In the past seven months researchers from all over the world downloaded 90 scientific articles and 228 dissertations written by researchers at the Erasmus University … and they did so every hour! They found these articles and dissertations, together with books and book chapters, working papers, research reports, conference contributions, inaugural lectures, etcetera, on the website of RePub, the institutional repository of the EUR. In total 2,299,893 PDF-files were downloaded between October 2013 and the end of May 2014, an average of 10,313 per day. So, without exaggeration, the University Library can claim that its RePub service efficiently plays its role as the shop window for the research done at the Erasmus University.
Still work to do
At present RePub contains some 38,000 publications – substantial but far from complete. Not every author remembers to deposit a copy of his or her manuscript in the RePub mailbox as soon as an article is accepted for publication. Many interesting publications are still waiting to be included in the repository. Fortunately, RePub’s use of the Google App Engine platform guarantees seamless scalability. So, even when it is complete, and then annually growing with an average of 4,000 publications, the repository can still easily serve a much greater audience. Unfortunately, not every publication in RePub can be downloaded by everyone. Even though 55% of its content qualifies as ‘Open Access’, which is a relatively high score, still 45% of articles and book chapters produced in Rotterdam cannot be made available free of charge to everyone who is interested.
A silent service
In other words: there is room for improvement. And everyone can help. Although the repository is a service provided by the University Library, every researcher can contribute and has an interest in doing so. Needless to say that doing good research and writing interesting articles are the primary and secondary concern of all research staff. However, making results visible and accessible to as large an audience as possible, is an important complementary concern for the whole institution. Just a single illustration, produced by RePub’s “report” function, is enough to demonstrate why. It shows that since the launch of the new version of RePub in October of last year 4,592 EUR dissertations were downloaded by 64,858 unique visitors (i.e. actual, real people …) from the US alone. Perhaps even more importantly: 39,165 visitors from India downloaded a total of 3,394 different dissertations produced in Rotterdam – for free. In a sense then, the University Library provides its own “Knowledge Dissemination Service” and it does so without making too much fuzz about it – a Rotterdam tradition.
For information about Open Access and the EUR policy see Open Access, part of our Research Matters portal.
Author: Hans Brandhorst