This post was contributed by Kenning Arlitsch, Dean, Montana State University Library, with input from Patrick OBrien (Semantic Web Research Director, Montana State University), Jeff Mixter (Software Engineer, OCLC), Jonathan Wheeler (Data Curation Librarian, University of New Mexico), and Leila Sterman (Scholarly Communication Librarian, Montana State University). Learn more about RAMP at ramp.montana.edu.
Academic libraries have long struggled to report the use and value of institutional repositories (IR), in part because web analytics tools are insufficient for the task. The two common methods of analyzing web traffic to IR tend to either dramatically undercount file downloads (page tagging tools like Google Analytics are intended to count HTML page views) or over-count (server logs are heavily polluted by non-human robot traffic, which can comprise up to 85% of traffic to IR).
Montana State University and its partners (OCLC Research, the University of New Mexico, and the Association of Research Libraries) have developed a free web service called the Repository Analytics & Metrics Portal (RAMP), which generates accurate reports of file downloads from IR. RAMP requires no local installation, and can be configured in less than ten minutes. Nearly 30 repositories have subscribed to RAMP as of December 2017, and each repository has full access to its own data.
In addition to serving as a tool that provides accurate measurement of file downloads, RAMP is also compiling a large, open dataset that is unique and offers rich research opportunities to the IR community. These include the ability to evaluate the scholarly record across IR, conduct gap analysis studies, diagnose search engine indexing and positioning problems, improve IR metadata, and more.
RAMP was developed with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.