Re: download counts and self-archiving

From: Andrew Odlyzko <odlyzko_at_UMN.EDU>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2010 22:47:35 -0500

There is perhaps an even more important reason not to worry about this effect:

If university bean-counters do start using download statistics in a serious
way, those statistics will quickly become distorted to the point of being
meaningless. We already have extensive evidence that impact factors of
journals and citation counts are being systematically distorted. It
would be far, far easier to distort download counts. "Mike, if you will
have each of your students take a look at one of these half a dozen of
my papers, I will assign your favorite papers to my classes as required
reading, ..."

Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> On Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 5:59 PM, Michael Smith
> <> wrote:
> > When I was pitching self-archiving to some colleagues last week, two of them
> > mentioned the following argument AGAINST self-archiving. University
> > bean-counters have started using the number of times articles are downloaded
> > (from publishers sites, I guess) as a measure of faculty productivity or
> > impact. If one self-archives, then people will be less likely to download
> > from the publishers site, thereby lowering one’s download score. I can think
> > of various reasons why this is NOT a good reason to avoid self-archiving,
> > but I wonder if there are any data on this, or if any bibliometric
> > researchers have addressed this topic explicitly.
> Here are just a few reasons (each one of them a no-brainer):
> (1) More accessibility does not decrease total downloads, it increases them.
> (2) OA self-archiving, while increasing total downloads, may shift
> some of the download traffic from the publisher's website to the
> institutional repository.
> (3) Download counts from the institutional repository can be added to
> download counts from the publisher's websites.
> (4) Open Access self-archiving also increases citations -- another,
> more venerable target of the bean-counters.
> (5) Increased downloads lead to increased citations.
> How many more reasons do the bean-counters need, to mandate OA self-archiving?
> > Michael E. Smith, Professor
> > School of Human Evolution & Social Change
> > Arizona State University
> >
Received on Mon Aug 23 2010 - 14:34:51 BST

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