Tracking usage of ARC and the new DOI

All users of the Advanced Research Computing Service are required under our T+C’s to acknowledge the use of the facility in their research. This is quite common, particularly amongst HPC sites, in an effort to try and track not only what our users are actually doing, but most importantly to enable us to track how many publications have been produced that in some way depend on HPC to generate the results. Its a useful metric particularly when seeking additional funding.

It sounds simple and a recent adhoc search for publications that contained our old ‘standard’ text showed that on average 1 publication per week could be attributed to ARC and its predecessor OSC (Oxford Supercomputing Centre). But this approach has been flawed as it relied solely on searching for a short paragraph of text that ARC users needed to put somewhere in their publications. Any slight changes to the text means that the results don’t show in results, or less specific searchers return false positives. For example, we are not the only Advanced Research Computing centre in the UK. Cardiff, Leeds, Durham can easily appear in simple searches for publications.

To try and tackle this we wanted a specific unique ‘string’ that we could search for, and a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) seemed ideal. Whilst typically associated with being used to link publications to data sets associated with the research, increasingly DOI’s are being used to link publications to software applications and other more general bits of data. Zenodo¬† makes creating a DOI very easy for all kinds of research outputs. And so we have created a simple output, a document describing ARC, that Zenodo has accepted and created a DOI for. This now enables researchers to not only include a paragraph of text acknowledging the use of ARC but to also include a DOI making it uniquely and easily citable. How well this works only time will tell, but if researchers start to include this in their publications (as required by our terms and conditions of use) then hopefully we will be able to track more publications more easily in the future.

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