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….”

Nature’s 10 : Nature News & Comment

One of the 10 is Alexandra Elbakyan, creator of Sci-Hub.

“It is copyright-breaking on a grand scale — and has brought Elbakyan praise, criticism and a lawsuit. Few people support the fact that she acted illegally, but many see Sci-Hub as advancing the cause of the open-access movement, which holds that papers should be made (legally) free to read and reuse. “What she did is nothing short of awesome,” says Michael Eisen, a biologist and open-access supporter at the University of California, Berkeley. “Lack of access to the scientific literature is a massive injustice, and she fixed it with one fell swoop.”

For the first few years of its existence, the site flew under the radar — but eventually it grew too big for subscription publishers to ignore. In 2015, the Dutch company Elsevier, supported by the wider publishing industry, brought a US lawsuit against Elbakyan on the basis of copyright infringement and hacking. If Elbakyan loses, she risks having to pay many millions of dollars in damages, and potentially spending time in jail. (For that reason, Elbakyan does not disclose her current location and she was interviewed for this article by encrypted e-mail and messaging.) In 2015, a US judge ordered Sci-Hub to be shut down, but the site popped up on other domains. It’s most popular in China, India and Iran, she says, but a good 5% or so of its users come from the United States….”

Nature’s 10 : Nature News & Comment

One of the 10 is Alexandra Elbakyan, creator of Sci-Hub.

“It is copyright-breaking on a grand scale — and has brought Elbakyan praise, criticism and a lawsuit. Few people support the fact that she acted illegally, but many see Sci-Hub as advancing the cause of the open-access movement, which holds that papers should be made (legally) free to read and reuse. “What she did is nothing short of awesome,” says Michael Eisen, a biologist and open-access supporter at the University of California, Berkeley. “Lack of access to the scientific literature is a massive injustice, and she fixed it with one fell swoop.”

For the first few years of its existence, the site flew under the radar — but eventually it grew too big for subscription publishers to ignore. In 2015, the Dutch company Elsevier, supported by the wider publishing industry, brought a US lawsuit against Elbakyan on the basis of copyright infringement and hacking. If Elbakyan loses, she risks having to pay many millions of dollars in damages, and potentially spending time in jail. (For that reason, Elbakyan does not disclose her current location and she was interviewed for this article by encrypted e-mail and messaging.) In 2015, a US judge ordered Sci-Hub to be shut down, but the site popped up on other domains. It’s most popular in China, India and Iran, she says, but a good 5% or so of its users come from the United States….”

Nutzung von Zeitschriften verdoppelt sich dank Open Access

From Google’s English: “Under SCOAP³ from professional journals of high-energy physics research open access are provided. SCOAP³ or Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics is an international consortium that has published 13,400 articles Open Access in the first funding period (2014 to 2016). 60% of all downloads were based on two SpringerNature magazines [1], 28% of the downloads on two Elsevier magazines [2].

Both publishers have now announced that the number of downloads from these journals has doubled since they joined SCOAP³ on 01.01.2014….”

Progress from Bioline International | Electronic Publishing Trust for Development

“In celebration of Open Access week, Bioline International can report that, in the single month of October 2016, more than 1,350,000 full text downloads of articles were made from bioscience journals published in 16 developing countries. Usage statistics are reported on the fly from the web site, see http://www.bioline.org.br/, right hand side of home page. This highhttp://www.bioline.org.br/ usage demonstrates the importance of research from these regions to the progress of international science.

A recently launched online survey of users has recorded some 250 responses to date from 59 countries – see http://bioline.org.br/survey for the results so far. We are hoping to establish which particular aspects of Bioline make the site so well-used – is it because it is Open Access, or is it because the information is difficult to find elsewhere, or . . .? …”

Open Access Week 2016: researcher spotlight – science and technology | Library Matters: RGU Library Blog

“OpenAIR was a very early open access repository at a university, putting RGU at the leading edge of what we know now as Green Open Access publishing.”

ETD’s at Harvard

Since the launch of ETDs @ Harvard in 2014, nineteen Schools, Departments, and Programs have adopted it to manage their student theses and dissertations….

ETDs @ Harvard streamlines the submission process for students, faculty, and administrators, and pipes student data and files to several downstream systems. Once a student submits her work, and it is approved, ETDs @ Harvard sends it to DASH, the Harvard open-access repository, HOLLIS+, the Harvard Library catalog, DRS, the Harvard Library digital preservation system, and the printer, for producing bound copies for the Harvard University Archives or Countway Library….

[W]e’ve deposited 2,853 ETDs [since 2011], which have been downloaded 624,594 times, an average of 219 downloads each….

2016 is a year of rapid and continuing progress for DASH

“2016 is a year of rapid and continuing progress for DASH, Harvard’s open-access repository. Before the end of the year we’ll pass the milestone of nine million downloads, with more than 2.5 million in 2016 alone, our best year ever. We expect to add more than 6,100 this year, surpassing last year. We deposit more than 500 articles per month, and the average work in DASH has been downloaded 300 times….”