Open Repository and the Health Services Executive Release the HSE Survey Results

In 2009, Open Repository, a repository service from the open access publisher BioMed Central, partnered with the Health Services Executive (HSE) of Ireland, to provide the HSE’s repository service, LENUS.

LENUS is an open access Irish Health Repository, which stores theses and journal articles published by Health Services Executive, the former regional Health Boards, and HSE affiliated publications. To date the repository holds more than 13,000 items.

Open Repository and the HSE recently conducted a joint survey with their authors and researchers on the usage of LENUS to elicit information about who is using it, reasons for usage and how, in practice, they are using the repository. Not only did this survey raise awareness of LENUS, it also gave their submitters an opportunity to provide further product development that they would see as being useful or necessary to the continuing success of their repository. Open Repository also provided a random prize draw for all respondents.

450 participants from mixed health professions, mostly from health-based communities, took part in the survey, with 99.4% of them within Ireland.

Over 50% of LENUS usage was to discover Irish health related publications, mainly used in practice, for patient care and research purposes. It was also encouraging that over 54% submitted their publications to the repository and 40% did not submit because they thought their publication was irrelevant. Institutional Repository’s (IR) often lack the buy-in from their submitters to deposit their work and these figures are very impressive on the IR landscape.

Further analysis of the data revealed over 70% of respondents found the repository very user -friendly and easy to use, with the majority of internal users going directly to LENUS rather than using Google. Additionally, a staggering 95.9% were more than satisfied with the navigation provided by their enhanced DSpace repository.

Open Repository has improved and enhanced the latest version of DSpace 1.8.2, and has made additional customizations to LENUS. One of these enhancements was the inclusion of an interactive, regional map of Ireland, showing the items contained within each region, which can be viewed on the User Interface. When surveyed about this new feature, over 50% of submitters found this enhancement very useful, and it is an indicator of how Open Repository partners with its clients to drive usage and improve the user- experience. A further enhancement that Open Repository made to all clients’ repositories was the inclusion of a Google Analytics dashboard that can be publicly or privately available, as the organizations deems appropriate. The statistics package shows a wide range of metrics: external traffic, countries, cities, the most downloaded and viewed items of that area of the hierarchy, and again, is a way of driving submission to the IR. Open Repository also provided the Administrators access to a full Google Analytics account that we have set up for each client to provide further data over and above the DSpace statistical package that is on offer. We are pleased to report that over 69% thought that this feature is a worthy addition to LENUS, and it is regularly used.

Over 64% of users utilized the email alerts and RSS feeds features, in order to keep themselves up to date with newly submitted items to their areas of interest.

The survey also looked into publication data from HSE authors and users, including their views on open access publishing. Given that BioMed Central is a pioneer in open access publishing, it was fantastic to see that 94% of their authors agreed that where research is publicly funded, it should automatically be made open access. Further data revealed that 95.6% found the submitting materials to the repository very easy, or easy. Again, as part of the service provided by Open Repository, each submission template is customized for each collection, thereby providing a unique and relevant experience for that collection, and the type of items held within it.

The survey was a great success to all involved, and Open Repository continues to partner with the HSE and its global client base on further customizations to their repositories, adding new and exciting functions and features, with the aim of enhancing the DSpace platform on which Open Repository is built.

If you would like any further information regarding our service and how we can share our expertise with you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Claire Bundy
Open Repository Specialist

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