Lucy AyreAs LSE Research Festival gets underway, we’re celebrating the many ways that LSE researchers can communicate their work. In the first of a series of interviews, we asked Lucy Ayre (pictured) of LSE Library to tell us about LSE Research Online (LSERO).



What is LSERO? When and why was it started?

LSE Research Online is the institutional repository for LSE. It was set up in 2005 to be a complete database of research produced by LSE staff, providing stable links to published items and preserving research for posterity. Guided by the principles of open access, the repository also provides a platform for LSE research and learning to be made freely available, by including full text where permitted by publishers and copyright law.

What are the benefits of using LSERO, both for researchers and visitors (such as policy makers, journalists and the general public)?

LSERO provides researchers with a platform to leverage the potential of the web to establish their work among a global audience, by making it open access. Depositing research in LSERO increases its visibility and the potential for increased citations; it also creates opportunities for collaboration with other researchers. Visitors to LSERO benefit from free access to world class LSE research, including journal articles and book chapters which may otherwise be behind subscription paywalls. Equally discoverable are conference videos, presentations, technical reports and other ‘grey literature’ and non-published research outputs, which can often be difficult to locate online. The RSS feeds feature allows visitors to keep up to date with research from a particular LSE author or department.

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This recently produced infographic shows the impact of LSERO.

Why is it important for LSE researchers to showcase their work in this way?

It is important because open access has been widely linked to generating positive outcomes in scholarship and potential career progress in modern academia – as detailed in this easy steps towards open scholarship post on the LSE’s impact blog. Whether through Tweeting, blogging, presenting or sharing papers among peers, generally getting ‘out there’ online is step one on the road to research impact. Scholarly communication encompasses many more materials than the peer-reviewed journal article or book, and so by depositing accepted versions of published works as well as non-published items, LSE researchers can showcase their work from a single location and enjoy a global research of all their scholarly outputs.

What are the most viewed/downloaded items on LSERO? Are there any ‘trends’ that indicate either policy or general public interest in certain subjects?

Since 2005 LSERO has received over 6.5 million downloads, and on average every item receives 10 downloads each month, so every item is popular! Downloaded items come from disciplines spanning media, social policy, economic history, philosophy, education, criminology and management. The top 5 downloaded items in LSERO are:

  1. Managing non-profit organisations: towards a new approach by Helmut K. Anheier (2000)
    Downloaded 42,260 times
  2. Thatcherism, new Labour and the welfare state by John Hills (1998)
    Downloaded 36,960 times
  3. Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: teenagers’ use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression by Sonia Livingstone (2008)
    Downloaded 34,932 times
  4. Multi-criteria analysis: a manual by JS Dodgson, M Spackman, A Pearman, and LD Phillips (2009)
    Downloaded 30,838 times
  5. Policing ethnic minority communities by Ben Bowling and Coretta Phillips (2003)
    Downloaded 23,585 times

How about views/downloads of LSE Research Festival exhibits over the years?

Since the first PhD poster exhibition in 2010, LSE Research Festival exhibits have received over 17,000 downloads from countries as far-reaching as the USA, Canada, Turkey, China and Australia. Most popular exhibits have included:

  1. Social capital and subjective well-being by Christian Kroll (2010)
  2. A dynamic contagion process and an application to credit risk by Angelos Dassios and Hongbiao Zhao (2011)
  3. Kitchen Caddy by Sunil Kumar (2013)

One final question – where can we find out more?

To deposit your work in LSE Research Online, email All deposits can be accessed at LSERO  and the outputs of LSE Research Festival 2013 can be viewed on the LSE Research Festival 2013 collection.

LSE Research Festival 2014 takes place this week, and culminates in the multimedia LSE Research Festival 2014 Exhibition on Thursday 8 May. Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite. The full LSE Research Festival programme is available to view at LSE Research Festival 2014.