Our institutional repository, CentAUR, hosts research outputs from the University of Reading. Users from around the world are able to access large numbers of full text articles, books, book chapters, theses etc via a combination of green open access (authors’ accepted manuscripts) and items that were published as gold open access (versions of record as on the publishers’ sites). Here’s a quick snapshot of what was added in 2021 and how users interacted with our content.
In 2021, 2,289 items were added to CentAUR, slightly down from the 2020 figure of 2,942. The number of deposits does vary year to year and the slight drop in 2021 might be due to a lull in publishing activity after the submission of the UK REF2021 possibly combined with the impact of staff changes and the training of new repository staff.
Deposits to the repository in 2021 included 1,774 journal articles (78%), 204 book chapters (9%), 59 books (3%) and 137 theses (6%). Of the journal articles, over 60% had a full text publicly available to download reflecting the adoption of gold open access across the University and the expansion of the read and publish deals available from publishers. The repository now contains over 51,400 items.
It is always interesting to look at which new items added to the repository are accessed the most. For 2021, it was a PhD thesis that took the crown of being the most downloaded item added in the same year. Dr Jo Hamilton’s thesis, entitled “Emotional Methodologies for Climate Change Engagement: towards an understanding of emotion in Civil Society Organisation (CSO)-public engagements in the UK” was downloaded almost 700 times after being added to the repository in January 2021. The thesis was accessed by researchers in 49 different countries/territories with most of the downloads originating from the USA (45%), UK (19%) and Canada (7%). Other top newcomers included: “The “other” time: a review of the subjective experience of time in organizations“ by Shipp and Jansen, “Music as a coevolved system for social bonding” by Savage et al., “Glove industry spikes during Covid-19 pandemic: a case study of Comfort Gloves Berhad (CGB)” by Dr Mandy Mok from our Malaysia campus and “Fifteen years of customer engagement research: A bibliometric and network analysis” by Hollebeek et al.
Downloads from CentAUR
For 2021, total downloads of repository items were 734,118, up from 566,147 in 2020. As the number of items available for download grows each year, you would expect the total downloads to grow year on year. However, looking at the number of downloads per downloaded item, this grew from 42.3 in 2020 to 49.5 in 2021. In 2021, 14,831 items were downloaded more than once, 8,321 items were downloaded more than 10 times and 1,613 items were downloaded more than 100 times. There were 53 items, including 44 journal articles, that were downloaded more than 1,000 times.
Using IRUS R5 COUNTER-compliant data, it is possible to track where in the world the download requests originated. For 2021, users from 229 different countries/territories downloaded items from the repository. The highest number of downloads were from the UK (23.4%), followed by the USA (15.4%), China (5.1%), India (4.2%), Germany (3.8%) and Australia (2.7%). Looking at the data on the continent level, 45.1% of downloads were from Europe, 25.2% from Asia, 18.5% from North America, 5.5% from Africa, 3.2% from Oceania and 1.9% from South America.
There’s one paper in the repository that is consistently downloaded more than others. Professor Will Hughes’ article on “What makes a good research paper“, originally published in 2001 and added to the repository in 2010, is regularly downloaded between 500 and 800 times a month, in tune with the academic year in the Northern hemisphere.
In 2021, it was downloaded over 9,500 times. In 2021, most downloads of this article were from users in the Philippines (28%), followed by users in the USA (16%) and the UK (11%).
Another notable item with high downloads was Professor Emily West and Dr Rose Knight’s article “Mothers’ milk: slavery, wet-nursing, and black and white women in the Antebellum“. This item, added to CentAUR in 2017, has now accrued over 46,500 downloads, including over 9,000 in 2021.
Some of the items with high downloads in 2021 were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, papers on air filtration technology for healthy building ventilation, recruiting personnel successfully via online interviews, Vitamin D and COVID, and on barriers to implementing e-learning all showed high downloads during 2020 and 2021.
Visitors to CentAUR
We use Google Analytics to track visits to the CentAUR repository. For 2021, the total number of visitors grew from 283,624 in 2020 to 878,148, an increase of over 200% year on year. The number of sessions and page views also grew substantially to 947,949 and 1,271,817, respectively. According to Google Analytics, almost 80% of the traffic to CentAUR was from China but visits were recorded from over 220 territories/countries.
Dr Karen Rowlett is a Research Publications Adviser in the Research Engagement team.
This blog was first published on the Opening Research at Reading Blog (ORRB).