IRUS-UK has long been one of the stars in the Jisc service portfolio – offering a simple service (reliable COUNTER-compliant repository download metrics) to just under one hundred UK research repositories. IRUS is a platform-neutral service that allows reliable comparison and benchmarking between ePrints, dSpace and Fedora based repositories – with more being added on an as-needed basis. The service has allowed institutions and repository managers to demonstrate the impact and value of their work, and to plan and grow their own activity. And that’s why we’ve been working to extend it to the emerging world of research data, via our fledgling pilot service IRUSdataUK.
There’s no reason you couldn’t plug IRUS-UK into any kind of repository – and indeed, the current landscape of mixed-use research repositories is represented amongst current users. But to optimise the IRUS platform for the emerging world of research data repositories, we’ve made one fundamental change: to measure the number of downloads at a file rather than an item level, helping the system make the best sense of the huge, multi-part datasets that can make up a single deposit. Other changes will follow as we gain a better understanding of the way statistics are being used.
Most repository platforms are happy to offer their own download statistics. What IRUS offers over and above these is the ability to filter out some of the “noise” that makes it harder to get a sense of what is actually happening: multiple clicks, incomplete downloads, and the growing range of web robots that repeatedly and randomly follow download links.
IRUS, via COUNTER, has a standardised way of dealing with these issues – for instance by sharing information on robots across numerous repositories around the world it can very easily identify and blacklist repeat offenders.
Of course, whereas IRUS-UK has focused on institutional repositories, data workflows in some disciplines involve depositing to subject specific repositories. For the IRUSdataUK pilot service, we’re delighted to be working with the UK Data Service (UKDS) – which stores and shares data relating to ESRC funded projects – as a test site. As of December 2015, their download data is being passed via our experimental IRUS instance. And, of course, where data has a DOI, we can combine records for instances in multiple places.
We already in discussion with a small number of universities (and subject repositories) to increase our range of IRUSdataUK pilot sites and will be looking to expand this over the early part of 2016. So do keep an eye on this blog for opportunities to get involved.
And of course, Jisc subscribers can sign up to IRUS-UK simply by sending an email.