Widespread use of National Academies consensus reports by the American public | PNAS


Advocates for open access argue that people need scientific information, although they lack evidence for this. Using Google’s recently developed deep learning natural language processing model, which offers unrivalled comprehension of subtle differences in meaning, 1.6 million people downloading National Academies reports were classified, not just into broad categories such as researchers and teachers but also precisely delineated small groups such as hospital chaplains, veterans, and science fiction authors. The results reveal adults motivated to seek out the most credible sources, engage with challenging material, use it to improve the services they provide, and learn more about the world they live in. The picture contrasts starkly with the dominant narrative of a misinformed and manipulated public targeted by social media.


In seeking to understand how to protect the public information sphere from corruption, researchers understandably focus on dysfunction. However, parts of the public information ecosystem function very well, and understanding this as well will help in protecting and developing existing strengths. Here, we address this gap, focusing on public engagement with high-quality science-based information, consensus reports of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Attending to public use is important to justify public investment in producing and making freely available high-quality, scientifically based reports. We deploy Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), a high-performing, supervised machine learning model, to classify 1.6 million comments left by US downloaders of National Academies reports responding to a prompt asking how they intended to use the report. The results provide detailed, nationwide evidence of how the public uses open access scientifically based information. We find half of reported use to be academic—research, teaching, or studying. The other half reveals adults across the country seeking the highest-quality information to improve how they do their job, to help family members, to satisfy their curiosity, and to learn. Our results establish the existence of demand for high-quality information by the public and that such knowledge is widely deployed to improve provision of services. Knowing the importance of such information, policy makers can be encouraged to protect it.

Who Uses Open Access Research? Evidence from the use of US National Academies Reports   | Impact of Social Sciences

“A fundamental principle of open access is that publication technology enables the widest possible audience for research findings. However, the extent to which open research is used outside of academia is often underexplored. Drawing on a dataset covering over a million user comments about their use of US National Academies consensus study reports, Ameet Doshi, Diana Hicks, Matteo Zullo and Omar I. Asensio find widespread use of open research in the public sphere….

Our classification project reveals that the impact of these reports extend far beyond the research community (see Results, Fig 1). We find that half of all report downloads are used for non-academic purposes, including to improve the provision of services by medical professionals, local and regional planners, public health workers, and veterans’ advocates, to name just a few of the 64 total categories of report use.  Heavy use is made of Academies reports on STEM education and how people learn by teachers, school administrators and teachers’ coaches.  Other notable reports with their prominent users included Dying in America (chaplains), Nutrient Requirements for Beef Cattle (farmers), and Best Care at Lower Costs (clinicians and hospital administrators)….

Open access repositories require significant resources, both technological and human, to sustain and innovate. The National Academies Press, for example, has developed an engaging user interface to incentivize browsing and ease of access to NASEM publications. The PubMed Central server, developed and managed by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), requires millions of dollars per year to operate. Our research indicates there is an identifiable payoff to society for these taxpayer investments into people, technology and design to support OA publishing….

Librarians and open access advocates have long presupposed that open access to high-quality scientific knowledge could and should be viewed as a public good. Our empirical research suggests that the initial utopian aspirations regarding the public use and societal impact of OA may indeed rest on sound footing.”


Open Access Delivers Significant Increased Usage for All Pluto Journals 21 Publications in 2021 – Knowledge Unlatched

In January 2021 Pluto Journals took the step of flipping all 21 of their Journals into Open Access, which means that all articles are free to read. By the end of January 2022, the usage statistics of the portfolio of Journals had increased by a staggering 650%, over the figures in 2020 and by 850% over the figures for 2019.

Full article: The Buyback Dilemma: How We Developed a Principle-Based, Data-Driven Approach to Unbundling Big Deals

Abstract:  [University of Saskatchewan] is a publicly funded, medium-sized research intensive medical doctoral university in Canada. Like other academic libraries, we have been coping with the rising costs of Big Deal journal packages in the context of shrinking budgets and variable currency fluctuation between the Canadian and American Dollar. When faced with a need to cancel two Big Deal packages in order to balance our budget, we undertook a data-driven, principles-based approach. We discuss the context at [University of Saskatchewan], and the principles and steps we used to successfully determine which packages to cancel, and how to determine titles for re-subscription within a limited budget. We discuss how we compiled and used data that addresses scholarly (citation), pedagogical (downloads), and reputational (survey responses) concerns, and share the formula we developed. We also share some lessons learned and recommendations and ideas for future Big Deal assessment.


Sci-Hub downloads show countries where pirate paper site is most used

“Download figures for Sci-Hub, the popular but controversial website that hosts pirated copies of scientific papers, reveal where people are using the site most. The statistics show that users accessing Sci-Hub from China are by far the most active — and that with more than 25 million downloads, usage in China outstrips the rest of the top ten countries combined (see ‘Global resource’).

Perhaps surprisingly, the figures also show that the United States, in second place, has about one-third as many downloads, at 9.3 million. “There is a widespread opinion that Sci-Hub is of no use in the United States, because universities have money to pay for subscriptions, but that is not true,” says Alexandra Elbakyan, the site’s founder.

The statistics are updated daily and show the number of downloads from each country over the past month — but they are not normalized for the size of the research population….”

Knowledge Unlatched Presents Open Access Heroes 2022

Knowledge Unlatched (KU), the international initiative for Open Access (OA), is pleased to announce OA Heroes 2022, highlighting the countries, institutions, publishers, disciplines and scholarly titles seeing the most usage worldwide. The number of total user interactions (including downloads and views) for KU titles has grown year on year by 16 percent and now stands at a total of 16.2 million. On average, each title unlatched through KU gets 5,450 user interactions.

Arcadia and ICOR: Experiments in Open Science

“With ICOR we will be working on distributed experiments for collective gain. Some of the key areas of alignment between Arcadia and ICOR are in:


Developing Open Science Best Practices: As we develop our open science program, we will contribute to ICOR’s library of guidelines, sharing our approach, our documentation, and our learnings.

Creating an IP Toolbox: We believe that open science and commercialization do not have to be mutually exclusive. Establishing a strong and creative IP strategy is essential for proving that open science can support and speed our commercial pursuits. We have already learned from the resources provided by ICOR and are working on developing agreements and means of tracking our progress, which we will share back with the community.

Building Research Output Management Systems (ROMS) and Using Persistent Identifiers (PIDs): Scientists have traditionally relied on journals and journal articles to house and disseminate their data, but the journal system wasn’t built with today’s diverse and ever-expanding datasets in mind. New systems are needed to share and organize scientific research. Arcadia is committed to using PIDs to facilitate discoverability and to depositing data in repositories that meet FAIR (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse) principles. Working towards shared data schemas for all research outputs will help facilitate discussion, review, and reuse.

Facilitated Collaboration: Collaboration is central to Arcadia’s success, and we aim to collaborate widely while maintaining our commitment to open science. We are in the process of developing our Collaborator Agreement, and will work with ICOR to share it, to track its success and any necessary revisions.

Modular Data and Review: It is current standard practice to release data and solicit peer review at the end of a project. We believe that releasing data more frequently and gathering and integrating community feedback more often and earlier in a project’s lifespan will accelerate science and produce better results.

Tracking Nano-Contributions: Author lists on journal articles do not accurately reflect a scientist’s contribution to a project and can promote territorialism and competition, rather than collaboration. Arcadia will be developing new methods for mapping contributions. These methods will provide a richer, more substantive picture of a person’s contribution, and ICOR will aid in measuring and tracking the success of these methods.

Metrics of Utilization: Knowing if and how people are using the data you produce is key to providing a valuable resource for the community. As we develop our ROMS, we will incorporate meaningful metrics to track utilization and will learn how to improve our data products to increase accessibility and reuse. …”

IRUS-UK | Jisc

“IRUS (Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) enables institutional repositories (IRs) to share and expose statistics based on the COUNTER standard. It provides an aggregated view of repository usage to benefit organisations, it offers opportunities for benchmarking, and acts as an intermediary between repositories and other agencies.

IRUS collects raw usage data from IRs and processes these data into COUNTER-conformant usage statistics. This provides repositories with comparable, authoritative, standards-based usage data.

IRUS is a community-driven development, responding to user needs….”

IRUS-UK | Jisc

“IRUS (Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) enables institutional repositories (IRs) to share and expose statistics based on the COUNTER standard. It provides an aggregated view of repository usage to benefit organisations, it offers opportunities for benchmarking, and acts as an intermediary between repositories and other agencies.

IRUS collects raw usage data from IRs and processes these data into COUNTER-conformant usage statistics. This provides repositories with comparable, authoritative, standards-based usage data.

IRUS is a community-driven development, responding to user needs….”

Toll-based access vs pirate access: a webometric study of academic publishers | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to draw a comparison of the Web traffic ranking, usage and popularity of websites of databases of reputed publishers, namely, ScienceDirect and Emerald Insight, that provide access on subscription basis with Sci-Hub, on the basis of data obtained from Alexa databank (www.alexa.com). Sci-Hub is a website that provides pirated open-access to the research literature, where piracy, according to The Economic Times (2020), refers to the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content.


Under present study, the quantitative study of the collected data was carried out with help of descriptive research methodology. The Alexa databank was singled out as the source of data. This study crawled through Alexa databank on 01.12.2019 and collected relevant data regarding Sci-Hub, ScienceDirect and Emerald Insight using the search terms Sci-hub.tw, Sciencedirect.com and Emeraldinsight.com sequentially. Different criteria were taken into consideration, which include global traffic rank, the average number of page views per user, time taken for uploading, bounce rate, percentage of users, the number of in-links and daily time spent on the site.


The results of this study showed that ScienceDirect has the highest traffic rank and in-linking sites among the surveyed databases. But highest number of page visits were recorded for Sci-Hub with fastest downloading speed. It has also been observed that the users spent less time on ScienceDirect and Emerald Insight as compared to Sci-Hub. This study further observed that Sci-Hub has the lowest bounce rate. Users from both the developing and developed economies use the Sci-Hub, though the highest number of visitors belongs to the developing nations.


This study provides an overview of the performance of toll-based publishing databases with pirated database based on different criteria through World Wide Web. Though, this study in no way supports or endorses the unauthorized and illegal access to knowledge, but such data helps in depicting and analyzing how much a particular database is accessed by its users all over the globe and also determines and illustrates the time spent by users while accessing a specific database, thus, providing the user preferences in information seeking activities. This study provides an overall view of adoption of open resources.

Use and trustworthiness of Wikipedia information: students’ perceptions and reflections | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

This study aims to explore the trustworthiness of Wikipedia information in terms of accuracy, stability, objectivity and validity among university students along with their perceptions toward the quality of the information in Wikipedia.


This study used to use a quantitative research design based on the survey method. The questionnaire was designed with the help of literature followed by a pilot study to check its validity and reliability before data collection. A proportionate stratified sampling technique was used to collect data from students in the graduate program.


Data showed that the majority of the respondents used Wikipedia information regularly for both academic and leisure purposes. It is also noted that they usually did not edit/add content in Wikipedia entries, though they observed incomplete content in it. Findings revealed that among the four constructs of trustworthiness (accuracy, stability, validity and objectivity), respondents had certain reservations about the accuracy of Wikipedia information. They opined that content from Wikipedia is not stable and is susceptible to alternation. Nevertheless, they believed in the objectivity of Wikipedia information as the contents are verified by an editor/expert and this information is considered unbiased and impartial.

Practical implications

These findings may be helpful to fill the knowledge gap in the body of literature and to understand the accuracy.


The current study is the first one to analyze the trustworthiness of information in Wikipedia entries among university students in the context of a developing country.

Who are the users of national open access journals? The case of the Finnish Journal.fi platform – Pölönen – 2021 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  In this paper we study the diversity of users of open access articles on the Finnish Journal.fi platform. This platform hosts around hundred open access journals from Finland publishing in different fields and mainly Finnish and English languages. The study is based on an online survey, conducted on 48 journals during Spring 2020, in which visitors were asked to indicate their background and allow their location and download behaviour be tracked. Among 668 survey participants, the two largest groups were students (40%) and researchers (36%), followed by private citizens (8%), other experts (7%) and teachers (5%). Other identified user categories include journalists, civil servants, entrepreneurs and politicians. While new publications attract a considerable share of the views, there is still a relatively large interest, especially among students, in older materials. Our findings indicate that Finnish language publications are particularly important for reaching students, citizens, experts and politicians. Thus, open access to publications in national languages is vital for the local relevance and outreach of research.


More readers in more places: the benefits of open access for scholarly books

Open access to scholarly contents has grown substantially in recent years. This includes the number of books published open access online. However, there is limited study on how usage patterns (via downloads, citations and web visibility) of these books may differ from their closed counterparts. Such information is not only important for book publishers, but also for researchers in disciplines where books are the norm. This article reports on findings from comparing samples of books published by Springer Nature to shed light on differences in usage patterns across open access and closed books. The study includes a selection of 281 open access books and a sample of 3,653 closed books (drawn from 21,059 closed books using stratified random sampling). The books are stratified by combinations of book type, discipline and year of publication to enable likewise comparisons within each stratum and to maximize statistical power of the sample. The results show higher geographic diversity of usage, higher numbers of downloads and more citations for open access books across all strata. Importantly, open access books have increased access and usage for traditionally underserved populations.