Re: download counts and self-archiving

From: C.J.Smith <c.j.smith_at_OPEN.AC.UK>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 10:02:43 +0100

Of relevance here is the JISC-funded PIRUS project (, which is developing publisher-repository-combined COUNTER-compliant usage stats, as I understand it.

Colin Smith
Research Repository Manager
Open Research Online (ORO)
Open University Library
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

Tel: +44(0)1908 332971

-----Original Message-----
From: Stevan Harnad [mailto:amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM]
Sent: 23 August 2010 04:27
Subject: Re: download counts and self-archiving

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

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Received on Mon Aug 23 2010 - 14:41:27 BST

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