Visualizing Book Usage Statistics with Metabase · punctum books

“There is an inherent contradiction between publishing open access books and gathering usage statistics. Open access books are meant to be copied, shared, and spread without any limit, and the absence of any Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology in our PDFs makes it indeed impossible to do so. Nevertheless, we can gather an approximate impression of book usage among certain communities, such as hardcopy readers and those connected to academic infrastructures, by gathering data from various platforms and correlating them. These data are useful for both our authors and supporting libraries to gain insight into the usage of punctum publications.undefined

As there exists no ready-made open-source solution that we know of to accomplish this, for many years we struggled to import these data from various sources into ever-growing spreadsheets, with ever more complicated formulas to extract meaningful data and visualize them. This year, we decided to split up the database and correlation/visualization aspects, by moving the data into a MySQL database managed via phpMyAdmin, while using Metabase for the correlation and visualization part. This allows us to expose our usage data publicly, while also keeping them secure….”

When to Hold Them, When to Fold Them: Reassessing “Big Deals” in 2020: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  While cancellations of “Big Deals” at research institutions are making the headlines, small- and medium-sized schools are also addressing the issue of managing their journal packages by cancelling or unbundling major publishers’ journal packages. Although “Big Deals” were advantageous when first acquired, as the years passed, large publishers absorbed more publications annually, which brought higher costs and titles of lower relevance to the library. Each year librarians at Pepperdine University have analyzed cost per use, and each year the cost per use increased on many packages until these increases became unsustainable. Coinciding with this tipping point, alternatives to licensing entire packages emerged or became more viable. Libraries across the country realize that they no longer need to own everything. The authors go into details for each of the publishers’ “Big Deals,” present reasons why they were cancelled or restructured, the alternative solutions implemented, and what the reaction has been.


ResearchGate Partnership and COUNTER 5 Usage Reporting

“In the first section of this 1-hour webinar, Sebastian Bock, Senior Product Manager in the Product & Platform Group at Springer Nature, will introduce details concerning the finalized agreement between Springer Nature and ResearchGate. In the second section guest speaker Michael Häusler, Head of Engineering Architecture at ResearchGate, will explain the technical aspects of the Springer Nature partnership with ResearchGate including data exchange, authentication and authorization processes. Sebastian will finish with a look at Springer Nature processes to support the agreement including a look at COUNTER 5 usage statistics reporting.”

[2011.11940] Preprints as accelerator of scholarly communication: An empirical analysis in Mathematics

Abstract:  In this study we analyse the key driving factors of preprints in enhancing scholarly communication. To this end we use four groups of metrics, one referring to scholarly communication and based on bibliometric indicators (Web of Science and Scopus citations), while the others reflect usage (usage counts in Web of Science), capture (Mendeley readers) and social media attention (Tweets). Hereby we measure two effects associated with preprint publishing: publication delay and impact. We define and use several indicators to assess the impact of journal articles with previous preprint versions in arXiv. In particular, the indicators measure several times characterizing the process of arXiv preprints publishing and the reviewing process of the journal versions, and the ageing patterns of citations to preprints. In addition, we compare the observed patterns between preprints and non-OA articles without any previous preprint versions in arXiv. We could observe that the “early-view” and “open-access” effects of preprints contribute to a measurable citation and readership advantage of preprints. Articles with preprint versions are more likely to be mentioned in social media and have shorter Altmetric attention delay. Usage and capture prove to have only moderate but stronger correlation with citations than Tweets. The different slopes of the regression lines between the different indicators reflect different order of magnitude of usage, capture and citation data.


OASPA Webinar: Gaining Insights into Global OA eBook Usage – Questions answered – OASPA


Following on from the recent webinar entitled Analyzing Open – Gaining Insights into Global OA eBook Usage, we asked our speakers to respond to the unanswered questions posed by attendees via the webinar chat. You can find those questions and answers below. This may be useful for those who missed it or wish to share with colleagues.

An analysis of use and performance data aggregated from 35 institutional repositories | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

This study demonstrates that aggregated data from the Repository Analytics and Metrics Portal (RAMP) have significant potential to analyze visibility and use of institutional repositories (IR) as well as potential factors affecting their use, including repository size, platform, content, device and global location. The RAMP dataset is unique and public.


The webometrics methodology was followed to aggregate and analyze use and performance data from 35 institutional repositories in seven countries that were registered with the RAMP for a five-month period in 2019. The RAMP aggregates Google Search Console (GSC) data to show IR items that surfaced in search results from all Google properties.


The analyses demonstrate large performance variances across IR as well as low overall use. The findings also show that device use affects search behavior, that different content types such as electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) may affect use and that searches originating in the Global South show much higher use of mobile devices than in the Global North.

Research limitations/implications

The RAMP relies on GSC as its sole data source, resulting in somewhat conservative overall numbers. However, the data are also expected to be as robot free as can be hoped.


This may be the first analysis of aggregate use and performance data derived from a global set of IR, using an openly published dataset. RAMP data offer significant research potential with regard to quantifying and characterizing variances in the discoverability and use of IR content.

How Much Traction do Open Access / Open Educational Resources have in the Classroom?

“Open Access (OA) monographs and Open Educational Resource (OER) textbooks are works that are ‘openly licensed’ — that is, they can be used and distributed for free. In a world of $200 textbooks, OA/OER plays a fairly high-profile role in efforts to reduce the cost of education.

But free circulation makes it difficult to track classroom adoption, which in turn makes it difficulty to understand the shape of demand for OA/OER work–either overall or with respect to particular subjects. The link between supply and demand established in the commercial book market by a sale doesn’t exist in the OA/OER world. Our thought is that this delinking is one reason–and maybe a significant reason–for the relatively low rate of adoption of OA/OER in teaching, despite over a decade of efforts. It’s still too hard to characterize demand for these titles to faculty, curricular designers, publishers, and investors. It’s hard to tell what’s popular and what’s been effectively adopted in peer institutions.

So we’re eager to see what happens when we partially close this information loop by measuring demand via syllabi. Here’s a normalized US trendline for OA/OER adoption based on the OS collection (drawing on catalog information from the Open Textbook Library and the Directory of Open Access Books). It shows rapid OER textbook growth in recent years–but from a very low baseline. In 2017, roughly 1 in 300 classes used OER textbooks and around 1 in 400 assigned an OA monograph (the lighter blue is for textbooks; darker for monographs)….”

Full article: Dismal Results from a Print Periodical Usage Study

“Print periodicals have been a cornerstone of libraries for over 100 years. Over the past 20 years print periodicals have been eclipsed by online journal databases and individual e-journals, but most libraries still subscribe to some print journals. In 2019 Tennessee Technological University  undertook a thorough study of the usage of the current print periodical subscriptions by attaching survey forms to the covers of recent issues. The results showed that most newspapers and scholarly print periodicals were not used at all and the majority could be cancelled. Popular magazines showed slightly higher usage, but many of them could be dropped as well….

As a profession we need to make data driven decisions. Even though libraries have been cutting print periodical expenditures for many decades, it may be time to cut even more. It may be common knowledge that print periodical usage is down, but it may not be common knowledge that usage is zero.”

COARD (Collaborative Open Access Research and Development)

“COARD develops and applies technology and analysis tools that provide insight into the usage and impact of open access scholarly content. We work with publishers, communities and users of scholarly content with the goal of supporting and sustaining a diversity of actors involved in creating and disseminating open access scholarly content….

COARD, standing for Collaborative Open Access Research and Development is the trading name of Knowledge Unlatched C.I.C. a community interesting company registered in the UK. Founded by Frances Pinter, Knowledge Unlatched was focused on developing funding models for open access books. Following several successful pilot rounds that demonstrated the concept the funding operations, name and trademarks of Knowledge Unlatched C.I.C. were transferred to Knowledge Unlatched Gmbh which continues to act as a funding intermediary for open access scholarly books and content….”

More Readers in More Places: The benefits of open access for scholarly books | Zenodo

“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 maximise 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 under-served populations.”

Diversifying Readership Through Open Access | Open research | Springer Nature

“Diversifying readership through open access: A usage analysis for OA books is a new white paper by Springer Nature and COARD based on usage data for 3,934 books, including 281 open access books.

This white paper presents the analysis of that data, exploring what effect, if any, publishing OA has on the geographic usage of books. The findings will be of interest to researchers, authors, librarians and publishers alike. …”

Diversifying Readership through open access: A usage analysis for open access books | Corporate Affairs Homepage | Springer Nature

“Open access (OA) books are reaching more countries and have greater usage and higher citation numbers than non-OA books. A new analysis collaboratively produced by Springer Nature and COARD (Collaborative Open Access Research & Development) presents these and other key findings in a new white paper that explores how OA affects the geographical diversity of readers. 

It shows that OA books have substantially more readers in low-income and lower-middle-income countries and that OA also helps to increase attention to scholarship about these countries. The study is to date the largest and most comprehensive of its kind; the underlying dataset is based on 3,934 books published by Springer Nature, including 281 OA books.

Confirming previous research looking at the potential usage benefits of OA, this analysis shows more downloads and more citations for every type of book, in every discipline, in each of the three years of publication (2015, 2016, 2017) included in the sample. The report finds that OA books on average achieve ten times more downloads and 2.4 times more citations than non-OA books. Furthermore, download numbers from the open web are generally around double those from institutional network points….”