IRUS (Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) is a standards-based statistics aggregation service, enabling participating institutions to share and compare information about usage of items in their institutional and research data repositories.
IRUS was initially focused on institutional repositories and then expanded to include research data repositories from 2020. The approach has also been successfully applied to other open content platforms.
Currently, statistics for both institutional and data repositories conform to Release 5 (R5) of the COUNTER Code of Practice. Usage of research data follows different patterns and so we will explore use of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data after the revised version of the COUNTER Code of Practice for Research Data has been released.
This service description outlines the three key components of the IRUS service.
- Data transmission: repository software and the Tracker protocol
- Data ingest and processing
- Access to statistics
Data transmission: repository software and the Tracker protocol
IRUS gathers raw event data using the Tracker protocol. Devised in collaboration with COUNTER, the specification of the COUNTER Release 5 IRUS Tracker is simple and straightforward.
The Tracker can be deployed via plugins and patches. There are a number of repository platforms currently offering IRUS Tracker functionality (see Implement). Each participating repository, or their platform vendor, is responsible for implementing the Tracker. Although not an onerous task, it is assumed that repositories have the requisite technical skills or access to technical support to implement this for themselves.
COUNTER Release 5 supports recording of information about metadata views in addition to downloads of full text items (Investigations and Requests).
Where repository platforms do not currently offer tracker functionality, it is anticipated that Jisc will liaise with the relevant platform provider supported by and in collaboration with the local partner and community to progress this.
Data ingest and processing
Whenever a file is downloaded from a participating repository with the tracker protocol in operation, a message is sent to the IRUS server with some details about the download. Data are filtered to remove robots, rogue usage and double clicks, and processed into COUNTER-conformant statistics. We follow the guidance in the Processing Rules for Underlying COUNTER Reporting Data in the COUNTER Release 5 Code of Practice.
IRUS has undertaken research into the use of item types in regular use by repositories, including comparing existing policies and guidelines, to define the item types to be used in the service. Over the years, amendments have been made and we continue to monitor and revise these on an ongoing basis. For relevant details view the IRUS Item types policy.
Statistics start from the point at which IRUS successfully receives data from the participating institutional repository. The ingest and processing of historical data is not included as part of the standard service, although options for incorporating historical data can be explored. Where feasible to do so, this can be provided at an additional cost if required.
Access to statistics
Usage data provided via the R5 service dates from January 2020. Repository usage statistics are accessible via the IRUS web portal, APIs and widgets.
IRUS provides a range of usage statistics reports that are COUNTER-conformant (i.e., that follow the COUNTER Code of Practice for Release 5) as well as metadata reports and views. The web portal is openly accessible.
The IRUS API enables machine to machine requests of statistics which can be embedded into repositories and web pages. An institution specific key is required to use this service. Available to participating organisations only.
The IRUS widgets enable service users to easily embed IRUS stats into their institutional repositories without the need for coding skills or technical expertise. As with the APIs, an institution specific key is required to use this feature. Available to participating organisations only.