Academic research website a hit

MORE than half a million visits have been made to a website to widen access to Irish academic research.

The facility which opened in July allows academics, businesses, media and the taxpayers who fund most Irish research to find expertise and previously unknown information on topics as variant as social policy and education to cancer research and technological breakthroughs.

The country’s pioneering open access policy in this field has lead to many visits to the site already from Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, the United States, China, India and Korea, and could be instrumental in attracting inward investment to create jobs here, as well as helping Irish businesses get off the ground.

The RIAN research publications portal features more than 12,300 items ranging from masters degree research theses to articles in international academic journals, and puts Ireland ahead of many leading economies in opening the doors on its research work, which has been largely unavailable to the public, due mostly to technological constraints.

So far, the work being published features theses, conference papers and articles from the seven universities and Dublin Institute of Technology.

“Open access to this research is one of the most exciting collaborative projects across the Irish university sector. It offers all countries, rich and poor, free access to information which has tremendous potential to aid both national and international development,” said Irish Universities Association chairman, Professor Tom Collins of NUI Maynooth.

The development of the site – www.rian.ie – was funded by the Higher Education Authority strategic innovation fund and it is run in a similar manner as an internet search engine, allowing users to search for publications based on topic, the author, institute, the agency which funded research, or the year of publication.

“RIAN offers the world a single shop-window to the creativity of the entire Irish university system. It is an important sectoral contribution to enhancing Ireland’s national brand as The Innovation Island,” said University College Cork president Dr Michael Murphy.

Almost 108,500 items were viewed on the site last month and the number of page views has grown by almost half since July to 475,676 in September.

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