Re: New Ranking of Central and Institutional Repositories

From: Arthur Sale <>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 08:38:45 +1100

Steve and Isidro

There are two points about links. The main point about links is that
they are hardly used. Over 75% of entries to an average institutional
repository comes from an out-of-repository search engine. The small
number of uses of the in-repository search are by the local
repository community. Entry by following links established by prior
search or browse are more scattered, but in our case are easily
dominated by accessing links from the University Library website.
Next comes accesses by medical students from a med student website to
our most popular document - a psychiatry textbook. I assert that none
of these are critical to a repository's success.

I also note that my evidence points to people bookmarking a useful
paper, rather than going to the trouble of writing it in a
web-accessible page. The exceptions, as I noted before, are
hyperlinks from the university's own bureaucracy, such as corporate
staff pages, and the research website. For example all my papers are
linked to from the research website. My publications are accessed via
link to a browse by name facility. I suspect that only very few
follow these links, which seems to be borne out by the evidence from
the logs.

Please note that I am not against using inward-bound links as one
component of a rich set of metrics. It should be in there. But giving
it a 50% weighting is absurd! 10% is more reasonable a priori. This
brings me to the second point: Repositories were not set up to
provide linkage, and if they were to be in the deep web apart from
being harvestable, their utility would be only slightly weakened.

Indeed this is exactly the situation with most of the PhD thesis
repositories in Australia. The federated site is open to the Web, and
a very few thesis sites like my university's, but most university
repositories are simply in the deep web, accessed only by the
federated harvester. This is the Australasian Digital Theses Program,
also listed in the Webometrics top 200. I haven't heard 30+
universities complaining about the loss of links.

Arthur Sale
Professor of Computer Science
University of Tasmania

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> I.ORG] On Behalf Of Steve Hitchcock
> Sent: Tuesday, 12 February 2008 11:44 PM
> Ranking of Central and Institutional Repositories
> I agree with most of Arthur's points, especially with regard
> to activity and download measures, but I'm puzzled by his
> comments about link-based visibility. He may be criticising
> the method of calculation or its use in the overall
> factoring, but in principle links seem a relevant measure for
> repositories and one that should be factored in.
Received on Tue Feb 12 2008 - 23:55:18 GMT

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