On metrics

Research Data Leeds is now being tracked by altmetric.com and by IRUSdata-UK which means we can begin to actively contribute to Jisc’s R&D Project – Research data metrics for usage.

Currently any social dissemination from RDL can euphemistically be described as “extremely limited” with the only activity so far having been posted by yours truly:

We needn’t be too disheartened however given that the emphasis thus far, at Leeds and elsewhere, has been on developing infrastructure and policy, identifying and promoting best practice.

It’s also perhaps not that common for researchers to disseminate their datasets independently from their papers (or to cite others’ data?) and we should take the lead in dissemination, promoting data as a primary research output in its own right:


Research data by its nature is esoteric, and tribology (the science and technology of interacting surfaces in relative motion) is unlikely to be of wide general interest. Nevertheless there is a great deal we can do to increase the chance of discovery by specialists, by building and interacting with appropriate networks for example (a search for #tribology on twitter indicates there’s a potential networked audience) and by optimising repositories and their metadata.

One aspect to this is another Jisc project, the UK Data Discovery Service (UKDDS) which Leeds has contributed to and which is now in phase 3, during which Jisc plan to add additional research data collections into UKDSS from UK HEIs and Data Centres and also get everyone involved with the Research Data Metrics for Usage project (see recent post from Jisc’s Chris Brown).

As of yesterday we are now one of 20 repositories that have installed a plugin which pings the IRUS server with a defined OpenURL string every time an item is downloaded from the repository, and which complies with the COUNTER code of practice (thanks to Paul Needham at Cranfield for his help with this.)

Participants are listed here along with a link to the respective repositories and break down in terms of software as follows:

Platform No. of repositories No. of items Downloads to Dec 2016 Downloads in Jan so far Total downloads
DSpace 4 489 6,909 736 7,645
EPrints 11 1,668 40.667 3,705 44,370
Fedora 1 194 7,839 853 8,692
Figshare 4 149 4,806 609 5,415

It will be a little while before I can get any meaningful download stats for Research Data Leeds and in the meantime I’ll explore data for other repositories; it will also be interesting to run doi’s against the altmetric api to see if there are any high scores among them (using the method described here http://ukcorr.org/2015/06/12/ranking-altmetrics-diy/).


Author: libnsh

Research Data Management Advisor

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