"The debate about the need to revise metrics that evaluate research excellence has been ongoing for years, and a number of studies have identified important issues that have yet to be addressed. Internet and other technological developments have enabled the collection of richer data and new approaches to research assessment exercises. Open access strongly advocates for maximizing research impact by enhancing seamless accessibility. In addition, new tools and strategies have been used by open access journals and repositories to showcase how science can benefit from free online dissemination. Latest players in the debate include initiatives based on alt-metrics, which enrich the landscape with promising indicators. To start with, the article gives a brief overview of the debate and the role of open access in advancing a new frame to assess science. Next, the work focuses on the strategy that the Spanish National Research Council’s repository DIGITAL.CSIC is implementing to collect a rich set of statistics and other metrics that are useful for repository administrators, researchers and the institution alike. A preliminary analysis of data hints at correlations between free dissemination of research through DIGITAL.CSIC and enhanced impact, reusability and sharing of CSIC science on the web."