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.”

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.

 

Citation advantage for open access articles in European Radiology | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Objective

To investigate whether there is a difference in citation rate between open access and subscription access articles in the field of radiology.

Methods

This study included consecutive original articles published online in European Radiology. Pearson ?2, Fisher’s exact, and Mann-Whitney U tests were used to assess for any differences between open access and subscription access articles. Linear regression analysis was performed to determine the association between open access publishing and citation rate, adjusted for continent of origin, subspeciality, study findings in article title, number of authors, number of references, length of the article, and number of days the article has been online. In a secondary analysis, we determined the association between open access and number of downloads and shares.

Results

A total of 500 original studies, of which 86 (17.2%) were open access and 414 (82.8%) were subscription access articles, were included. Articles from Europe or North America were significantly more frequently published open access (p?=?0.024 and p?=?0.001), while articles with corresponding authors from Asia were significantly less frequently published open access (p?<?0.001). In adjusted linear regression analysis, open access articles were significantly more frequently cited (beta coefficient?=?3.588, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.668 to 6.508, p?=?0.016), downloaded (beta coefficient?=?759.801, 95% CI 630.917 to 888.685, p?<?0.001), and shared (beta coefficient?=?0.748, 95% CI 0.124 to 1.372, p?=?0.019) than subscription access articles (beta coefficient?=?3.94, 95% confidence interval 1.44 to 6.44, p?=?0.002).

Conclusion

Open access publishing is independently associated with an increased citation, download, and share rate in the field of radiology.

Can Twitter, Facebook, and Other Social Media Drive Downloads, Citations? – The Scholarly Kitchen

Even before the development of the Internet and social media tools, the association between media promotion and article performance was well documented.1234 What was not fully understood, however, was the underlying cause of this association. Editors and journalists tend to promote what they view as the most important and novel papers. As a result, it is difficult to disambiguate selection effects from dissemination and amplification effects, especially from uncontrolled observational studies. Likely, multiple effects operate in concert. If we want to isolate these effects, we need to rely on a more rigorous methodology–the randomized controlled trial….

While there are many studies exploring the relationships among indicators, most are methodologically weak and may suffer from confounding causes and effects. More rigorous trials, summarized above, report little, if any, effect between social media interventions and readership. Nevertheless, whereas social medical campaigns may have limited effect within the research and clinical community, they may provide other ancillary benefits to a journal, such as providing outreach to healthcare professionals, communicating directly with the general public, and increasing brand recognition.20 …”

OLH Readership and Cost Reports for 2018-2019

“That said, here are the key numbers for February 13th 2018 to February 13th 2019 for the Open Library of Humanities and the journals that we publish and fund:

  • We published 443 articles.
  • These articles were uniquely downloaded 61,155 times.
  • These articles were uniquely viewed 337,237 times.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per published article was £2.41.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per download was £0.02.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per view was £0.003….”

Springer Nature: Plan S needs to focus on helping all authors and funders to better understand the benefits of OA | Group | Springer Nature

Research undertaken by Springer Nature shows that while there are proven benefits in publishing OA, including increased citations, increased downloads and wider impact, authors are still not routinely choosing to publish OA for often valid reasons.  Springer Nature has demonstrated that when innovative transformative deals are in place, a wide range of journals available from which authors can choose and the benefits of OA strongly promoted, then accelerated OA transition is not only possible but very successful.  In the four most mature countries which have Read and Publish deals with Springer Nature, OA penetration rates have reached 73-90% in only three years….”

What bioRxiv’s first 30,000 preprints reveal about biologists

“Researchers posted more preprints to the bioRxiv server in 2018 alone than in the four previous years, according to an analysis of the 37,648 preprints posted on the site in its first 5 years.

The analysis also shows that the number of downloads from the site has topped 1 million per month. BioRxiv, which allows researchers in the life sciences to post preliminary versions of studies, turned five last November….

Preprints that are downloaded more often on bioRxiv tend to be published in journals with higher impact factors than preprints that are not downloaded as much….”

Go To Hellman: Towards Impact-based OA Funding

What if there was a funding channel for monographs that allocated support based on a measurement of impact, such as might be generated from data aggregated by a trusted “Data Trust”? (I’ll call it the “OA Impact Trust”, because I’d like to imagine that “impact” rather than a usage proxy such as “downloads” is what we care about.)

Here’s how it might work:

 

  1. Libraries and institutions register with the OA Impact Trust, providing it with a way to identify usage and impact relevant to the library or institutions.
  2. Aggregators and publishers deposit monograph metadata and usage/impact streams with the Trust.
  3. The Trust provides COUNTER reports (suitably adapted) for relevant OA monograph usage/impact to libraries and institutions. This allows them to compare OA and non-OA ebook usage side-by-side.
  4. Libraries and institutions allocate some funding to OA monographs.
  5. The Trust passes funding to monograph publishers and participating distributors. …”

Modes of access: the influence of dissemination channels on the use of open access monographs

Abstract:  Introduction. This paper studies the effects of several dissemination channels in an open access environment by analysing the download data of the OAPEN Library. 

Method. Download data were obtained containing the number of downloads and the name of the Internet provider. Based on public information, each Internet provider was categorised. The subject and language of each book were determined using metadata from the OAPEN Library. 

Analysis. Quantitative analysis was done using Excel, while the qualitative analysis was carried out using the statistical package SPSS. 

Results. Almost three quarters of all downloads come from users who do not use the Website www.oapen.org, but find the books by other means. Qualitative analysis found no evidence that channel use was influenced by user groups or the state of users’ Internet infrastructure; nor was any effect on channel use found for either the language or the subjects of the monographs. 

Conclusions. The results show that most readers are using the “direct download” channel, which occur if the readers use systems other than the OAPEN Library Website. This implies that making the metadata available in the user’s systems, the infrastructure used on a daily basis, ensures the best results.