The open access effect in social media exposure of scholarly articles: A matched-pair analysis – ScienceDirect



• The paper examines OA effect when a journal provides two types of link to the same subscription article: OA and paid content.

• OA links perform better than paid content links. When not indicating the OA status of a link, the performance drops greatly.

• OA benefits all countries, but its positive impact is slightly greater for developed countries.

• Combining social media dissemination with OA appears to enhance the reach of scientific information….”


What We Talk About When We Talk About… Book Usage Data

“Over the last two-and-a-half years, we have been working as part of the EU-funded HIRMEOS (High Integration of Research Monographs in the European Open Science Infrastructure) project to create open source software and databases to collectively gather and host usage data from various platforms for multiple publishers. As part of this work, we have been thinking deeply about what the data we collect actually means. Open Access books are read on, and downloaded from, many different platforms – this availability is one of the benefits of making work available Open Access, after all – but each platform has a different way of counting up the number of times a book has been viewed or downloaded.

Some platforms count a group of visits made to a book by the same user within a continuous time frame (known as a session) as one ‘view’ – we measure usage in this way ourselves on our own website – but the length of a session might vary from platform to platform. For example, on our website we use Google Analytics, according to which one session (or ‘view’) lasts until there is thirty minutes of inactivity. But platforms that use COUNTER-compliant figures (the standard that libraries prefer) have a much shorter time-frame for a single session – and such a platform would record more ‘views’ than a platform that uses Google Analytics, even if it was measuring the exact same pattern of use.[2]

Other platforms simply count each time a book is accessed (known as a visit) as one ‘view’. There might be multiple visits by the same user within a short time frame – which our site would count as one session, or one ‘view’ – but which a platform counting visits rather than sessions would record as multiple ‘views’.

Downloads (which we also used to include in the number of ‘views’) also present problems. For example, many sites only allow chapter downloads (e.g. JSTOR), others only whole book downloads (e.g. OAPEN), and some allow both (e.g. our own website). How do you combine these different types of data? Somebody who wants to read the whole book would need only one download from OAPEN, but as many downloads as there are chapters from JSTOR – thus inflating the number of downloads for a book that has many chapters.

So aggregating this data into a single figure for ‘views’ isn’t only comparing apples with oranges – it’s mixing apples, oranges, grapes, kiwi fruit and pears. It’s a fruit salad….”

Sci-Hub Citation Study Confuses Causes With Effects – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Journal articles downloaded from Sci-Hub, an illegal site of pirated materials, were cited nearly twice as many times as non-downloaded articles, reports a new paper published online in the journal, Scientometrics….

Correa and colleagues could have added either one of these sources of usage data to their model to verify whether the Sci-Hub indicator continued to independently predict future citations. That would have confirmed whether Sci-Hub was a cause of — instead of merely associated with — future citations. Without such a control, the authors may have fumbled both their analysis and conclusion.

Sci-Hub may indeed lead to more article citations, although it is impossible to reach that conclusion from this study….”

The transition of ARVO journals to open access – Mallett – – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points:

In January 2016, the three journals of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) transitioned to gold open access.

Increased author charges were introduced to partially offset the loss of subscription revenue.

Submissions to the two established journals initially dropped by almost 15% but have now stabilized.

The transition has not impacted acceptance rates and impact factors, and article pageviews and downloads may have increased as a result of open access….”

Towards societal impact through open research | Springer Nature | For Researchers | Springer Nature

“Open research is fundamentally changing the way that researchers communicate and collaborate to advance the pace and quality of discovery. New and dynamic open research-driven workflows are emerging, thus increasing the findability, accessibility, and reusability of results. Distribution channels are changing too, enabling others — from patients to businesses, to teachers and policy makers — to increasingly benefit from new and critical insights. This in turn has dramatically increased the societal impact of open research. But what remains less clear is the exact nature and scope of this wider impact as well as the societal relevance of the underpinning research….”


Gold Open Access research has greater societal impact as used more outside of academia | Corporate Affairs Homepage | Springer Nature

“What impact does open research have on society and progressing global societal challenges?  The latest results of research carried out between Springer Nature, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Dutch University Libraries and the National Library consortium (UKB), illustrates a substantial advantage for content published via the Gold OA route where research is immediately and freely accessible.

Since the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched in 2015, researchers, their funders and other collaborative partnerships have sought to explore the impact and contribution of open research on SDG development. However – until now – it has been challenging to map, and therefore identify, emerging trends and best practice for the research and wider community. Through a bibliometric analysis of nearly 360,000 documents published in 2017 and a survey of nearly 6,000 readers on Springer Nature websites, the new white paper, Open for All, Exploring the Reach of Open Access Content to Non-Academic Audiences shows not only the effects of content being published OA but more importantly who that research is reaching.”

Submissions and Downloads of Preprints in the First Year of medRxiv | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“Preprint servers offer a means to disseminate research reports before they undergo peer review and are relatively new to clinical research.1-4 medRxiv is an independent, not-for-profit preprint server for clinical and health science researchers that was introduced in June 2019.4 A central question was whether there would be adoption of a new approach to dissemination of pre–peer-review science. Now, a year after its establishment, we report medRxiv’s submissions, posts, and downloads.”

If I tweet will you cite later? Follow-up on the effect of social media exposure on article downloads and citations | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Objectives

We previously reported that random assignment of scientific articles to a social media exposure intervention did not have an effect on article downloads and citations. In this paper, we investigate whether longer observation time after exposure to a social media intervention has altered the previously reported results.


For articles published in the International Journal of Public Health between December 2012 and December 2014, we updated article download and citation data for a minimum of 24-month follow-up. We re-analysed the effect of social media exposure on article downloads and citations.


There was no difference between intervention and control group in terms of downloads (p?=?0.72) and citations (p=?0.30) for all papers and when we stratified by open access status.


Longer observation time did not increase the relative differences in the numbers of downloads and citations between papers in the social media intervention group and papers in the control group. Traditional impact metrics based on citations, such as impact factor, may not capture the added value of social media for scientific publications.

Flipping the switch: how a hybrid journal went open access – Physics World

Tell us about Materials Research Express (MRX)?

MRX is an open-access journal that focuses on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. Published by IOP Publishing, which publishes Physics World, it is devoted to publishing new experimental and theoretical research in the properties, characterization, design and fabrication of all classes of materials including biomaterials, nanomaterials, polymers, smart materials, electronics, thin films and more. The journal, which offers rapid peer review, has an international editorial board that is led by the journal’s editor-in-chief, Meyya Meyyappan from NASA’s Ames Research Centre in the US….”

Diversifying Readership Through Open Access – Open Access Books Network Blog

“A few years ago, we did some work looking at the effect of open access (OA) on downloads and citations of scholarly books. Our authors were excited to hear about the impact that OA could have on their work, but the next question was always along the lines of, ‘But where are those extra downloads coming from? Is OA actually helping books to achieve a more diverse audience?’ A survey of book authors’ attitudes to OA that we conducted last year confirmed this concern: we found that reaching a broad readership – and reaching non-academic audiences such as policymakers and practitioners – ranked high in book authors’ motivations. Reaching readers in low-income- and lower-middle-income-countries (LICs and LMICs) was particularly important to authors who had published an OA book.

OA books are now in their second decade, but we find many authors are still sceptical, or at any rate unsure if it’s really worth it. Perhaps it seems obvious, or intuitive, that OA expands a book’s readership, but being able to point to evidence for this important benefit can be immensely powerful in making the case for OA to book authors….

Others have asked this question before. Notably, Ronald Snijder’s 2013 study, based on a sample of 180 books, showed that despite a ‘digital divide’ in discovery and use between poorer and richer countries, OA led to increased proportions of usage in LICs and LMICs. Six years later, we are able to re-visit this using a much larger dataset of OA (and non-OA) books, and provide a more detailed exploration of these questions….

So, what did COARD’s analysis find?

OA has a robust effect on the number of downloads, geographical diversity of downloads, and citations of books. Downloads of OA books in the study were on average 10 times higher than those of non-OA books, and citations of OA books were 2.4 times higher on average – an even larger OA effect than we found in our previous research in this area.
For every category of book in the sample there is an increase of at least 2.7-fold in downloads for OA books. The effect was seen for all disciplinary groupings, in HSS and STM, across all three years of publication in the dataset, for all types of book (monographs, contributed volumes, and mid-length books) and for every month after publication.
OA books in the study had a greater proportion of usage in a wider range of countries. They were downloaded in 61% more countries than non-OA books. Importantly, OA books had higher usage in low-income or lower-middle-income countries, including a high number of countries in Africa. Analysis using the Gini coefficient disparity index showed that OA books have quantitatively greater geographic diversity of downloads.
Downloads of OA books from the open web were generally around double those from institutional network points. Of course, we can’t rule out that the open web downloads are simply off-campus downloads from readers who already have institutional access, but the balance between the two, and the fact that the OA books reached so many more countries does point to a more diverse readership….”

Library pandemic restrictions showcase the importance of digital collections and the advantages of open access

“While registering more than 4.6 million downloads of its Open Access publications in 2019, the Australian National University (ANU) Press has experienced an average 44% increase in its monthly download numbers from March 2020, as COVID-19 lockdowns have become enforced around the world. Similarly, in May 2020, the Natural History Museum (NHM) in the United Kingdom (UK) has registered a staggering increase in individual record and dataset downloads of 52% and 38% respectively, which amounted, in absolute terms, to 379.69 millions records and 7,328 datasets in this period alone….”

Five Minutes with Professor Sonia Livingstone on the benefits of open access and institutional repositories. | Impact of Social Sciences

“I honestly don’t remember how it all began, though now depositing my research is second nature (and such a regular activity that I fear I burden the always-helpful library staff). I think I began with the documents that seemed to have no place but that I had worked hard on and so wanted to be able to point to on occasion.

What was great about depositing such documents was that I held copyright so they could be instantly accessible to anyone interested….

[Question:] Have you been surprised by how many downloads your research has received in LSERO? So far this year you have received over 86,000 downloads!

Astonished! What can I say? I work in a topical field (children and young people’s engagement with the internet), though I am encouraged that some of less topical work (e.g. on media audiences) also gets noticed through LSERO. I also work in a field that has fostered a constructive and lively dialogue between academics and stakeholders/publics. This leads me to another list – who do I imagine is the audience downloading on such a scale?

It might be academics in universities with nicely resourced libraries looking for a convenient source, and it might be my students (thanks guys!).
But I hope it is also academics in less well-resourced universities who wouldn’t otherwise have access to work that, once published, sits beyond a pay wall.
And I also believe (and hope) that it’s non-academics, whether policy makers or journalists or NGOs and other stakeholders who also lack access to academic journal publications and who don’t generally (like to or have budget for) purchasing academic work….”

Pandemic Restrictions on Library Borrowing Showcase the Importance of Digital Collections and the Advantages of Open Access | Open Research Community

“In other words, the surging use of digital collections that publishers, museums and libraries offer not only benefits from the removal of cost-related restrictions that Open Access involves, but also likely compensates for the lockdown-associated drop in the on-site circulation of university and municipal libraries as well as the on-location sales of brick-and-mortar bookstores, which have fallen by about 60% in Canada. Thus, in the period of March-June, 2020, British libraries have shown a corresponding drop of 48% in their physical lending volumes, as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.”

Pandemic Restrictions on Library Borrowing Showcase the Importance of Digital Collections and the Advantages of Open Access | Open Research Community

“In other words, the surging use of digital collections that publishers, museums and libraries offer not only benefits from the removal of cost-related restrictions that Open Access involves, but also likely compensates for the lockdown-associated drop in the on-site circulation of university and municipal libraries as well as the on-location sales of brick-and-mortar bookstores, which have fallen by about 60% in Canada. Thus, in the period of March-June, 2020, British libraries have shown a corresponding drop of 48% in their physical lending volumes, as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.”

Survey of Academic Library Use of Cost per Download Data for Journals Subscriptions

“This study looks at how academic libraries, especially research oriented institutions, develop and use cost per download data in collection decision-making.  The study is based on data from 52 institutions, predominantly from the USA but also from Canada, the UK , continental Europe and elsewhere. 

Data in the report is broken out by type of institution (i.e. research university, doctoral-level, etc.) and by overall student enrollment, tuition, for public and private institutions and for those located in the USA and all other countries.  Data is also presented separately for collections oriented towards healthcare and medicine, and for multidisciplinary collections.

The 54-page study helps its readers to answer questions such as: How precise an idea do libraries have about the cost per download of their subscribed journals?  How many libraries feel that they measure this cost well?  What tools, applications or programs do they use to obtain or develop this data?  What makes it easier or harder to obtain such data?  How much confidence do they have in the accuracy of the data often made available by journals publishers? Do some of these publishers produce more reliable data than others? If so , which ones? Does the library use benchmarking data from other libraries or consortia when developing or using their in-hour cost per download data?  Exactly what is the cost per download for the library’s most and least expensive journals subscription packages? Is the library making any special efforts to obtain or obtain better cost per download data as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing pressure on library budgets?

Just a few of the study’s many findings are that:

Approximately half of the institutions surveyed said that they had a very or extremely precise idea of the cost per download of journal articles from their university collections.
Public college libraries were much more likely than private college libraries to use benchmarking data from other institutions.

Cost per download was generally higher in the USA than abroad and private colleges and universities tended to pay considerably higher costs per download than their public sector counterparts.

The median cost per download for the highest cost “Big Deal” from the libraries sampled was $15.00.”