Kristin Antelman, Leveraging the Growth of Open Access in Library Collection Decision Making

“A primary goal for collection management is assessing the relative value of continuing information resources. A variety of new environmental factors and data are pertinent to relative value. One of the emerging metrics is the degree to which the articles within a subscription journal are also available open access (OA). That OA level directly affects the value of a journal subscription. This paper outlines a theoretical model for accounting for open access in decision making by proposing an Open Access-adjusted Cost per Download metric. Refinements to the metric are also discussed, as well as how it can be applied, and the broader scholarly communication implications of leveraging open access in library decision making….

From the perspective of the individual institution, transformation of the broader scholarly communication system will always be indirect. Each research library can focus on journal value, supporting new OA models where applicable, and making decisions that support management flexibility suitable for a rapidly changing environment. Since the library shields costs from journals’ primary stakeholders (readers), the library bears the responsibility to be good stewards of those resources. If we choose not to use OA in decision making, even as the data becomes more readily available and reliable, we are not being good stewards of our institutional resources, and we are not serving future researchers as much as we could be through development of collectively heterogeneous and deep collections.33 One of the broadest questions research libraries are faced with is an ethical one: are we perpetuating a legacy, and suboptimal, scholarly communication system that does not best serve either current or future researchers? While the impact of the perpetuation of the traditional journal subscription model on research libraries’ collective collection diversity is out of scope here, it is relevant to note that continued commitment to the model, especially in the form of a big deal, constrains experimentation with—and adoption of—new OA funding models. The resulting lack of budget flexibility, even in the presence of organizational will to make substantive changes, consigns OA-related initiatives to the margins where they are largely disconntected from the core players and systemwide economic forces. Transition to a competitive OA journal market will require disruption of the current market.34 Until libraries use all available data, including about OA, to reduce expenditures on traditional subscription journals, large publishers will continue to develop a separate author-facing market (Hybrid OA) and to restrict non-market OA (Green). A meaningfully reduced spending on traditional subscription journals will push lower value journals into unsustainability as subscription journals; they may then become viable through competing for authors as Gold OA journals, or they may be nonviable and be eliminated. The OA-adjusted Cost per Download is one tool to support libraries in leveraging, and even just thinking about, all of the data that is available to us in a rapidly changing scholarly communication landscape.”

The Evolving Institutional Repository Landscape

“”To gain insights and gather data on IR operations, we conducted interviews, an open survey, and web research to obtain a snapshot of the current perspective and potential role of IRs in a changing landscape….The Directory of Open Access Repositories (DOAR) in the UK includes various types of repositories, such as disciplinary (e.g., arXiv) and governmental (e.g., NLM). Isolating institutional repositories worldwide shows a total of nearly 3,000 IRs. Data from DOAR indicates that there are 478 IRs in 396 institutions in North America. However, an analysis of clients listed on the websites of five platform providers suggests that there are at least 600 IRs in an estimated 500 organizations in North America….When asked about content migration, 25% indicated that they had plans to migrate in the next one to three years, while more than half of the remaining 75% indicated no plans to migrate at this time….IRs depend on Google for content discovery, and that requires attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Fortunately, SEO was the top activity of survey respondents to increase discovery, followed by more traditional library tools, metadata, and open access resources….The leading metric identified by survey respondents was growth over time, which recognizes the effort involved in building this digital collection. Usage metrics on the performance of the repository were followed by a total of items added in the current period….According to survey respondents, deposits were made by librarians at 94% of IRs. Although half of institutions indicate that faculty and students make deposits, it is clear that the majority of content is mediated or deposited by library staff. Nearly half of the institutions have one or less than one equivalent staff working on the IR. The average staff for an IR is one or two people….”


“IRUS-UK (Institutional Repository Usage Statistics UK) is a Jisc-funded national aggregation service, which provides COUNTER-conformant usage statistics for all content downloaded from participating UK institutional repositories (IRs)….

The service consolidates COUNTER-conformant statistics providing opportunities to demonstrate the value and impact of IRs:

  • facilitates comparable, standards-based measurements
  • provides an evidence base for repositories to develop policies and initiatives to help support their objectives
  • provides consistent and comprehensive statistics, presenting opportunities for benchmarking at a national level
  • developing a user community that will ensure that the service is responsive to user requirements….”

Fordham Law Faculty Ranks High on SSRN

“Fordham Law School’s faculty rank among the most prolific and most highly downloaded legal scholarship writers, according to SSRN, a widely used open-access online repository. Fordham Law professors rank 8th all-time among U.S. and international law schools in authors posting papers (245), 18th in papers posted (1,379), and 20th in total number of downloads (335,295), based on figures updated on Jan. 1 listing SSRN’s top 750 law schools. In the past 12 months, Fordham also ranked 22nd in the United States and 27th globally in total downloads (37,113), and 22nd and 36th respectively in number of new papers (85)….”

Open and Shut?: Realising the BOAI vision: Peter Suber’s Advice

Peter Suber’s high-priority recommendations for advancing OA.

The Good News: You Can Download Hawking’s PhD For Free; The Bad News: It Took 50 Years To Make It Happen | Techdirt

“Techdirt has been writing about the (slow but steady) rise of open access for a decade. That’s as long as the Annual International Open Access Week has been running. Cambridge University came up with quite a striking way to join in the celebrations: Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis, ‘Properties of expanding universes’, has been made freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world, after being made accessible via the University of Cambridge’s Open Access repository, Apollo. The 1966 doctoral thesis by the world’s most recognisable scientist is the most requested item in Apollo with the catalogue record alone attracting hundreds of views per month. In just the past few months, the University has received hundreds of requests from readers wishing to download Professor Hawking’s thesis in full. The idea has been quite a hit — literally, since the demand for Hawking’s thesis was so great on Monday, that it hit the Apollo server hard enough to take it offline for a while. The Guardian reported:”

Open access research | Revista Pesquisa Fapesp

“Brazil stands out on the international landscape when it comes to open access, a movement launched in the early 2000s with the aim of making scientific output freely available online. According to data compiled by Spanish research group Scimago, 33.5% of the Brazilian articles indexed in the Scopus database in 2016 were published in journals whose content is free to read online as soon as it is published, under a model known as the “golden road.” This is the largest proportion among the 15 nations with the highest volume of scientific output recorded on Scopus. Brazil is also top of the list of nations with the highest number of open access scientific journals (see charts).”

The NIH Public Access Policy (April 2012)

“NO HARM TO PUBLISHERS IS EVIDENT: • Publishers retain up to a 12?month embargo on NIH?funded papers before they are made available to the public without charge under fair use principles. • The Public Access requirement took effect in 2008. While the U.S. economy has suffered a downturn during the time period 2007 to 2011, scientific publishing has grown: – The number of journals dedicated to publishing biological sciences/agriculture articles and medicine/health articles increased 15% and 19%, respectively.5 – The average subscription prices of biology journals and health sciences journals increased 26% and 23%, respectively.6 – Publishers forecast increases to the rate of growth of the medical journal market, from 4.5% in 2011 to 6.3% in 2014.7 …

KEY FACTS ABOUT PMC: • Over 2.4 million articles are now in PMC. In addition to the NIH?funded papers deposited into PMC, publishers voluntarily deposit more than 100,000 papers per year. • Every weekday, 700,000 users access the database, retrieving over 1.5 million articles. • Based on internet addresses, an estimated 25% of users are from universities, 17% are from companies, and 40% from the general public …”

Usage Bibliometrics as a Tool to Measure Research Activity

Abstract:  Measures for research activity and impact have become an integral ingredient in the assessment of a wide range of entities (individual researchers, organizations, instruments, regions, disciplines). Traditional bibliometric indicators, like publication and citation based indicators, provide an essential part of this picture, but cannot describe the complete picture. Since reading scholarly publications is an essential part of the research life cycle, it is only natural to introduce measures for this activity in attempts to quantify the efficiency, productivity and impact of an entity. Citations and reads are significantly different signals, so taken together, they provide a more complete picture of research activity. Most scholarly publications are now accessed online, making the study of reads and their patterns possible. Click-stream logs allow us to follow information access by the entire research community, real-time. Publication and citation datasets just reflect activity by authors. In addition, download statistics will help us identify publications with significant impact, but which do not attract many citations. Click-stream signals are arguably more complex than, say, citation signals. For one, they are a superposition of different classes of readers. Systematic downloads by crawlers also contaminate the signal, as does browsing behavior. We discuss the complexities associated with clickstream data and how, with proper filtering, statistically significant relations and conclusions can be inferred from download statistics. We describe how download statistics can be used to describe research activity at different levels of aggregation, ranging from organizations to countries. These statistics show a correlation with socio-economic indicators. A comparison will be made with traditional bibliometric indicators. We will argue that astronomy is representative of more general trends.

Impact of Social Sciences – A closer look at the Sci-Hub corpus: what is being downloaded and from where?

“Sci-Hub remains among the most common sites via which readers circumvent article paywalls and access scholarly literature. But where exactly are its download requests coming from? And just what is being downloaded? Bastian Greshake has analysed the full Sci-Hub corpus and its request data, and found that articles are being downloaded from all over the world, more recently published papers are among the most requested, and there is a marked overrepresentation of requested articles from journals publishing on chemistry….”