Subject repositories top ranking

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Discipline- or subject-based central repositories take the top spots in a new ranking of repositories that forms part of the January 2008 Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. The three first ranks go to: Arxiv, dedicated to physics and related sciences; RePEc, a big effort being made by the economic science world; and E-LIS committed to Library and Information Sciences and Documentation.

The fourth place is an institutional repository, the University of Southampton's EPrints, although the University of Southampton itself was ranked 77th in the university webometrics rankings. Since 2001 this university has had a mandate requiring that all of its research output be made open access on the web by depositing it in the ECS EPrints Repository.

Despite a UK university having the highest -placed institutional repository, however, the university rankings still show a worrisome academic digital divide between North American universities and the European ones; almost 60 per cent of the 200 first positions are occupied by North American universities. The first positions in the ranking are occupied by MIT, Stanford and Harvard universities. The University of Cambridge, in 27th position, continues to be the first European university that appears in the ranking, followed by Oxford and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich.