Where it seems to offer added value over Google’s offering is its ability to build and enrich the data it holds, through wiki-like functionality, then to display this data in interesting ways. For example, here’s City academic Jason Dykes’ Citation Graph, showing the authors who have most often cited his work. The service also aggregates data at an institutional level- see for example City University London’s listing.

Where it gets interesting in repository terms is the ability to “seed” publication records with links to PDFs, for example those PDFs held in City Research Online, using the feature that allows you to edit the metadata of any record. I’ve experimented with doing this for the aforementioned Prof Dykes. The process is not quite wiki-like, in that there is a delay and verification before changes go live, but it seems to me that this is an easy way of pointing back to repository materials, and should also help with Google page rankings. There was also a commitment given, during Alex Wade’s presentation, that the Microsoft Academic Research team would be looking at automatically harvesting repository records to further enrich the service’s data, and to point back to the wealth of open access material held in repositories.

If anyone else has experience doing this, I’ve be very interested to hear about it!

Filed under: Search, , , , , , , ,

Stat attack!

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with monitoring the statistics for City Research Online recently, particularly Google Analytics’ Real Time functionality, which allows you to see visitors as they look at the site in real time.

Obsession aside, we’ve reached a couple of milestones in the last week or so. First, we had our first 100-download day, which weirdly enough was last Saturday the 21st of April:

April 2012 download statistics

Second, we seem to now be attracting more than 100 individual visitors day on day for the first time, which I think is indicative of the increasing amounts of traffic we’re getting via search (inevitably largely Google). I think it probably also indicates that we’re getting indexed more often and more comprehensively by the big G.

It’s also further proof that material added to City Research Online really does get found, downloaded and (presumably) read, built upon and cited.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , ,

City Research Online & electronic theses

We’ve been slowly working towards making City’s PhD theses available in City Research Online, and we’re now at the stage where we’re going to be adding a lot more full text versions of these important pieces of research. Working out these issues, and talking to PhD students about the uses made of their work, is also an opportunity to persuade early-career researchers of the benefits of open access, hopefully hooking them for the remainder of their career!

We already have some theses available (four at the time of writing) in the open access repository, thanks to PhD students getting in touch with us and passing on electronic versions. There are a few problems specifically associated with managing theses: you have to be particularly careful about how they are handled, since they represent three of more years of research, and are often intended to be published further down the line; potentially tricky issues with copyright (author permissions, 3rd party copyright) and sensitive data (commercial or personal); and the various places e-theses can both be sourced from and also end up- for example, there are already over 200 City theses held by the BL’s EThOS service, not to mention DART Europe.

I think we’ve worked through these issues to our satisfaction (or at least I’ve produced some papers on them!), and we’re now at a stage where we can recruit more content. There are two sources of e-theses we’re going to examine first. They are:

  1. A nice back-run of c. 50 we have here in the Library (on CD-ROMs!), with permissions forms all signed off. We’re going to add these, then email students to tell them we have done so.
  2. All examined theses going forward. We need to a bit more liaison to make sure that the Schools and Departments are clear with what we will do with newly received e-theses (this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone!), and it will mean that we receive c. 250 newly examined theses per year.

Once we’re comfortable with the work-flows for managing these two sets of theses (and have exhausted the former set), we can have a look at other sources, including theses currently in EThOS but not held locally. I’m also in the process of setting up EThOS automatically harvesting our content, meaning that theses deposited in City Research Online will automatically be added to EThOS- a two for one offer!

This work has taken a while to come to fruition, but it’s really pleasing to think that over time we’ll become a comprehensive source of Doctoral research produced here at City.

Filed under: City Research Online, , , , , ,

City Research Online search functionality

We’ve just launched search functionality for publications data held in City Research Online. We’ve created a dedicated search page on the Research area of City’s website, as well as a supporting page with information about the service in general. This is the first time we’ve surfaced data from Symplectic (our Current Research Information System) to the web, and it took us a while to sort it out as well as some dedicated web development time, but we’re pleased with the results.

The search has been created by using Symplectic’s Application Programming Interface (API). The API pushes out “approved” (i.e. items validated by their author(s)) publications (in the form of citations plus abstracts) to a cache. The cache is then indexed and ranked by Funnelback, City’s corporate website’s indexing tool. The indexed data is then exposed to a keyword search via the form at the page linked to above.

There are a few features of the search, and the results it creates, worth flagging:

  • We have top-ranked search results where there are full text open access papers associated with those results. See, for example, a search for Jason Dykes’ publications– you’ll note that the first 40 or so hits allow you to click through to an openly accessible paper. This was done on the rationale that people are more likely to be interested in results with papers associated (and it doesn’t hurt or download statistics!)
  • As mentioned above, the search’s index includes abstracts, where present in the publication’s metadata. This means that search terms can sometimes appear a little fuzzy, particularly when you get towards the bottom of a list of hits- see for example this page, which is the fourth page of four when searching for the term “concrete”. We’re not too worried about this, given the propensity of searchers to only look at the first couple of pages of hits for any given search.
  • The advanced search is not particularly advanced. Our web developer is going to include a date range for results, but generally we weren’t looking to re-create a City version of e.g. Scopus, so we felt that relatively few advanced search options would be adequate.
  • We still need to do a bit of re-jigging of the formatting of the main search page, for example to include some text fields after the search form, to make the layout look a bit nicer. We’ve also included the service’s Twitter stream and an RSS feed of new items on this page, to give an idea of full text content being made live.

As ever, any feedback on any aspect of this new functionality much appreciated- you can email the team at publications@city.ac.uk.

Filed under: City Research Online, Systems, , , ,

OpenURL revisited

Our Systems Librarian has been working away at integrating repository content into our OpenURL coverage database, and we’re at a stage where it looks to be working pretty well. This means that whenever someone finds an article the repository holds in a resource which supports OpenURL linkage (e.g. Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, EBSCO etc.), they will be able to find their way to the full text item in City Research Online in just a couple of clicks.

For example, here’s a search in Google Scholar for a paper in City Research Online. Next to the citation information for the first hit (which is for the article itself), and depending on whether you have access to a link resolver, you should see a link. At City, it looks like this (click on the image to see an enlarged version):

Google Scholar screenshot

Hitting that link here at City runs a query against our Web Bridge resource coverage, which confirms that the repository holds the paper, and allows you to click through to the paper itself. I would be interested to know if this works for people at other institutions with OpenURL services- please leave a comment!

To maintain the repository’s coverage of repository resources, we’re going to do a monthly coverage upload of newly added material. There are also a few bugs to iron out, and we also need to decide if we should be trying to extend coverage to other item types (primarily book chapters and conference papers), since at the moment we’ve only uploaded journal article details.

This is a great development, and goes some way to properly integrating repository material into a variety of commonly used resource discovery tools. We expect to see a lot of hits from Web Bridge in Google Analytics, and it will be interesting to see exactly how many we receive via this channel. Finally, when playing around with Google Scholar to write this post, it looks like Scholar is (finally) indexing a good proportion of our material, which should also help get our material found!

Filed under: City Research Online, Systems, , , ,

City Research Online now being (fully?) web indexed

A couple of recent developments to report. City Research Online is now being indexed in a couple of the key discovery tools for open access repository content.

The first is the Big G’s Google Scholar, which (other than Google’s all-purpose search engine, which has already fully indexed our content) is THE key tool for discovery of repository content. It looks like Scholar is currently only partially indexing the content of CRO, but over time I would expect it to crawl and index the whole thing. This is crucially important for discovery, since Scholar is often the go-to tool for researchers looking to find scholarly material, and repository material gets highly ranked in Scholar. Here is an example of a search string which returns a CRO result.

The second is a more specialised tool, the BASE search engine. Run out of the University of Bielefeld in Germany, BASE indexes content of selected institutional and subject repositories, then allows cross-searching of all this material. Therefore, if you search BASE, you can be sure you’re searching quality content from a wide number of institutional repository sources. Here’s a link to all of City’s records in BASE.

We’re going to be keeping an eye on referrer statistics from Google Analytics to see what effect this has on repository use.

Filed under: City Research Online, , , ,

About & contact details

My Tweets