Important feedback from Tim Brody, one of the developers of EPrints:

Begin forwarded message:

From: Tim Brody <>
Date: February 17, 2012 6:33:22 AM EST
Subject: [EP-tech] Re: Google Scholar discoverability of repository content

Hi All,

Here is some specific advice for existing repository administrators from
Google Scholar:

As far as I'm aware there isn't anyone running EPrints 2 now, so
EPrints-based repositories are already (and for a long) the "best in
class" for Google Scholar.

Right, this paper ...

Table 1 is irrelevant and misleading. Scholar links first to the
publisher and, only if there is no publisher link, directly to the IR
version. That's a policy decision on the part of Scholar and nothing to
do with IRs.

Table 2 gives us some useful data. The headline rate for EPrints is 88%
(based on CalTech). Unfortunately the authors haven't provided an
analysis of what happened to the missing records. I've done a quick
random sample of CalTech and I suspect the missing records will consist
1) Non-OA/non-full-text records (I'm sure a query to the CalTech
repository admin could supply the data).
2) A percentage of PDFs that Scholar won't be able to parse. CalTech
contains some old (1950s), scanned PDFs from Journals. Where the article
isn't at the top of the page Scholar will struggle to parse the
title/authors/abstract and therefore won't be able to match it to their
records e.g.

The remainder of the paper describes the authors' process of fixing
their own IR (based on CONTENTdm).

The authors then wrongly conclude:

"Despite GSs endorsement of three software packages, the surveys
conducted for this paper demonstrates that software is not a deciding
factor for indexing ratio in GS. Each of the three recommended software
packages showed good indexing ratios for some repositories and poor
ratios for others."

The authors looked at one instance of EPrints and, despite being a
relatively old version, found 88% of its records indexed in GS.

It is unfortunate that this paper has suggested that IR software in
general is poorly indexed in GS. On the contrary, some badly implemented
IR software is poorly indexed in GS.

After all that is said, the most critical factor to IR visibility is
having (BOAI definition) open access content. Hiding content behind
search forms, click-throughs and other things that emphasise the IR at
the expense of the content will hurt your visibility.

Lastly, Google will index your metadata-only records while Google
Scholar is looking for full-texts. Your GS/Google ratio will approximate
how many of your records have an attached open access PDF (.doc etc).

Tim Brody
(EPrints Developer)

On Wed, 2012-02-15 at 11:31 +0000, Stevan Harnad wrote:
Can we enhance the google-scholar discoverability of EPrints (and
DSpace) repositories?

Kenning Arlitsch, Patrick Shawn OBrien, (2012) "Invisible Institutional
Repositories: Addressing the Low Indexing Ratios of IRs in Google
Scholar", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 30 Iss: 1

Purpose - Google Scholar has difficulty indexing the contents of
institutional repositories, and the authors hypothesize the reason is
that most repositories use Dublin Core, which cannot express
bibliographic citation information adequately for academic papers.
Google Scholar makes specific recommendations for repositories,
including the use of publishing industry metadata schemas over Dublin
Core. This paper tests a theory that transforming metadata schemas in
institutional repositories will lead to increased indexing by Google

Design/methodology/approach - The authors conducted two surveys of
institutional and disciplinary repositories across the United States,
using different methodologies. They also conducted three pilot projects
that transformed the metadata of a subset of papers from USpace, the
University of Utah's institutional repository, and examined the results
of Google Scholar's explicit harvests.

Findings - Repositories that use GS recommended metadata schemas and
express them in HTML meta tags experienced significantly higher indexing
ratios. The ease with which search engine crawlers can navigate a
repository also seems to affect indexing ratio. The second and third
metadata transformation pilot projects at Utah were successful,
ultimately achieving an indexing ratio of greater than 90%.
Research limitations/implications - The second survey was limited to
forty titles from each of seven repositories, for a total of 280 titles.
A larger survey that covers more repositories may be useful.

Practical implications - Institutional repositories are achieving
significant mass, and the rate of author citations from those
repositories may affect university rankings. Lack of visibility in
Google Scholar, however, will limit the ability of IRs to play a more
significant role in those citation rates.
Originality/value - Little or no research has been published about
improving the indexing ratio of institutional repositories in Google
Scholar. The authors believe that they are the first to address the
possibility of transforming IR metadata to improve indexing ratios in
Google Scholar.
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