Maximizing indexing, visibility and exposure

While it is important to be strategic about choosing a publication vehicle that attracts a desired readership, it is also vital to give some consideration to where and how one posts scholarship online.

As an example, it is often the case that journal articles published via content management systems such as WordPress are not indexed by services such as Google Scholar. This is due to Google Scholar having very specific inclusion guidelines for webmasters. To meet these inclusion guidelines via WordPress, one would need to hire a programmer to customize WordPress. The services of the programmer would need to be retained to ensure that the customization does not break with each WordPress upgrade. For cases such as these, the Libraries recommend that a software platform already optimized for indexing with Google Scholar, such as Open Journal Systems, be used.

Similarly, simply posting one’s articles to a generic website will also yield poor indexing results on the open web. This is because, once again, generic websites are not optimized for indexing, and web crawlers are forced to make a guess as to the nature of the content they come across on any given webpage. This limits the discoverability of one’s research.

One may note that in discussions pertaining to the green route of open access, authors are advised to secure permission to post a copy of their content (self-archive) to an institutional repository. This is precisely because institutional repositories, such as YorkSpace (hosted by York University Libraries), are platforms optimized to maximize online discoverability. YorkSpace, for example, is an installation of the DSpace software platform. DSpace has a direct relationship with, and is recommended by Google. DSpace also adheres to the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, which essentially is a standard that enables an automated and structured sharing of information between data providers (repositories) and service providers (indexing services). The DSpace platform is maintained by the Duraspace Foundation which is committed to its persistence and ongoing development.

Repositories are most often hosted by libraries because the discovery, persistence and preservation of the scholarly record are in direct alignment with of the mission of libraries. In contrast to ephemeral websites or corporate platforms such as Academia.edu or Research Gate, libraries are committed to preserving and making available content in perpetuity.