Evidence Base conducted the IRUS-UK Community Survey from January to March this year. The survey is sent to IRUS-UK members for a number of reasons. It is an evaluation of the resource and the team behind it. It a form of communication with the IRUS-UK members and it is a great way to get ideas for the future development of the resource.
This year we had some particularly interesting results, some of the questions were more open than in previous years, and that meant that IRUS-UK members could express their thoughts about repository usage statistics gathering in a general way, telling us all about the issues that they face. Some common barriers to collecting repository statistics are:
- Unreliability of statistics from the repository’s software packages
- The need to provide and report statistics in greater depth and details to institutions’ management
- Issues surrounding the use of statistics without context – a lack of understanding from some people reading the statistics
Pleasingly, many of the people who told us about these issues also told us that IRUS-UK is already helping to overcome these barriers.
“Down barriers!” by Oleg Afonin is licensed under CC BY 2.0
It is doing this because it has:
- Reliable and authoritative statistics and comparable data
- High quality support from the IRUS-UK team
- An easy to use system
Some useful suggestions for the development of IRUS-UK were made, including having more data visualisations with enhanced features and additional reports with increased downloading options.
The boring statistics about IRUS-UK were as follows:
- 85% of respondents were “very” or “fairly” satisfied with IRUS-UK
- 79% of respondents felt IRUS-UK has improved their statistical reporting
- 63% of respondents consider that IRUS-UK has enabled reporting that they could not do previously
- 60% of respondents use IRUS-UK for identifying trends and patterns
When asked if they would recommend IRUS-UK to a colleague, the majority of respondents said that they would.
The IRUS-UK team are currently working on how and when these things can be added to IRUS UK. For the report, follow this link: http://irus.mimas.ac.uk/documents/IRUS-UK_Annual_Community_Survey_March_2018.pdf
Another of Evidence Base’s regular tasks is to compile and send out the IRUS-UK user survey. IRUS-UK is a Jisc community driven resource for Institutional Repositories in the UK. When a repository becomes a member of IRUS-UK the IRUS team collects the usage data of items that have been deposited in that repository and processes the data into COUNTER compliant statistics. I have promised to write a blog about COUNTER and I apologise for not doing it yet, in the meantime follow this Link to find out more about the project and the code of practice. The benefit to repositories is that they then have validated usage data about the work that has been deposited which can be compared with other standardised data.
The annual survey ensures that the IRUS team are developing IRUS-UK to suit the needs of the Institutional Repository community and a great deal of attention is paid to the feedback that is received. Sometimes it is not possible to implement a suggestion, sometimes it takes time to make a change, but each suggestion in considered thoughtfully and steps are taken to improve the website and the service.
This year we found out that IRUS-UK is mostly used for identifying trends and patterns of usage. It is used least for SCONUL reporting. Other uses for IRUS-UK include:
- Awareness raising
- Checking records
- Tweeting about statistics
- Advocacy with researchers
I particularly like the idea of tweeting about the statistics. It is good to boast on twitter that a certain document has been accessed. Especially as I have just found out through IRUS-UK that one of my articles has been downloaded 185 times.
The IRUS-UK community consider that the most useful reports are Repository Statistics and Item Reports. Most people thought that IRUS-UK provided value because of the reliable and accurate counter compliant statistics, because it helps benchmarking and reporting and it helps to compare data. Moreover, it saves a lot of staff time.
Some of the best things about IRUS-UK are:
- It is easy to use and access
- It is good at archiving Statistics
- The community support is great
There were some requests for some new features such as some quick guides to reports, some more case studies and some bite sized videos to demonstrate how to use the reports. Members also wanted more data visualisations -sometimes only a picture will tell the story – and there was a request that IRUS-UK becomes Mobile friendly.
These and other suggestions are now under consideration by the team . Keep looking at IRUS-UK to see how it develops. And Thank You to the institutional repository staff out there that took the time to complete the survey.