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BEST - Benchmark Statistics Project


As research institutions increasingly mandate the provision of open access copies of members’ research outcomes, usage data is becoming important for informing policy and funding decisions, and assessing the impact of research at an individual, subject and institutional level. The reliability of this information is limited as there is no standard form of presenting and filtering the data and no service which aggregates the information across institutions to allow higher level analysis and comparisons.

The Benchmark Statistics Service (BEST) aimed to fill these gaps and allow research to be assessed at various levels to inform a wide range of decisions in the academic world. The project ran from September to December 2007, and worked with a limited number of research repositories to identify key issues and define a standard format for the presentation of repositories’ usage statistics. A set of Guiding Principles were drafted, priority queries for the service to answer identified, and a schema for the exchange of repository event information documented. This information can be built on in the full design of a pilot aggregation service.

The outcomes will be of interest to repository managers, web metrics researchers and publishers. There exists potential for comparing the kind of usage data to be examined here with citation data for assessing research impact, and this work will add to the debate that surrounds the use of online usage statistics as a surrogate for citations, and the impact of open access publication on the use of privately published works.


As much as possible, the BEST project built on existing work and standards. Of particular relevance to this phase of the project were:

Reference Group Members

  • Dr Ben Evans, ANU Supercomputing Facility
  • Dr Adrian Burton, APSR
  • Scott Yeadon, APSR
  • Chris Blackall, APSR
  • Laura Vallee, APSR
  • David Groenewegen, ARROW
  • Dr Marcus Buchhorn, Australian National University
  • Dr Linda Butler, Australian National University
  • Dr Peter Raftos, Australian National University
  • David Pearson, National Library of Australia
  • Andrew Bennett, University of Queensland
  • Belinda Weaver, University of Queensland
  • Leslie Carr, University of Southampton
  • Ross Coleman, University of Sydney
  • Philippa Stevens, University of Sydney
  • Professor Arthur Sale, University of Tasmania


Scott Yeadon

December 2007
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