Research
22 Feb 2010

Open University online research repository gets one million visitors

Open Research Online (ORO), the Open University’s online research repository, has had one million visits. After only three and a half years, ORO is currently ranked the fourth best higher education repository in the UK by the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), having been launched in September 2006 as part of the ‘open access movement’ to make peer-reviewed research free to readers.

ORO has over 12,000 research articles across a range of subjects and around 8,000 people visit it each week. The repository is one of the many ways in which the OU gives free access to education. Others include OpenLearn, which offers courses free online and has just had 10 million visits, and the OU albums on iTunes U, which have had 14 million downloads.

Professor Brigid Heywood, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the OU, said: “Our repository is going from strength to strength. Not only does this highlight the quality of research papers made available on the site, but it also shows that a committed policy of open access brings both opportunity and benefits to a wide community.”

The top three most-viewed items* on ORO are currently: Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction (edited by Jenny Preece, Yvonne Rogers and Helen Sharp); Marketing: Concepts and Strategies (Sally Dibb, Lyndon Simkin, William M Pride, and O.C. Ferrell); and Ageism (Bill Bytheway) in The Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing (edited by Malcolm L Johnson, Vern L Bengtson, Peter G Coleman, and Thomas B L Kirkwood).

Colin Smith, manager of ORO, said: “When I took on the job of managing ORO in July 2008, I set us the target to reach one million visitors by the summer of 2011, three years down the road. This was a realistic projection based on the numbers ORO had been attracting thus far. So, it has certainly been a pleasant surprise for me to see ORO achieve this target in around half that time, and I really do see it as reflecting the rising importance of institutional repositories in providing access to scholarly research worldwide, as well as the individual qualities which ORO itself brings to the arena. There is no doubt in my mind that ORO is helping to put OU research firmly on the map.”
ENDS

*Most-viewed paper since July 2008 when the repository software was enhanced to record not just overall visitor numbers, but a breakdown showing which papers have been visited.

Notes to editors
Research at The Open University
• The Open University climbed 23 places to 43rd in the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), securing a place in the UK’s top 50 higher education institutions. Results showed that more than 50% of the University’s research is internationally excellent (3*), with a significant proportion world-leading (4*).
• The latest edition of the Open University’s Research Highlights brochure can be downloaded from: www.open.ac.uk/research/research-highlights

Open Research Online (ORO)
• ORO can be found at: http://oro.open.ac.uk.
• Around 30,000 people from approximately 170 different countries visit the repository each month.
• ORO operates a self-archiving model, with academics depositing work and the ORO team checking and verifying the research before making it live.

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