KU ScholarWorks, the institutional repository for research published at the University of Kansas, has moved up in the worldwide rankings of the top institutional repositories, going from 173 in July 2009 to 91 in January 2010, according to "The Ranking Web of World repositories" published online by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain. The ranking measures the “global visibility and impact of the scientific repositories,” according to the CSIC.
In the same time period, KU ScholarWorks moved from 43 to 23 for institutional repositories in the U.S., according to data compiled from the site. This significant jump in rankings reflects the growing numbers of researchers using KU ScholarWorks, both as an online repository for their own published scholarship, and as a means of accessing that scholarship.
“KU ScholarWorks, provided to the university by KU Libraries, is a key part of the strategy to help increase the visibility of the work of KU researchers through open access to peer-reviewed journal articles and other forms of scholarship,” said Deborah Ludwig, assistant dean of collections and scholar services.
Researchers in one KU academic department illustrate the trend. “In the KU Slavic Department, we have been impressed with the wide dissemination of our work on KU ScholarWorks and its high visibility via tools such as Google Scholar,” said Dr. Marc L. Greenberg, professor and chair of the Slavic Languages and Literatures department at the University of Kansas.
“In our area, we typically publish in journals and anthologies that have a small specialist readership, but often what we have to say is of wider interest to historians, literary scholars, political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, and linguists,” Greenberg said. “Our works are now read more widely in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, as well as places we would not normally expect to be read, from Albania to Zimbabwe,” Greenberg said, “not to mention the U.S., where we have the highest number of hits.”
KU ScholarWorks tracks the number of downloads and views for each item, broken down by year and country, allowing researchers to see where interest in their work lies in a way that traditional publishing does not. Greenberg reports that the results he has seen go beyond the number of hits on a web site, however.
“One of our faculty received an invitation to give a distinguished guest lecture in Louisiana after an administrator (from a different field) had viewed her KU ScholarWorks piece on Russian culture,” Greenberg said. “Recently I found my own work cited by scholars in Japan, Germany, and Norway, and I have received e-mail from scholars in Iran, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, and Indonesia responding to my work. I attribute much of this to the availability of my work through Open Access.”
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