Enhancing content discovery of open repositories : an analytics-based evaluation of repository optimizations

Macgregor, George (2020) Enhancing content discovery of open repositories : an analytics-based evaluation of repository optimizations. Publications, 8 (1). 8. ISSN 2304-6775

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    Abstract

    Ensuring open repositories fulfil the discovery needs of both human and machine users 1 is of growing importance and essential to validate the continued relevance of open repositories 2 to users, and as nodes within open scholarly communication infrastructure. Following positive 3 preliminary results reported elsewhere, this submission analyses the longer-term impact of a series 4 of discovery optimization approaches deployed on an open repository. These approaches were 5 designed to enhance content discovery and user engagement, thereby improving content usage. 6 Using Strathprints, the University of Strathclyde repository as a case study, this article will briefly 7 review the techniques and technical changes implemented and evaluate the impact of these changes by 8 studying analytics relating to web impact, COUNTER usage and web traffic over a 4-year period. The 9 principal contribution of the article is to report on the insights this longitudinal dataset provides about 10 repository visibility and discoverability, and to deliver robust conclusions which can inform similar 11 strategies at other institutions. Analysis of the unique longitudinal dataset provides persuasive 12 evidence that specific enhancements to the technical configuration of a repository can generate 13 substantial improvements in its content discovery potential and ergo its content usage, especially 14 over several years. In this case study COUNTER usage grew by 62%. Increases in Google ‘impressions’ 15 (266%) and ‘clicks’ (104%) were a notable finding too, with high levels of statistical significance found 16 in the correlation between clicks and usage (t = 14.30, df = 11, p < 0.0005). Web traffic to Strathprints 17 from Google and Google Scholar (GS) was found to increase significantly with growth on some metrics 18 exceeding 1300%. Although some of these results warrant further research, the article nevertheless 19 demonstrates the link between repository optimization and the need for open repositories to assume 20 a proactive development path, especially one that prioritises web impact and discovery.