About the author
I am currently working as a business analyst within the Library, at the University of Southern Queensland. I have enjoyed working with the Australian Institutional Repository (IR) community for many years on projects such as CAIRSS and RUBRIC (Tim McCallum – LinkedIn).
I need your feedback!
I have recently been involved in discussions around the importance of citations and improving the discoverability of Australian research outputs which seem timely as Open Access Week fast approaches.
It would be great if there was a project which serviced the IR community, determining the extent to which records within a given repository are being indexed by Google Scholar and other academic search engines. This would be similar to the service CAIRSS provided between the IR community and the ARC during SEER testing.
Ultimately I would hope that we could collectively improve the competitiveness of Australian Universities in the World University Rankings where citations carry a weight of 30%.
Please read on for more info, I need your ideas and feedback!
Search engine optimization (SEO)
I am passionately devouring SEO documentation and putting it into practice. The WordPress blog you are reading holds first position ranking within Google when asked “how to open task manager on windows rdp session”. The blog post consists of only 34 words and has managed to trump millions of competing web pages for many many years. The reason I tell you this, is that it is puzzling; meaning, it’s OK if you don’t fully understand SEO. There are no silly questions.
We are about to discuss the discoverability of research output. It is important that we have mentioned SEO, as you must remember that it refers to the natural ranking of general content on the web, encompassing all search engines like Bing and Yahoo, not just Google and is not designed for scholarly output per se. In case you are interested, there are a plethora of documents online including Google’s SEO starter guide as well as videos by Google’s very own Matt Cutts which explain SEO in great detail.
When referring to the discoverability of research output or scholarly articles we use the term inclusion and not the term SEO. Google Scholar provide comprehensive inclusion guidelines that govern whether your website is harvested and visible. Understanding inclusion and building a compliant and visible website is no mean feat.
Does my website comply?
Google Scholar do provide recommendations for IR software solutions as well as technical guidelines which can be followed, however to my knowledge there is no Google Scholar API which is capable of providing feedback on inclusion. I have written a program which cross references the items in a given repository with the items in Google Scholar but I am unable to run the program, respectfully abiding by Google Scholar’s terms of service which ask that we “don’t interfere with our Services or try to access them using a method other than the interface and the instructions that we provide”.
Your ideas and comments
I have learned from talking to other IR professionals during international conferences that we are privileged to have such a collaborative community. Please share your ideas and comments.
Update: Your ideas and comments are written up in PART 2 of this blog