Thursday, August 19, 2010

'Shanghai Ranking' 2010: overview of methodology; Irish universities' scores

Due to the high volume of traffic following the release of the 2010 list, the website of the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2010 (Shanghai Ranking) is difficult to access at times. Data relating to the Irish universities featuring in this ranking and an overview of its methodology is provided here to provide easy access to those interested in these results. A few comments on the methodology and data sources are included...

See also:
Michaela Saisana / European Commission JRC Report (2008): Higher Education Rankings: Robustness Issues and Critical Assessment

Sample news stories:

Shanghai rankings rattle European universities

GLOBAL: US lead slips in world's top 100 universities

Our universities fail to make the world's top 200

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Date of release 8 June, 2010

We are pleased to announce the launch of RIAN, Ireland’s new national portal for Open Access to Irish published research.

RIAN is the outcome of a project to build online open access to institutional repositories in all seven Irish universities and to harvest their content to the national portal.  RIAN will significantly increase the visibility and impact of Irish research.

RIAN will act as a single point of access to national research output, and will initially contain content harvested from individual university institutional repositories and that of the Dublin Institute of Technology. The Portal will expand to harvest content from other Irish Open Access providers as the service develops.

The Irish Government has identified growth in research as critical to its future as a knowledge economy. Raising the research profile is a key strategy in the Universities strategic plans, and the ability to showcase research output and identify institutional research strengths is extremely important in attracting new investment and high quality staff.

A national network of institutional repositories will increase the exposure of national research output, and allows services, such as enhanced searching, and statistics generation, to be developed using economies of scale. RIAN will demonstrate the impact of research to potential funders, who recognise the value of wider research dissemination.

The project was managed by the Irish Universities Association Librarians' Group and is supported by the Association. The project, running from April 2007 to May 2010, was equally funded by the Universities and the Irish Government’s Strategic Innovation Fund which is administered by the Higher Education Authority.

Benefits of RIAN to Irish authors:
    * Broadens worldwide access to material
    * Increases citations for research material
    * Makes easier access to material via search engines such as Google,    Google Scholar and Yahoo
    * Raises profile of Irish researchers internationally

Benefits to Irish institutions include:
    * Provides a showcase of the institution’s research output
    * Raises the profile of the institution’s research internationally through broader access and citations
    * Increases potential for collaboration and synthesis between Irish and international researchers

Support from Irish universities:

“The development of an institutional repository to demonstrate our research activity and achievement is a central element of Trinity’s research support infrastructure. TARA  will also play a vital role in communicating the strength of Irish research to a global audience, in attracting the highest quality of research to Ireland and in enabling valuable links with industrial partners.”

Dr. John Hegarty, Provost, Trinity College Dublin.

“UCD welcomes the development of global access to Irish university research outputs which will contribute to the social, economic and cultural objectives of a knowledge society."

Dr. Hugh Brady, President UCD

"It is in the national interest to extend access to Irish research output at institutional and sectoral level so as to maximise the long-term strategic impact and thereby help develop a knowledge society."

Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, President, DCU

"The National Research Portal will increase the international profile of individual researchers and of Irish Universities and will thereby enhance the national research endeavour".

Professor Don Barry, President, University of Limerick.

“This initiative will provide a world-wide gateway to that research and build on our own institutional repository for publications.”

Professor John Hughes, President, National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

University College Cork’s institutional repository has the potential to transform the dissemination of our scholarly output and will be the point of access for these resources for future generations.”

Dr. Michael Murphy, President, University College Cork.

 “The project provides an international window on Irish Research output and NUI Galway is delighted to be part of this.”

Dr James J. Browne, Uachtar├ín – President, National University of Ireland, Galway

Monday, March 15, 2010

Trinity College Dublin to act as liaison for Ireland on pan-European Open Access project

TCD is the Irish liaison institution for a three year project to make research outputs generated under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, Open Access via the national institutional repository infrastructure. The project involves 38 partners from 27 European countries including stakeholders from academic publishing, SPARC Europe and LIBER

OpenAIRE will support the Open Access pilot established by the European Commission under FP7 requiring researchers in 7 thematic areas (Health, Energy, Environment, Information & Communication Technology, Research Infrastructures, Socio-economic sciences & Humanities and Science in Society) to deposit their research publications in an institutional or disciplinary Open Access repository. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Major upgrade to Trinity's Access to Research Archive

Trinity College Dublin’s institutional repository TARA has undergone a major upgrade to its DSpace platform. The architecture underpinning the digital collections in TARA has been transformed allowing new opportunities to enhance existing service interoperability, collection management and resource dissemination and discovery.

The collections hosted by TARA currently comprise of four strands:

  •  Research Publications
  •   E-Theses
  • Electronic Journals
  • Digital Images
The upgrade incorporated full data migration of over 10,000 items as well as replicating the separate submission workflows and metadata associated with the collection strands.

Unlike most institutional repositories TARA is fully integrated with Trinity’s Current Research Information System (CRIS) known locally as the Research Support System. Research outputs and associated metadata get passed directly into the repository from the RSS which acts as the primary point of ingest into TARA. Any edits to publication data in the RSS have to allow these changes to propagate across to any associated record in TARA. The links to open access copy hosted by TARA pass back to the RSS populating the research web pages of individual researchers and faculties and schools in the University.

The upgrade affords a number of key enhancements to TARA’s service domain which we will roll out over the coming months. These will include:

·         An enhanced statistics package
·         The ability to embargo items to comply with publisher policies regarding when copy can be made open access
·          A copy request button for items where open access dissemination is prohibited
·         A complete redesign of how content is presented in

Thanks to Stuart Lewis and the DuraSpace development team; Enovation Solutions and TCD IS Services

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

PEER Behavioural Research - Baseline report

The PEER Behavioural Research Team from Loughborough University (Department
of Information Science & LISU) has completed its behavioural baseline report,
which is based on an electronic survey of authors (and authors as users) with
more than 3000 European researchers and a series of focus groups covering the
Medical sciences; Social sciences, humanities & arts; Life sciences; and
Physical sciences & mathematics.
The objectives of the Behavioural Research within PEER are to:

-       Track trends and explain patterns of author and user behaviour in the
context of so called Green Open Access.
-       Understand the role repositories play for authors in the context of
journal publishing.
-       Understand the role repositories play for users in context of
accessing journal articles.

The baseline report outlines findings from the first phase of the research
and identifies the key themes to emerge. It also identifies priorities for
further analysis and future work. Some interesting points to emerge from the
first phase of research that may be of interest to a number of stakeholders
in the scholarly communication system include:

-       An individual’s attitude towards open access repositories may change
dependant on whether they are an author or a reader; readers being interested
in the quality of the articles but authors also focused on the reputation of
the repository itself
-       Reaching the target audience is the overwhelming motivation for
scholars to disseminate their research results and this strongly influences
their choice of journal and/or repository
-       Researchers in certain disciplines may lack confidence in making
preprints available, and to some extent this is not only a matter of
confidence in the quality of a text but also due to differences in work
organisation across research cultures (e.g. strong internal peer review of
manuscripts versus reliance on journals for peer review). Other factors are
likely to include career stage and centrality of research to the parent
-       Value-added services, such as download statistics and alert services,
would contribute to the perceived usefulness of repositories and could help
them gain popularity in what is an increasingly competitive information
-       Readers often need to go through a variety of processes to access all
the articles that they require and widespread open access may reduce the need
for this time consuming practice.

The full report is available from