Open Science is becoming the default in Europe and researchers are getting unprecedented access to the full corpus of research for analysis, text and data mining, and other new research methods. […]
Open science is ushering in a new paradigm for research, one in which all researchers have unprecedented access to the full corpus of research for analysis, text and data mining, and […]
The post A joint strategy to strengthen the European Repository Network just launched appeared first on SPARC Europe.
Guest article by Ralf Toepfer, Lisa Schäfer and Olaf Siegert
Back in 2009, the ZBW launched its disciplinary Open Access repository EconStor. Now in 2022, it provides more than 240,000 academic papers from the economics and business studies disciplines, coming from over 600 institutions and about 1000 single authors worldwide. All papers are available in Open Access. After thirteen years of developing and connecting EconStor we thought, it was high time to hear from our research community, what they think about the repository and its services.
In this short report, we would like to present the results of a user survey we conducted this year. First, we will give some background information about the survey and how it was conducted. Then we describe who the actual respondents were. Last but not least, we present some results on specific aspects of the survey.
The idea to conduct a survey came up in a brainstorm meeting of the EconStor team in 2020. Our aim was to address the following topics:
- Satisfaction of the research community with EconStor,
- Environment analysis (which other tools are used in economic research?),
- Special look at our authors (who is uploading papers on EconStor?),
- Suggestions for further development.
Since we are no survey experts, we knew, we would have to rely on some external assistance. This was provided from two sides: First, our ZBW marketing team, who had conducted surveys on other issues before. And second, from a course of students in library and information science at the HAW -Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (German). Their professor, Petra Düren, contacted us in spring 2021 to ask for practical examples regarding user surveys. We decided to organise an international EconStor user survey together at the start of 2022. We developed the questionnaire and used Limesurvey as our tool for the survey. After some pretesting, we were ready to start.
The survey was conducted between the 10th and the 24th of January 2022. We promoted it via the EconStor website and through mailings among researchers in Germany and abroad. Overall, we received 756 responses, of which 441 were fully completed questionnaires.
Profile of respondents
Most of the respondents came from Europe (87%): Half of them (45%) was based in Germany, other major European countries were Italy (16%), Spain (5%) and France (4%). From the rest of the world about 3% overall came from the United States and 3% from Australia.
Regarding their affiliations, most respondents were coming from universities (78%), another 10% were from universities of applied sciences and 6% from non-university research organisations. The rest mainly came from central banks or the private sector.
With regard to the age of the participants, we received fairly even answers from different age groups according to the academic career span: i.e. 9% were younger than 30 years, 45% were between 30 and 49 years and 56% were 50 years or older. Looking at their academic status, 58% were professors, 20% were researchers or postdocs and 18% were PhD Students (see illustration 1).
Regarding the scientific disciplines, most of the respondents came from the field of economics (65%) or business studies (25%), the remaining 10 % were allocated to neighbouring disciplines such as sociology, political studies, statistics or geography.
Results of the EconStor survey
The survey addressed various aspects of the use of EconStor such as awareness and familiarity of the services, usage of searching and browsing options, evaluation of the services and suggestions for improvement. In the following, we briefly present some key results.
Usage & environment analysis
The majority of respondents have known EconStor for more than three years, but there are differences by discipline, as researchers in economics are aware of EconStor longer than their colleagues in business studies (see Illustration 2).
In terms of usage, almost half of the respondents use EconStor at least once a month and about 14% even weekly, indicating that the majority of respondents are quite familiar with the platform.
About one third of the respondents from the field of economics first discovered EconStor via RePEc, while most researchers from business studies became aware of EconStor via Google Scholar. This is in line with the answers given concerning the use of other platforms the researchers use to access economic papers, where besides ResearchGate, Google Scholar, RePEc and SSRN are mentioned.
Coincidently ResearchGate and to a lesser extent RePEc and SSRN are the most used platforms to distribute research papers in economics and business studies. Researchers also consider their own research institution important for disseminating their papers. This suggests that institutional repositories are still relevant even if large disciplinary and interdisciplinary platforms exist.
Searching & browsing
EconStor provides several options to navigate through the website. Users can find papers by searching specifically for individual titles or by using the browsing function to view documents sorted by institution, type of document, author, etc. Considering the answers given, searching and browsing options are not very important. Only about 50% of respondents even use the options provided by EconStor. One of the respondents wrote, “I search for papers mostly via Google or Google Scholar, where I may find EconStor papers. It did not occur to me to search on EconStor itself, or to explore its functionality.” This answer seems to describe the typical use case of EconStor accurately. Our monthly usage statistics tell the same story: Researchers use EconStor primarily as a source to get the full text after searching databases or using search engines.
Self-upload & quality management
More than 600 institutions use EconStor to disseminate their publications. Authors can also upload their papers themselves, although this feature is reserved for Ph.D. researchers in economics and business studies at academic institutions. After registering, authors can upload working papers as well as journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, etc. The majority of about 55% of the respondents did not know about this option. However, of the authors who actively use the self-upload feature, more than 95% are satisfied or even very satisfied with the self-upload process.
Once a paper is uploaded, the EconStor team checks several points for quality assurance: namely plagiarism check, personal requirements for registration, document type, journal listing in Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and formal checks of the paper. About two thirds of the authors appreciate this quality assurance measures. The plagiarism check and formal check are most important to them.
Evaluation of other EconStor services
EconStor provides some more services than the self-upload feature or the searching and browsing options. To the EconStor users the most important other services are the distribution service and the provision of download statistics. The distribution service includes distribution to search engines like Google, Google Scholar or BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine) and to academic databases like WorldCat, OpenAire and EconBiz . More than 90 % of the respondents agree that these two services are important for their work. The possibility to export metadata and to link papers with their underlying research data are relevant too, but to a lesser extent.
Overall evaluation of EconStor
More than 95% of the respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with EconStor and its services overall. This applies to the two research areas of economics and business studies.
About 67% of the respondents feel sufficiently informed about the services on the EconStor website. While this is by no means a bad result, there is room for improvement. Some respondents for example suggest providing a newsletter informing about new content indexed in EconStor.
Suggestions for improving EconStor
54 respondents were kind enough to share their views on possible improvements to EconStor. The suggestions ranged from the desire for higher visibility or awareness of EconStor and the desire for more information about the product to suggestions for improving individual functions.
Conclusions on the 2022 EconStor survey
Overall, the researchers evaluated EconStor very positively. In particular, users who have known the service for several years and those who actively use the self-upload feature are very satisfied with it. Its users perceive EconStor primarily as a full-text source that can discovered via search engines, while its own search and browsing functions are less well known. The environment analysis shows differences between researchers from economics on the one side and business studies on the other, e.g. regarding the relevance of RePEc or ResearchGate. The potential for greater use could be tapped through stronger marketing (including promotion of the self-upload service) and through supplementary services.
The EconStor team very much appreciates the answers and opinions provided. This will help us to make EconStor even better. As a first response, we have created two promotional videos, one regarding EconStor in general, and the other one regarding the self-uploading process in particular. Other improvements will follow soon.
This could also interest you:
- EconStor Website
- Video: EconStor in general: Key facts about EconStor
- Video: Self-uploading process: How to upload a paper to EconStor
- Publishing in Repositories
- Open Access: Is It Fostering Epistemic Injustice?
- Third-Party Material in Open Access Monographs: How Far-Reaching is the Creative Commons Licence Really?
- Science Checker: Open Access and Artificial Intelligence Help Verify Claims
- Interview: Open Access Preprints Boost Article Citations and Mentions
- Academic Journals: How Open Access, Peer Review and the like are Shaping New Journal Concepts
- Executive Summary on the Use and Importance of Repositories (German, PDF)
- Video: Second Publication Rights for Researchers (German)
- Repositories as Tools for Comprehensive Research Data Management (German)
- Repositories, Usage Data and Statistics (German)
About the authors:
Ralf Toepfer works in the Publication Services Department of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, where he is responsible for discipline-specific services for the management of economic research data, among other things. You can also find him on Mastodon.
Portrait: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied
Lisa Schäfer has been supporting various Open Access transformation projects at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics since 2020.
Portrait: Lisa Schäfer©
Olaf Siegert is head of the Publication Services department and Open Access Representative of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. He is involved with open access as part of his work at the ZBW and is also active for the Leibniz Association, where he represents the Leibniz Open Access working group in external committees. He is involved in the Alliance of Science Organisations in the working group Scientific Publication System and at Science Europe for the Leibniz Association.
The post EconStor Survey 2022: Repository Registers Satisfied Users, but More Marketing Efforts Needed first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.
Interview with Nina Weisweiler and Heinz Pampel – Helmholtz Open Science Office
The Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data) was established ten years ago. Today, the platform is the most comprehensive source of information regarding research data – global and cross-disciplinary in scope – and is used by researchers, research organisations, and publishers around the world. In the present interview, Nina Weisweiler and Heinz Pampel from the Helmholtz Open Science Office report on its genesis and plans for the service’s future.
What were the most important milestones in ten years of re3data?
Heinz Pampel: I first introduced the idea of developing a directory of research data repositories in 2010 in the Electronic Publishing working group of the German Initiative for Networked Information (DINI). A consortium of institutions was soon created that made a proposal to the German Research Foundation (DFG) in April 2011 to develop the “re3data – Registry of Research Data Repositories” The initiating institutions were the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the Helmholtz Open Science Office at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. The proposal was approved in September 2011. We started developing the registry in the same year. As a first step, a metadata schema to describe digital repositories for research data was created. In spring 2012, we came into contact with a similar initiative at Purdue University in the USA, known as “Databib”.
The idea of combining both projects soon developed, in dialogue with Databib. After the conception and implementation phase, this cooperation and internationalisation was decisive for re3data. Many stakeholders on an international level supported it. After Databib and re3data had merged, the service was continued as a partner of DataCite. Up until today, various third party funded projects support the continuous development of the service – currently “re3data COREF” for example, a project Nina Weisweiler manages here at the Helmholtz Open Science Office.
What makes re3data so unique for you?
Nina Weisweiler: re3data is the largest directory for research data repositories and is used and recommended by researchers, funding organisations, publishers, scientific institutions as well as other infrastructures around the world. It not only covers individual research fields and regions, it also targets the holistic mapping of the repository landscape for research data.
With re3data, we are actively supporting a culture of sharing and transparent handling of research data management, thereby encouraging the realisation of Open Science at an international level. re3data ensures that the sharing of data and the infrastructural work in the field of research data management receives more visibility and recognition.
In terms of Open Science, why is re3data so important?
Heinz Pampel: The core idea of re3data was always to support scientists in their handling of research data. re3data helps researchers to search for and to identify suitable infrastructures for storage and for making digital research data accessible. For this reason, many academic institutions and funding organisations, but also publishers and scholarly journals, have firmly anchored re3data in their policies. Furthermore, diverse stakeholders reuse data from re3data for their community services, for example regarding the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). The data retrieved from re3data are also increasingly used to monitor the landscape of digital information structures. Particularly in information science, researchers use re3data for analyses relating to the development of Open Science.
In your birthday post on the DataCite blog, you write that inclusivity is one of your aims. How do you want to achieve it? How do you manage, for example, to record repositories in other regions of the world? Isn’t the language barrier a problem?
Nina Weisweiler: Yes, the language barrier is a challenge of course. We responded to this challenge early on by establishing an international editorial board. There are experts on this board who check the entries in re3data, and who kindly support the service and promote it in their respective region. Furthermore, re3data collaborates with numerous stakeholders to improve the indexing of repositories outside Europe and the United States.
We are active members of the internationally focussed Research Data Alliance (RDA) and regularly exchange information with national initiatives as well as other services and stakeholders with whom we develop and intensify partnerships. For example, we are currently working with the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, in order to improve the quality of the entries of Canadian repositories.
Are you planning to offer re3data in other languages apart from English?
Nina Weisweiler: In the comprehensive metadata schema, which is used in re3data for the description of research data repositories, the names and descriptions can be added in any language. Basically, the team discusses the topic of multilingualism a lot. We try to design the service as openly and as internationally as possible. In this, we depend on the languages our editors speak in order to guarantee the quality of the datasets. Thanks to our international team, we were able to incorporate many infrastructures that are being operated in China or India for example.
How can the success of re3data be measured?
Nina Weisweiler: We consider the numerous recommendations and the wide reuse of our service as the central measurement factors for the success of re3data. Important funding organisations such as the European Commission (PDF), the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) recommend that researchers use the service to implement these organisations’ Open Science requirements. re3data also provides information to the Open Science Monitor of the European Commission as well as to OpenAIRE’s Open Science Observatory. The European Research Council (ERC) also refers to re3data in its recommendations for Open Science.
Furthermore, on the re3data website, we also document references that mention or recommend the service. Based on this collection, our colleague Dorothea Strecker from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has made an exciting analysis that we have published in the re3data COREF project blog.
Do you know if there are also companies like publishers that use re3data as a basis for chargeable services?
Heinz Pampel: Yes. We decided on an Open Data policy when starting the service. re3data metadata are available for reuse as public domain, via CC0. Any interested party can use it via the API. Various publishers and companies in the field of scholarly information are already using re3data metadata for their services. Without this open availability of re3data metadata, several commercial services would certainly be less advanced in this field. We are sure that the advantage of Open Data ultimately outweighs the disadvantages.
re3data has many filters and functions. Which of them is your personal favourite?
Nina Weisweiler: I like the diverse browsing options, particularly the map view, which visualises the countries where institutions that are involved in the operation of the repositories are located. We have published a blog post on this topic that is well worth reading.
I am also enthusiastic about the facetted filter search, which allows for targeted searches across the almost 3,000 repository entries. At first glance, this search mode appears to be very detailed and perhaps somewhat challenging, but thanks to the exact representation of our comprehensive metadata schema in the filter facets, users can use it to search for and find a suitable repository according to their individual criteria and needs.
For technically savvy users, who would like reuse our data to prepare their own analyses, we have developed a special “treat” in the context of COREF. The colleagues at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and KIT have designed inspiring examples for the use of the re3data API, which are published in our GitHub repository as Jupyter Notebooks. If anyone has any queries about these examples, we would be delighted to help!
What’s more, in re3data you can also have metrics illustrated, which provide a clear overview of the current landscape of the research data repositories.
In a perfect world, where will re3data be in the year 2032?
Nina Weisweiler: I have the following vision: re3data is a high-quality and complete global directory for research data repositories from all academic disciplines. The composition of our team and our partners reflects this internationalism. We are thereby able to continue to increase coverage in regions from which not many infrastructures have yet been recorded.
Researchers, funders, publishers, and scientific institutions use the directory to reliably find the most suitable repositories und portals for their individual requirements. re3data is closely networked with further infrastructures for research data. In this way it supports an interconnected worldwide system of FAIR research data. Scientific communities use re3data actively and contribute to ensuring that the entries are current and complete.
Through greater awareness of the importance of Open Research Data and a corresponding remuneration of activities in the field of research data management, more scientists are motivated to research and publish in line with Open Science principles.publizieren.
What’s more: In re3data, datasets can be very easily updated via the link “Submit a change request” in a repository entry. We are also always delighted to receive information about new repositories. Simply fill out the “Suggest” form on our website.
This text has been translated from German.
This might also interest you:
- Website re3data
- re3data on Twitter
- FAQ regarding re3data
- re3data Community Driven Open Reference for Research Data Repositories (COREF) Project
- Happy 10th Anniversary, re3data!
- Poster „Celebrating 10 Years of re3data – The Registry of Research Data Repositories
- Website Helmholtz Open Science
- Entry re3data in the Open Economics Guide
- Video tip “Relevante Repositorien finden – Forschungsdaten suchen & nachnutzen” (German)
- More Awareness Through Open Research Data: How to Find a FAIR Repository
We were talking to:
Nina Weisweiler, Open Science Officer at the Helmholtz Open Science Office where she is working on the re3data COREF project. You can also find her on Twitter, ORCID and Linkedin
Portrait: Nina Weisweiler©
Usually referred to as simply, the OAI protocol, Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), currently in version 2.0, defines a mechanism for data providers to expose their metadata. It collects the metadata descriptions of the records in an archive so that services can be built using metadata from many archives. Dublin Core metadata record, which is used with OAI-PMH protocol, can describe physical resources such as books, digital materials such as video, sound, image, or text files, and composite media like web pages. In simple terms, the protocol allows people to harvest metadata from digital libraries, repositories or reading platforms.
Over time, Open Archives program has expanded to promote broad access to digital resources for eScholarship, eLearning, and eScience. Accordingly, the implementation of OAI protocol ensures the increasing number of users, and a more wide accessibility with increased benefits towards scholars, researchers, students, libraries, universities and other academic institutions.
With the OAI-PMH protocol and these means of exposing structured metadata, InTech as a Data Provider allows Service Providers such as citation indexes, scientific search engines, scholarly databases, and scientific literature collections to harvest the metadata from our repository and thus make our publications available to a broader academic public.
Some of the databases, repositories and search engines that provide services based on metadata that is harvested using the OAI metadata harvesting protocol are:
- BASE – Bielefeld Academic Search Engine
- The Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies
- Citebase Search
- Public Knowledge Project
- Scientific Commons
(The image is obtained from http://wiki.cetis.ac.uk/images/9/9d/OAI-PMH_overview.png)