The dark side of open access in Google and Google Scholar: the case of Latin-American repositories
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Since repositories are a key tool in making scholarly knowledge open access (OA), determining their web presence and visibility on the Web (both are proxies of web impact) is essential, particularly in Google (search engine par excellence) and Google Scholar (a tool increasingly used by researchers to search for academic information). The few studies conducted so far have been limited to very specific geographic areas (USA), which makes it necessary to find out what is happening in other regions that are not part of mainstream academia, and where repositories play a decisive role in the visibility of scholarly production. The main objective of this study is to ascertain the web presence and visibility of Latin American repositories in Google and Google Scholar through the application of page count and web mention indicators respectively. For a sample of 137 repositories, the results indicate that the indexing ratio is low in Google, and virtually nonexistent in Google Scholar; they also indicate a complete lack of correspondence between the repository records and the data produced by these two search tools. These results are mainly attributable to limitations arising from the use of description schemas that are incompatible with Google Scholar (repository design) and the reliability of web mention indicators (search engines). We conclude that neither Google nor Google Scholar accurately represent the actual size of OA content published by Latin American repositories; this may indicate a non-indexed, hidden side to OA, which could be limiting the dissemination and consumption of OA scholarly literature.
KeywordsOpen access Repositories Google Google Scholar Webometrics Web indicators Web visibility Indexing Latin America
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