The following recommendations are intended to give some
advice to Universities and R&D institutions worldwide
in order they have an adequate web presence. Their websites
should represent correctly their resources, activities
and global performance, providing visitors with a true
vision of the institution. We encourage medium and long
term projects that give priority to the publication
of large volume of quality contents under Open Access
We reject the use of abusive positioning techniques
that can generate misleading indicators.
1. URL naming
Each institution should choose a unique institutional
domain that can be used by all the websites of the institution.
It is very important to avoid changing the institutional
domain as it can generate confusion and it has a devastating
effect on the visibility values.
The alternative or mirror domains should be disregarded
even when they redirection to the preferred one.
Use of well known acronyms is correct but the institution
should consider including descriptive word, like the
name of the city, in the domain name.
2. Contents: Create
A large web presence is made possible only with the
effort of a large group of authors. The best way to
do that is allowing a large proportion of staff, researchers
or graduate students to be potential authors.
A distributed system of authoring can be operative
at several levels:
organisation can be responsible of the design guidelines
and institutional information
documentation centres and similar services can be
responsible of large databases, including bibliographic
ones but also large repositories (thesis, pre-prints,
persons or teams should maintain their own websites,
enriching them with self archiving practices.
Hosting external resources can be interesting for third
parties and increase the visibility: Conference websites,
software repositories, scientific societies and their
publications, especially electronic journals.
3. Contents: Convert
Important resources are available in non electronic
format that can be converted to web pages easily. Most
of the universities have a long record of activities
that can be published in historical web sites.
Other resources are also candidate for conversion,
including past activities reports or pictures collections.
The Web is a hipertextual corpus with links connecting
pages. If your contents are not known (bad design, limited
information, or minority language), the size is scarce
or they have low quality, the site probably will receive
few links from other sites.
Measuring and classifying the links from others can
be insightful. You should expect links from your “natural”
partners: Institutions from your locality or region,
web directories from similar organisations, portals
covering your topics, colleagues or partners personal
pages. Your pages should make an impact in your common
Check for the orphaned pages, i.e. pages not linked
5. Language, especially English
The Web audience is truly global, so you should not
think locally. Language versions, especially in English,
are mandatory not only for the main pages, but for selected
sections and specially from scientific documents.
6. Rich and media files
Although html is the standard format of web pages,
sometimes it is better to use rich file formats like
Adobe Acrobat pdf or MS Word doc as they allow a better
distribution of documents. PostScript is a popular format
in certain areas (physics, engineering, mathematics)
but it can be difficult to open, so it is recommended
to provide an alternative version in pdf format.
Bandwidth is growing exponentially, so it is a good
investment to archive all media materials produced in
web repositories. Collections of videos, interviews,
presentations, animated graphs, and even digital pictures
could be very useful in the long term.
7. Search engine friendly designs
Avoid cumbersome navigation menus based on Flash, Java
Deep nested directories or complex interlinking can
block robots too.
Databases and even highly dynamic pages can be invisible
for some search engines, so use directories or static
pages instead or as an option.
8. Popularity and statistics
Number of visits is important, but it as much as important
to monitor their origin, distribution and the causes
why they reach your web sites. Most of the current log
analysers offer a great diversity of tables and graphs
showing relevant demographic and geographic data, but
make sure there is an option to show the referrers,
the web pages from which the visit arrives or the search
term or phrase used if the visit came from a search
Most popular pages or directories are also relevant.
9. Archiving and persistence
To maintain a copy of old or outdated material in the
site should be mandatory. Sometimes relevant information
is lost when the site is redesigned or simply updated
and there is no way to recover easily the vanished pages.
10. Standards for enriching sites
The use of meaningful titles and descriptive metatags
can increase the visibility of the pages. There are
some standards like Dublin Core that can be used to
add authoring info, keywords and other data about the