Collecting Various Usage and Impact Metrics for Open Access Books


OPERAS metrics service aims at providing a reliable, accurate, and standardized metrics service across open access book publishing platforms, with the overall objective to achieve a comprehensive and transparent mechanism to collect and aggregate usage metrics from third-party platforms. In this presentation we will present the main features of this service, and how it was conceived to measure to leverage book statistics in an efficient way.


OPERAS metrics service has been developed within the framework of HIRMEOS, a project funded by the European Union. The service is designed to be neutral in terms of types of measurement: it does not adopt one particular metric but collects existing ones and aims at providing information to the user on the metrics that are displayed alongside the books, by referring to a namespace and a specific website. Therefore, OPERAS metrics service focusses more on the usage and representation of metrics than on the technical development of new types of metrics.

Results and discussion

Ubiquity Press (UP) developed an altmetrics service and a citation metrics service. The software that collects the altmetrics and citations runs in their servers, and a public API was provided for publishers to register DOIs, and then perform requests to the API to obtain the metrics per DOI. Open Book Publishers provided partners with a software to collect metrics from the different platforms (e.g. Google Books, Open Edition, etc.), an Open Standard format to enable the upload of statistics from other platforms, and an API to enable metrics upload/query.

Knowledge Unlatched provided a dashboard built for partners to visualize and interrogate usage data from a variety of sources. The dashboard is capable of displaying usage by country and other IP range selections for each book or identifier as appropriate.

A web Widget was developed to fetch and display metrics from the Metrics API. The Widget was designed to be embedded in an HTML page, such that it can be used in the HIRMEOS partners' existing platforms.

The Widget's layout was designed following feedback from the partners. For a given book/chapter, the metrics are tabulated, showing the Source and Type of each metric, along with the number of occurrences of the metric that were recorded for that book/chapter. If a user clicks on the row displaying a metric they will be linked to the definition of the metrics/measure indicated as documented on https://metrics.operas-eu.org/. The code for the Widget is maintained in the HIRMEOS GitHub repository. The 'usable' code is hosted on the Ubiquity Press CDN, and consists of a minimised JavaScript file and a CSS file for the Styling of the Widget. These are versioned together, in order to ensure that a CSS file of a given version will always match the JavaScript file for that version.

The Widget supports some localisation. It can currently be translated into five different languages, based on translations provided by the HIRMEOS partners. These can set when configuring the Widget, and include English ('en'), French ('fr'), German ('de'), Greek ('el') and Italian ('it'). More languages can be supported in future, as requested.

The Widget also supports some customisation, by setting configuration variables. These are described in the documentation at https://docs.metrics.ubiquity.press/widget/.

Knowledge Unlatched Research provided a dashboard built for partners to visualise and interrogate usage data from a variety of sources. The dashboard is capable of displaying usage by country and other IP range selections for each book or identifier as appropriate.

Using example data from Open Book Publishers and the test API provided by Ubiquity Press a dashboard application was built in Shiny, a platform that uses the R language to display data on a web platform. The dashboard was successfully deployed locally (using R Studio) and remotely on the Shiny platform to enable public access.


OPERAS metrics service provides a fully distributed framework to collect usage and impact metrics addressing the specific challenge of the open access book: it provides an open source mechanism that enables publishers, authors and readers to collect data on the same book disseminated across several platforms, and a clear and understandable representation of the meaning of those data that helps users to assess and compare them.

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