Kudos for Institutions: Interview with Charlie Rapple

Ingenta Interview with Charlie Rapple, co-Founder of Kudos

BR: So Charlie – tell us more about Kudos.

CAR: Kudos is a system that researchers use to explain and share their work to broaden its reach and impact. This core service is free for researchers; they can give plain language responses to key questions (what is your work about, and why is it important?), add links to related resources, and then generate trackable links so that however they typically share – email, social media, academic networks – they can track the effectiveness of that sharing against a range of metrics including clicks, views, downloads, altmetrics and citations.

BR: Is Kudos primarily a service for publishers, or does it offer benefits to libraries as well?

CAR: Kudos can report to libraries as well as publishers about how “their” researchers are using this system – which researchers are actively explaining or sharing their work, which channels do they use for sharing, what effect is this having on which metrics. It can help libraries to “surface” communications which otherwise happen in lots of different networks – it’s an easy way to follow people’s social media actions, for example, and filter that to just those communications that are relevant to their work; similarly, it’s a unique way to know when people have communicated via a “closed” channel, such as email. This all helps libraries to acknowledge and amplify researchers’ communication efforts, and to learn at an aggregate level so that they can provide more evidence-based guidance when asked by researchers for support in communicating their work.

BR: Which libraries is Kudos already working with?

CAR: We partnered with 13 institutions around the world for a pilot during 2015 to help us develop a service that would fit with institutions’ goals and needs – we had a broad range of institutions both in terms of their location and in terms of their size, or focus – for example, in the UK our partners included the University of Huddersfield, LSE, and the faculty of humanities and social sciences at the University of Liverpool. In the US, we worked with Carnegie Mellon University and Los Alamos National Laboratory; elsewhere, our partners included ETH Zürich, the University of Stockholm and Hong Kong Baptist University. We’ve just launched our service fully and have new customers already, for example including the University of Technology, Sydney – it’s exciting to see the similarities in challenges and goals for research institutions around the world, and know that we have developed something sufficiently universal to help.

BR: What’s been the feedback they have given you so far?

CAR: At a basic level, Kudos works – our publisher partners’ experience shows that when researchers use Kudos to explain and share their work, downloads of the full text increase – substantially, in some cases, with Emerald Group Publishing finding usage more than tripled. It’s early days for our institutional partners, but Martin Gill, Head of Academic Services at the University of Huddersfield, gave a great talk at the UKSG Forum in December (video) in which he touched on Kudos, and our role in supporting their ambitious strategy for growing the quantity and quality of research undertaken at the institution – in particular, by helping their many early career researchers increase the visibility and impact of their work. He explains how Kudos has provided a way for them to work in alignment with publishers’ efforts to promote research, and has also been a vehicle for better collaboration between the university’s Research & Enterprise, Research Innovation Office, Marketing Office and the Library’s Academic Services team. Huddersfield found it useful that Kudos is integrated with ORCID, making it easier for their researchers to sign up for Kudos and giving them more value from their ORCID accounts. They particularly liked the way that Kudos enables measurement of the immediate effect of academics’ sharing and overall had been impressed by Kudos.

BR: How easy is Kudos to implement for an individual institutional library?

CAR: Very easy – researchers enter their institutional affiliation as part of their Kudos registration process. We already have people using Kudos at over 10,000 institutions and switching on access to our institutional dashboard and reports for those institutions simply requires the institutional administrator to register with us – a 30 second job. We then work with our customers to help build uptake of Kudos among their researchers.

BR: Has Kudos any plans / is already working with any library consortia?

CAR: yes, we are already in discussions with several consortia around the world. It’s clear that so many institutions share the same challenges in terms of keeping up with the innovations around scholarly communication, and being able to provide researchers with confident, evidence-based guidance and encouragement. This often falls to libraries because they have typically been early adopters, familiar with procuring and providing training for tools that support the research process, so it’s natural that our conversations have moved to the consortium level in many cases, and we welcome approaches from any other consortia that would like to set up deals on behalf of their members.

BR: What should a library do to find out more?

CAR: Get in touch with me (charlie.a.rapple@growkudos.com) and I will be happy to see how many researchers from your institution are already using Kudos, and give you a quick tour of our service and what they are doing with it!


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