Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Q & A for Plenary Session 3

Q: I am an academic and I build robots. I do this because I want information but you have described what I do as damaging. I do not threaten copyright but it is difficult to download information responsibly from publisher websites

A (Ian Bannerman): I'm sorry I gave that impression. Robots do distort statistics though. The type of usage you use it is legitimate and good and there is work for publishers to do. But if it is measured as human use there is a real issue.

A (Richard Gedye, Oxford Journals (Chair of Session)): we are looking at this in COUNTER and the issues raised by federated searches etc.

Q (for Herbert Van de Sompel): is there not a place for simple usable metrics for people to use

A (Herbert Van de Sompel): they should not be simple but usable - we should know what they are about. We don't really know what they're all about. It is really early days in the study of usage indicators so we are trying to get a grasp on this issue. We won't get out of the two year project with a set of simple metrics to use but we should have some ideas and some valid caveats about using them. A real distinction between a research project as oppossed to launching a metric and being stuck with it for years.

A (Richard Gedye, Oxford Journals (Chair of Session)): Yes we see Herberts work as almost a Which? Guide to Usage Statistics that can be taken forward to build the type of simple metrics for practical usage.

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