article use in astrophysics

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006 22:48:26 +0100

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006 11:10:29 -0400
From: Michael Kurtz <>
Subject: article use in astrophysics

Dear Sally and Stevan,

Perhaps you will be interested in the latest version of the plot Edwin
Henneken has been making for me every time I speak to a publishers group
(the next few are AIP, World Bank, and SSP). It shows the reads of the
preprints and the associated journal articles for all papers published
in December 2005 in any of the 4 main astro journals where the
associated preprint was published in August (4 months lag is the peak of
the distribution). There are about 200 papers in the plot.

The data are the reads (with multiple reads of the same article by the
same individual removed) on the Cornell arXiv server of the preprint,
the reads from the ADS servers of the preprint (which are includedin the
worldwide arXiv total), and the reads on the ADS servers of the paper,
after it is published. The reads of the paper on the journal web site
are not in the plot.

The preprint reads via ADS drop to zero after the paper is published.
Other similar plots show a large drop, but not quite to zero. This says
directly that given a choice professional astronomers overwhelmingly
choose the journal version of an article. I suggest this means that the
subscription base is secure, as Stevan has been suggesting.



Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2006 13:15:55 -0400
From: Michael Kurtz <>
Subject: Re: article use in astrophysics

Dear Sally and list,

I think there is no problem accounting for my plot and the IoP download
data. Note that the major reads are of the preprint when it comes out.
I do not show the journal log reads when the journal comes out, but it
is reasonable to assume that they are lower, as a large fraction of
readers have already read the paper.

The ADS reads are mostly for people who look the paper up, thus people
who are more than casually interested. So while the initial discovery
downloads may be down at the journal site, the followup reads by people
interested in the articles are not down. Since the initial reads are
much greater than the followups in number this makes the early download
statistics unreliable as a measure of shifted interest.

Anyway that is my take on (some of) what the explanation of the current
data implies.



Sally Morris (ALPSP) wrote:

> That is very interesting, and quite at variance with the data from the
> physics and mathematics publishers I mentioned. Clearly more analysis
> is needed - perhaps there are discipline variances.
> Sally
> Sally Morris, Chief Executive
> Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
> South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
> Tel: +44 (0)1903 871 686
> Fax: +44 (0)1903 871 457
> Email:

Dr. Michael J. Kurtz
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
VOICE: +1-617-495-7434
FAX: +1-617-495-7467
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Received on Thu Apr 20 2006 - 22:53:53 BST

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