Wert einer Zeitschrift / eines Artikels

Das UKSG-Project on Usage Factor Research führt wieder zu den altbekannten Fragen, ob Downloads den Wert einer Zeitschrift wiedergeben würden. Phil Davis antwortet nun in liblicense auf die bekannten Sorgen von Jan Velterop, man würde den Wert einer Zeitschrift nur nach den Downloads beurteilen, ganz interessant wie folgt:

Like citations, usage statistics do not give us an absolute
notion of value of journals or articles, yet they do provide us
with a measure of utility, and for the sciences, utility is a
very powerful measure for how ideas get transmitted through
communities and are incorporated into current research. Unlike
citations, usage statistics give us a sense of the community of
readers (which include authors) and not just the author
community. Article downloads provide a robust estimate of the
size of user communities [1], and are also predictive of future
citations [2, 3]. In fact, a single week of article downloads
from BMJ can predict citations five years later [3].

There are caveats, however, to relying on article downloads as a
measure of „value“.

1. Downloads are not public (like citations) and are therefore
open to self-interested abuse, by authors, publishers, or

2. Downloads are influenced by a publisher’s interface. Even
COUNTER-compliant publishers (who abide by the same measurement
standards) demonstrate significantly different usage patterns,
even controlling for exactly the same journal content [4].

3. Unlike citations, download data are the property of the
subscribing institution, and for contractual or political
reasons, may not wish to share and aggregate these data.

4. Because of article copies being located in many different
places (from the publisher’s site, an aggregator’s database, a
subject, institutional, governmental, or personal archive),
aggregating these statistics becomes problematic.

As a former science librarian, I trust that most librarians are
smart enough not to base journal decisions on only one evaluative
factor, be it use, citations, or faculty complaints. Given that
the future of journal publishing is not likely to be a
universally simplistic author-pays model, usage factors can be
very helpful in helping librarians understand what quality means.

–Phil Davis


[1] Davis, P. M. (2004). For electronic journals, total downloads
can predict number of users: a multiple regression analysis.
Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 4(3), 379-392.

[2] Moed, H. F. (2005). Statistical relationships between
downloads and citations at the level of individual documents
within a single journal. Journal of the American Society for
Information Science and Technology, 56(10), 1088-1097.

[3] Perneger, T. V. (2004). Relation between online „hit counts“
and subsequent citations: prospective study of research papers in
the BMJ. BMJ, 329(7465), 546-547.

[4] Davis, P. M., & Price, J. S. (2006). eJournal interface can
influence usage statistics: implications for libraries,
publishers, and Project COUNTER. Journal of the American Society
for Information Science and Technology, 57(9), 1243-1248.