Advocacy CORE IRUS open access OpenAIRE

IRUS-UK collaboration: consistent, comparable usage statistics to demonstrate the growth of OA

This is a guest post by Pete Dalton, Evidence Base, Birmingham City University, on behalf of the IRUS-UK team.

IRUS–UK is a standards-based statistics aggregation service, enabling UK universities to share and compare information about usage of items in their institutional repositories. Conforming to the COUNTER standard, statistics are consistent and comparable to enable benchmarking of repository usage both nationally and internationally.

Standardised usage statistics are important in order to monitor and demonstrate Open Access developments globally. In addition to providing a core service to UK institutional repositories, IRUS-UK has collaborated with other services and initiatives on an international basis to enhance the provision of COUNTER conformant usage statistics and demonstrate the benefits of standardised approaches. In this respect, IRUS-UK:

  • has pioneered development of a service that exploits use of the COUNTER standard
  • provides the ability to track the growth of usage of repository-based items on an increasingly global scale, thereby contributing to the Open Access agenda

New case studies

The IRUS-UK team have recently produced three case studies which highlight the benefits of IRUS-UK collaborations with international services and initiatives.  These are:


CORE is an aggregation of open access content from UK and worldwide repositories and open access journals. It provides a range of services including discovery, analytics, and text mining access which are used by repository managers and others.  The collaboration with IRUS-UK provides the following benefits:

  • Providing a clearer picture of usage, allowing repository managers to view combined CORE and IRUS-UK usage statistics and understand what portion of usage is through CORE and what proportion of usage level of usage is via native repositories
  • Providing a trusted source of COUNTER conformant, standards based, consistent and reliable usage data.
  • Demonstrating increased exposure and usage of institutional repository content that is harvested by CORE.

View the case study here


The OAPEN Foundation ( is a not-for-profit organisation based in the Netherlands and has its registered office at the National Library in The Hague. OAPEN is dedicated to open access, peer-reviewed books and operates two platforms, the OAPEN Library (, a central repository for hosting and disseminating OA books, and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB,, a discovery service for OA books. OAPEN works with publishers to build a quality-controlled collection of open access books, and provide services for publishers, libraries and research funders in the areas of dissemination, quality assurance and digital preservation.

The collaboration with IRUS-UK provides the following benefits:

  • OAPEN uses the IRUS service to report usage data back to its members
  • Through IRUS, OAPEN has data that is COUNTER conformant, reliable and filtered for robots and rogue usage
  • For funders and publishers whose books are available in OAPEN, it allows robust reporting, including reporting of usage at an individual author level as well as reporting on all items that a particular member has funded
  • KU Research a partner of OAPEN with a remit for research has been able to use the IRUS data to understand more about patterns of usage of Open Access ebooks.

View the case study here


OpenAIRE ( is an initiative supported by the European Commission with the general remit to implement EC Open Access and Open Data policies and mandates

The collaboration with IRUS-UK provides the following benefits:

  • IRUS-UK expertise helped OpenAIRE implement their usage statistics service and provide item type COUNTER reports for the OpenAIRE usage statistics
  • IRUS-UK represents UK repositories in OpenAIRE. Working with IRUS-UK increases the efficiency of OpenAIRE as the usage statistics from the majority of UK repositories can be gathered through the IRUS-UK API
  • both services collaborate on international committees to contribute to the ongoing standardisation of usage statistics.

View the case study here

Future Possibilities

Supported by the COUNTER standard, consistent approaches to measuring usage provide an opportunity to share data, make comparisons and realise the considerable benefits of doing so.  To this end, IRUS-UK is collaborating on an international basis to support the open access agenda and the standardisation of usage statistics.  This includes provision of the Tracker Protocol which was devised in collaboration with and endorsed by COUNTER, and involvement in pilot services in the US, Australia and New Zealand.  In addition, IRUS-UK expertise is involved in projects such as Make Data Count which aims to apply the COUNTER Code of Practice to standardise research data. The involvement of IRUS in international projects and initiatives has benefits both within particular collaborations and also in feeding lessons learned back to the UK context.

More about IRUS-UK

IRUS-UK website

Link to case studies

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