All entries for October 2009

October 30, 2009

Reporting on statistics

Writing about web page

I just asked on the UKCoRR list about Google Analytics, after forwarding a link to Tony Hirst's blog, as recommended by Andy McGregor of the JISC.

The replies got me thinking about how we use the statistics that we get from GA. Some repo managers are writing regular monthly reports for managers, as blogged by the CADAIR team:

I look at the stats at least once a month, in order to write to our "top content" authors. I use that e-mail as a way of promoting WRAP to the authors, especially those who might not be aware of WRAP or that their article is in the repository. (Deposited by co-authors or administrators on their behalf.) It has resulted in raised awareness, some goodwill and conversations about WRAP but has never led directly to further deposits - yet. I have copied the heads of department in to some of these e-mails, when I know the author is already comfortable and happy with WRAP, although I've no idea whether they pay any attention to the e-mails!

What do I say to our top content authors? Here's a template, which I don't often have to vary much....

I'm writing to inform you that your paper in WRAP: (REFERENCE)

Is the most popular paper in WRAP in the last month. I'm keeping our highly read authors informed of what I can about the visitors to their content. I should point out that it is actually the record that is being visited/read, rather than the full text itself. There have been NUMBER pageviews of the record describing your paper from DATE to DATE. All visitors came from a search engine, the vast majority from Google. Most looked at the record and went away again, but some explored the subject area in WRAP.

There is a great variety of keywords that have led visitors to your paper, including the following: (LIST KEYWORDS)

Visitors came to your record from NUMBER different networks, so it is not all Warwick people looking at your work. Noticeably academic/educational networks that your visitors came from include:

The vast majority (NUMBER) of visits were from within the UK, but your paper's record had visits from....PLACES.

There have been no great peaks and troughs of activity: visits come every day and remain at or under NUMBER per day.

I did a quick Google search for PAPER'S TITLE and your paper's WRAP record is Xth in the results list.

Whilst looking at the stats I might spot something interesting, which I would usually blog about here and write to people in the library who I think ought to know: managers and subject librarians, or even our internal e-mail newsletter to all staff.

I know that our library management group are interested in big numbers, like how many pageviews there have been since we went live, from how many hundreds of countries/territories, etc. They want to illustrate the success story that we're gaining in visitors every week as we grow in content ever more rapidly! In compiling such a news piece, I might look at our growth chart on ROAR as well, or at the number of items we hold for a particular department, to provide further background information about the interesting pattern.

I also send out a "newsletter" once a term, by e-mail to people who are interested in hearing more about WRAP. I know that they're interested because I introduced an "I would like to hear more" tick box onto the deposit form and they ticked it!

Otherwise, statistics might make their way into my presentations to departments or articles that I write to raise awareness of WRAP, or onto our web pages about the repository. They are something to say when we talk about WRAP and it's important to be able to give the detail and context that they provide, to keep people interested in our work.

October 05, 2009

Theses and early draft deposit in repositories: is that publication?

Does repository deposit of a work constitute publication and as such jeopardise the chances of publication by a more prestigious/established/profitable method and another agent?

It's not really a question that I can answer yet. I am certain that repository deposit ought not to cause any problems with regard to publication elsewhere, and I have not come across evidence to prove that it would cause a problem except in one particular instance that I investigated and which I describe below. But I'd like to gather more evidence on the topic because I can't prove that it isn't a problem either!

I do not usually like authors to deposit unpublished papers to WRAP. Part of my reason for that is that we want the highest quality content we can get: if the article has been accepted for publication, then that is some measure of quality. PhD theses are obviously of high quality and a separate case in their own right from this point of view: these are added to WRAP.

Quality issues aside, if an author were to write a paper with the intention of submitting it to a journal but wanted to make it available on OA as soon as possible through repository deposit (never happened yet although we've had some that have been accepted and are forthcoming), I would advise that author to look at the journal publisher's copyright agreement that s/he would be asked to sign. I know of at least one publisher who would consider repository deposit of the paper to constitute a prior publication, thus preventing the author from being able to sign the copyright form stating that it had not previously been published elsewhere: this was the British Psychological Society, who I investigated over a year ago.

Inability to sign the standard copyright form might mean that the work could never be published in that journal or by that publisher, but alternatively the form might be amended. I expect that the publisher's position would depend upon the precise circumstances. 

It occurs to me that the matter of an early version of a paper is probably different than that of a thesis from which a book or article might be published: after all, the content would have to be substantially re-written from a thesis, whilst different versions of papers might be very similar, so a publisher might be more concerned about repository deposit of papers but not as worried about thesis deposit.

Of course, our students can opt out of their thesis being made available in WRAP, even though they do have to submit it. So, if a student was hoping to be published and was unsure of the publisher's policy then s/he could always embargo the repository version from being made available anyway.

This is a big issue, and one that needs more thought and investigation, I believe. Because I would like to be able to advise students to allow repository availability of their theses, knowing more about how publishers would react.

October 2009

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