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Usage reporting and metrics

Page history last edited by vanderfeesten@surf.nl 13 years, 4 months ago

Map version


Usage reporting and metrics systems


General website usage tools (not specifically developed for OA repositories)


Google Analytics


Google's package for logging usage (page views) of all pages in a website. Not specifically developed for repositories, but a number of repositories use it for reporting usage.




Website usage analytical package. Aims to be a rival to Google Analytics.


AW stats


An open source web logfile analyser, measuring page views. Not specifically developed for repositories, but a number of repositories use it for reporting usage.



OA repository-specific tools


BEST (Benchmark Statistics Service)


Australian project not yet completed: planned handover to APSR cancelled but future plan is to resume work under ANDS (Australian National Data Service) or similar.


SURF-SURE (Statics on the Usage of REpositories)


This project contains software that can convert the log files of academic repositories into OpenURL Context Object Files (see KE guidelines) and which can transfer these standardised usage events to a central database, using OAI-PMH.

(An complementary part yet to come available; Statistics Web Service software. Input: Logfiles. Output: API services eg. COUNTER reports) 


DSpace Statistics


IRS (Interoperable Repository Statistics)


Developed in Southampton, usable on EPrints and DSpace repositories. JISC-funded project: output is an API for collecting download data.




A DINI-funded project with four university project partners. The project's aim is to develop a pilot service for the project partners. It focuses on infrastructural issues rather than developing metrics. The central German OA organisation, OA Network, will collaborate by carrying out various tasks, such as deduplication, and will cooperate with OA-Statistik to provide a common user interface for seaerching repositories and delivering usage statistics.




LogEc collects usage statistics from 5 collections of economics papers and merges them to produce a monthly report. Measures full-text downloads as well as page/abstract views.


Journal usage reporting



Project COUNTER established standard reporting formats for publishers to use when providing journal usage figures to libraries.



SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) harvests and aggregates usage reports (e.g. COUNTER-compliant reports). Provides the means for libraries to merge COUNTER data from different sources to get a better overall picture.


Usage Factor


Joint effort of the United Kingdom Serials Group (UKSG) and COUNTER to establish a Journal Usage Factor based on COUNTER data.



Current projects


MESUR (Metrics from Scholarly Usage of Resources)


MESUR is a Mellon-funded project carried out at LANL and was due to end in October 2008. It has already reported on two outputs:

  • semantic model of the scholarly communication process
  • large-scale semantic store that relates a wide range of bibliographic, citation and usage data

A further output (not yet reported) is to define and validate a range of usage-based metrics (to include both frequency-based and network-based metrics) and to produce a set of guidelines and recommendations.


PIRUS (Publisher and IR Usage Statistics)


PIRUS is a JISC-funded project ending in December 2008. Its aim is to develop COUNTER-compliant usage reports at the individual article level that can be implemented by any entity (publisher, aggregator, IR, etc.,) that hosts online journal articles and will enable the usage of research outputs to be recorded, reported and consolidated at a global level in a standard way. The final report is not yet published.


ROAT(Repository Output Assessment Tools)

ROAT is a project funded by NII (National Institute of Informatics in Japan). Its aim is to develop a tool to produce COUNTER-compliant usage reports at the article level to assess the repository output (downloads) in a standard way. This tool will be able to be applied to almost all the repository platforms (those built on Apache).


SURF-SURE (Statics on the Usage of REpositories)


In SURFshare’s “SURE” project (Statistics on the Usage of REpositories), arrangements have been agreed on regarding statistics for consultation and downloading of publications in repositories. A central database has also been developed that collects, analyses, and presents log data. This makes it possible for the NARCIS research portal to present user statistics for each publication so that the data for the various different repositories can be compared.


Work on Usage statistics


Knowledge Exchange organised workshops and cross project (COUNTERPIRUS,  OA StatistikSURE statisticsRePec and NeeO) debate to address the usage and interoperability of statistics regarding the retrieval of scholarly information (e.g. from repositories) and discover the value of statistics as a tool in measuring the value of Open Access. Usage statistics are an invaluable tool to measure the impact of developments in the area of Open Access repositories and National Licenses.

These workshops resulted in a briefing paper on the Value of Usage Statistics called "Combined usage statistics as a basis for Research intelligence" and an agreed set of "Guidelines for the exchange of Usage Statistics".



Most systems so far count downloads only, which can give a false picture with respect to usage (e.g. unintentional downloads - double-clicks, forgotten previous downloads, etc).

Web statistics packages are page-aware, not item-aware so it is difficult to attribute specific bibliographic information (e.g. an author) to the data.

Web log analysis systems may miss downloads (e.g. the institutional cache may deliver to a new requester without the request being re-logged; RSS feeds may be aggregated and cached so that requests are served by the aggregator and not by the IR).

No system yet devised to measure actual user behaviour. For example:

  • behaviour after downloading (e.g. read, read/discard, store without reading)
  • readers may use email alerts themselves as a current awareness system without interacting with the IR at all


Issues to flag

  • Granularity of data
  • Aggregation of data (articles to journal level, chapters to book level, authors to department level, etc)
  • Policies on sharing data (between IRs, between aggregators, etc)
  • Data audit and quality assurance; agreed standards
  • Aggregation of data from IRs with data from other sources (arXiv, PMC, publisher data)
  • Deduplication


Further information

Scholze, F. (2007) Measuring research impact in an open access environment. http://elib.uni-stuttgart.de/opus/volltexte/2007/3234/

Merk C and Windisch NK (2008) JISC usage statistics review: final report. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/digitalrepositories2007/usagestatisticsreview.aspx

DRIVER Guidelines 2.0. Guidelines for content providers: exposing textual resources with OAI-PMH (annex 8, p131). http://www.driver-support.eu/documents/DRIVER_Guidelines_v2_Final_2008-11-13.pdf

Future directions?

Leo Waaijers has produced a report for the Knowledge Exchange (a partnership of JISC, SURF, DFG and DEFF in the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark respectively).  The report outlines some possible future directions in these areas - and others.  It is currently being considered by the Knowledge Exchange partners and further work may be commissioned.  The report is here.

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