Improving the discoverability and web impact of open repositories: techniques and evaluation

Macgregor, George (2019) Improving the discoverability and web impact of open repositories: techniques and evaluation. Code4Lib Journal (43). ISSN 1940-5758

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    Abstract

    In this contribution we experiment with a suite of repository adjustments and improvements performed on Strathprints, the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, institutional repository powered by EPrints 3.3.13. These adjustments were designed to support improved repository web visibility and user engagement, thereby improving usage. Although the experiments were performed on EPrints it is thought that most of the adopted improvements are equally applicable to any other repository platform. Following preliminary results reported elsewhere, and using Strathprints as a case study, this paper outlines the approaches implemented, reports on comparative search traffic data and usage metrics, and delivers conclusions on the efficacy of the techniques implemented. The evaluation provides persuasive evidence that specific enhancements to technical aspects of a repository can result in significant improvements to repository visibility, resulting in a greater web impact and consequent increases in content usage. COUNTER usage grew by 33% and traffic to Strathprints from Google and Google Scholar was found to increase by 63% and 99% respectively. Other insights from the evaluation are also explored. The results are likely to positively inform the work of repository practitioners and open scientists.