Sci-Hub users cost ASA journals thousands of downloads, and that’s OK | Family Inequality

“I use Sci-Hub a lot, often for things that I also have subscription access to. (I do not, however, contribute anything to the system; I free-ride off their criminality.) Why? I’m not in the paywall game business, I’m in the information business. I am always behind on my work, and adding a few seconds or minutes of hunting for the legitimate way to get each of the many articles I look at every day is not worth it. (And when I find my university doesn’t subscribe? Interlibrary loan is wonderful, but I don’t want to spend more time with it than necessary.) Does my choice cost the American Sociological Association a few cents, by reducing legitimate downloads, which somehow factors into the profits that get kicked back to the association from Sage? I don’t know.

Of course, one of the dumb things about the paywall system is that it’s expensive and time-consuming to manage who has access to what information — it’s not a small task to keep information from reaching millions of determined readers from all around the world. (I assume one of the reasons my university recently introduced two-factor authentication — requiring me to click a pop-up on my phone every time I log in to university resources [even when I’m in my office] — is because of Sci-Hub. Ironic!)

Chris Bourg is right: “let it be a lesson to us for what we should be doing differently.” Elbakyan may have committed the most efficient product theft in history, in terms of list price of stolen goods per unit of effort or expense on her part. Her archive has been copied and distributed to different sites around the world (it fits in a large suitcase). And it was made possible by the irrational, corrupt nature of the scholarly communication infrastructure. Her success is the system’s failure.”

Connecting Users to Articles: An Analysis of the Impact of Article Level Linking on Journal Use Statistics | Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

Abstract

Objective – Electronic resource management challenges and “big deal” cancellations at one Canadian university library contributed to a situation where a number of electronic journal subscriptions at the university’s health sciences library lacked article level linking. The aim of this study was to compare the usage of journals with article level linking enabled to journals where only journal level linking was available or enabled.

Methods – A list of electronic journal title subscriptions was generated from vendor and subscription agent invoices. Journal titles were eligible for inclusion if the subscription was available throughout 2018 on the publisher’s platform, if the subscription costs were fully funded by the health sciences library, and if management of the subscription required title-by-title intervention by library staff. Of the 356 journal titles considered, 302 were included in the study. Negative binomial regression was performed to determine the effect of journal vs. article level linking on total COUNTER Journal Report 1 (JR1) successful full-text article requests for 2018, controlling for journal publisher, subject area, journal ranking, and alternate aggregator access.

Results – The negative binomial regression model demonstrated that article level linking had a significant, positive effect on total 2018 JR1 (coef: 0.645; p < 0.001). Article level linking increased the expected total JR1 by 90.7% when compared to journals where article level linking was not available or enabled. Differences in predicted usage between journals with article level linking and those without article level linking remained significant at various journal ranking levels. This suggests that usage of both smaller, more specialized journals (e.g., Journal of Vascular Research) and larger, general journals (e.g., New England Journal of Medicine) increases when article level linking is enabled.

Conclusions – This study provides statistical evidence that enabling article level linking has a positive impact on journal usage at one academic health sciences library. Although further study is needed, academic libraries should consider enabling article level linking wherever possible in order to facilitate user access, maximize the value of journal subscriptions, and improve convenience for users.

PSI | OA Metrics Generator

“This new tool from PSI generates open access usage statistics for publishers and university repositories. Partnership with Scholarly IQ ensures these metrics can be fully COUNTER compliant. With PSI’s OA Metrics Generator you can develop a deeper understanding of your organisational readership….”

New paper – How Open is OpenGLAM? Identifying Barriers to Commercial and Non-Commercial Reuse of Digitised Art Images | Melissa Terras

“I’m delighted to be a co-author on a new paper recently published in the Journal of Documentation: How Open is OpenGLAM: Identifying barriers to commercial and non-commercial reuse of digitised art images (PDF of accepted manuscript).

This results from Foteini Valeonti’s work on Useum.org, where she has built a “virtual museum that democratises art”, including (or at least, trying to include!) many openly licensed images of artworks, testing out the limits of open licensing for both commercial and non-commercial applications. Are they really that open? what barriers are in the way?…”

CARL Releases Report on Institutional Repository Statistics Tracking – Canadian Association of Research Libraries

“The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) is pleased to announce the publication of the first report in a series by its Open Repositories Working Group (ORWG) – this first report focuses on approaches to institutional repository (IR) statistics tracking.

Institutional Repository Statistics: Reliable, Consistent Approaches for Canada was written by Will Roy (Queen’s University), Brian Cameron (Ryerson University), and Tim Ribaric (Brock University), on behalf of the CARL ORWG’s Task Group for Standards for IR Usage Data.

This task group undertook an information-gathering exercise to better understand both the existing practices of Canadian repositories and the emerging tools and processes available for repositories to track and monitor usage more effectively. This report also presents recommendations on how to collectively achieve reliable and comparable statistics across all Canadian repositories….”

CARL Releases Report on Institutional Repository Statistics Tracking – Canadian Association of Research Libraries

“The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) is pleased to announce the publication of the first report in a series by its Open Repositories Working Group (ORWG) – this first report focuses on approaches to institutional repository (IR) statistics tracking.

Institutional Repository Statistics: Reliable, Consistent Approaches for Canada was written by Will Roy (Queen’s University), Brian Cameron (Ryerson University), and Tim Ribaric (Brock University), on behalf of the CARL ORWG’s Task Group for Standards for IR Usage Data.

This task group undertook an information-gathering exercise to better understand both the existing practices of Canadian repositories and the emerging tools and processes available for repositories to track and monitor usage more effectively. This report also presents recommendations on how to collectively achieve reliable and comparable statistics across all Canadian repositories….”

The fundamental problem blocking open access and how to overcome it: the BitViews project

Abstract:  In our view the fundamental obstacle to open access (OA) is the lack of any incentive-based mechanism that unbundles authors’ accepted manuscripts (AMs) from articles (VoRs). The former can be seen as the public good that ought to be openly accessible, whereas the latter is owned by publishers and rightly paywall-restricted. We propose one such mechanism to overcome this obstacle: BitViews. BitViews is a blockchain-based application that aims to revolutionize the OA publishing ecosystem. Currently, the main academic currency of value is the citation. There have been attempts in the past to create a second currency whose measure is the online usage of research materials (e.g. PIRUS). However, these have failed due to two problems. Firstly, it has been impossible to find a single agency willing to co-ordinate and fund the validation and collation of global online usage data. Secondly, online usage metrics have lacked transparency in how they filter non-human online activity. BitViews is a novel solution which uses blockchain technology to bypass both problems: online AMS usage will be recorded on a public, distributed ledger, obviating the need for a central responsible agency, and the rules governing activity-filtering will be part of the open-source BitViews blockchain application, creating complete transparency. Once online AMS usage has measurable value, researchers will be incentivized to promote and disseminate AMs. This will fundamentally re-orient the academic publishing ecosystem. A key feature of BitViews is that its success (or failure) is wholly and exclusively in the hands of the worldwide community of university and research libraries, as we suggest that it ought to be financed by conditional crowdfunding, whereby the actual financial commitment of each contributing library depends on the total amount raised. If the financing target is not reached, then all contributions are returned in full and if the target is over-fulfilled, then the surplus is returned pro rata.

Do Download Reports Reliably Measure Journal Usage? Trusting the Fox to Count Your Hens? | Wood-Doughty | College & Research Libraries

Abstract:  Download rates of academic journals have joined citation counts as commonly used indicators of the value of journal subscriptions. While citations reflect worldwide influence, the value of a journal subscription to a single library is more reliably measured by the rate at which it is downloaded by local users. If reported download rates accurately measure local usage, there is a strong case for using them to compare the cost-effectiveness of journal subscriptions. We examine data for nearly 8,000 journals downloaded at the ten universities in the University of California system during a period of six years. We find that controlling for number of articles, publisher, and year of download, the ratio of downloads to citations differs substantially among academic disciplines. After adding academic disciplines to the control variables, there remain substantial “publisher effects”, with some publishers reporting significantly more downloads than would be predicted by the characteristics of their journals. These cross-publisher differences suggest that the currently available download statistics, which are supplied by publishers, are not sufficiently reliable to allow libraries to make subscription decisions based on price and reported downloads, at least without making an adjustment for publisher effects in download reports.

 

What does local use of Sci-Hub look like? – iNode

“Mindful of privacy issues, I asked a friend in campus IT to take a list of 6 or 7 domains and derive an extract file from the DNS query logs, providing just date, time and query string for anything that matched the domain information I provided.  Here’s an excerpt of the result: …

Producing this extract is now part of a weekly cron job so I’ll be able to monitor the relative use of these sites over the coming months.  In this one particular instance, I can’t wait for the Fall term to begin…

So what did I find by monitoring DNS queries between July 3rd and July 10th?

 

The graph shows activity for users on the campus network.  A better name for this post might be, “What does local use of ResearchGate look like?”…

Here are the numbers if you include off-campus traffic to subscription sites (DNS resolution happens here since our proxy server is on the campus network):

  • Sci-Hub (includes the .tw, .se, and .ren domains): 87
  • ResearchGate: 1186
  • Springer-Link: 551 (391 on-campus users; 160 via campus proxy server)
  • Google Scholar: 977
  • ScienceDirect: 1730 (1306 on-campus users; 424 via campus proxy server)
  • Engineering Village: 129 (111 on-campus users; 18 via campus proxy server)….”