Web Services

Where have my publications gone?

One notable change to profiles on the University website is the exclusion of an automated feed from Pure. This may seem strange, especially as we move into REF2021 and all the work that is being undertaken to support that assessment.

I wanted to take a minute to explain the reasoning behind this move.

Our Pure repository and viewing system called Discovery (discovery.dundee.ac.uk) has vastly improved its visual appearance and underlying capabilities since the last REF exercise. Far from being a simple archive of publications, it houses rich information on Projects, Activities, Press/Media and Student Thesis. There is also a rich relational architecture that shows the interdisciplinary work going on and is a feature of much of our work. This wealth of content far exceeds what can be viewed on a single profile page and to replicate it would mean rebuilding Discovery within the new website.

While a cloud-hosted system like Discovery has advantages, it also has its disadvantages. The features that allow us to pull information from the repository often change with each release. Sometimes these versions don’t break and go unnoticed. Unfortunately, they can and do break existing integrations. In a time of rapid new site development, the more time we spend fixing these links, the less time is left to spend on other much-needed features.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as we have looked into how profiles are used by page visitors, we are finding many users ‘stuck’ and not proceeding to view the rich content available, with many bouncing the site completely. When we consider that our main goal of these profiles is to reduce the reputation deficit we currently have as a university, it becomes more important to direct users to this rich content so that the full story can be told.

These new staff profiles are one of our key building blocks and represent a major leap forward in site capabilities. They are the product of months of consultation across the University and with staff, students, external contacts and the Deputy Principal of Research (Professor John Rowan) to try to understand user requirements and also balance those with business requirements essential.

Web Services carries out regular reviews and analyzes of the website to measure and monitor its effectiveness. We welcome any feedback that we will feed into our feature roadmaps for future development.