How big is OA journals' readership? (fwd) Natalia Koudinova 16 Jan 2004 10:37 UTC

I thought that this SPARC OA Forum posting (pasted and referenced below)
will be of interest:

See posting archive record at:


List-Archive: <>
To: "SPARC Open Access Forum" <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 00:33:22 +0200
From: Alexei Koudinov <>
Subject: [SOAF] How big is OA journals' readership?

15 January 2004

Dear Colleagues,

I read with interest a New Observer article
"<>How to get
data out" (Wed, Jan 14, 2004) that was announced at the SPARC Open Access

The concluding paragraph of this article stated:

"Researchers are now called upon to do something revolutionary, not only
for their own good but for the good of science. 500,000 hits on the PLoS
server on its first day of operation give some reason for optimism."

I beleive that the statistics for the very first day of PLoS operation
[accompanied (read lifted) by a worldwide PR compaign in PLoS support] is
not representative our outdated. As the quoted above New Observer report
come out three months after the PLoS Biology was lauched it would be great
to generate recent daily or monthly statistics, so both readers and OA
architects would have a better picture on how PLoS Biology is taken by the
end users, i.e. whether scientific community members indeed read PLoS.
Such statistics is thought to be a major factor to define future impact of
an open access publication as there will be no barrier for an access.

Readers' statistics, however, is usually difficult to obtain for both
subscription-based and open access journals.

BMC lists such info for
<>most-viewed articles only. Of
many journals published with the assistance of the HighWire Press I found
freely available readership statistics for British Medical Journal
(<>BMJ visitors'
statistics) and the journals published by American Society for
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). ASBMB is named an Open Access
Publisher in the article
"<>ASBMB: The Open Access
Publisher" currently accessible at several ASBMB titles home page,
including <>J Lipid Research and <>J
Biological <>Chemistry ; Both titles bear
<>Blue Logo of Open Access).
Other titles published by ASBMB are listed at .

Each ASBMB journal home page includes "Advertising Instructions". Such
pages at <>J Biological Chemistry and
<>J Lipid Research list info on printed
pages per year, circulation, online users' number (80,000 users/week for
JBC) and visitors' statistics by hits, 5,000,000 and 140,000 hits/month
for JBC and JLR, respectively.

I focused on JBC and JLR, because the first title "is the most-often cited
research journal in the world and the #1 journal in biochemistry and
molecular biology" (<>according to JBC
advertising Info). The second title is directly related to the journal
<>Neurobiology of
LIpids that I founded and lead.

J Lip Research hit parade is 140,000 hits/month and had a recent lower
value of 90,000 hits/month. This journal is defined as "a key resource for
original articles and reviews in the broadly defined area of biological
lipids since 1959. It has the highest impact factor of any peer-reviewed
journal devoted solely to the field of lipids and lipoproteins. The focus
is on the biology of lipids in health and disease" (statistics and quote
is from just viewed <>JLR advertising

The current readership (by hits) for the
<>Neurobiology of
Lipids (that is published since 2002 at the cost below one article
publication at BioMedCentral, see my
<>earlier comments) is
36,550 +/- 4, 908 , n=4 months, not a bad number for a new journal dealing
with just a portion of the subject of more general J Lip Research
published for near fifty years, and having not comparable with
Neurobiology of Lipids content. NoL statistics for individual articles is
<>also available.

The current online access statistics for another journal related to ASBMB
but not bearing Open Access label, <>FASEB Journal
is 295,000 hits/month. "The FASEB Journal, a multidisciplinary resource
for the life sciences, has one of the highest impact factors (7.252) in
the biology category" (<>FASEB J
advertising info viewed today).

I welcome PLoS and other OA publishers to disclose the readership
statistics for their journals.

Perhaps, librarians could have and analyze access statistics for Open
Access journals vs Subscription based journals, so, the numbers could
justify the trend and hopefully advocate for Open Access.


Alexei Koudinov, MD, PhD
Neurobiology of Lipids

Competing interest declaration by A. Koudinov: I do not have any competing
financial interest. I am a founding, managing and publishing editor of the
Neurobiology of Lipids, an unpaid position.
<>Neurobiology of
Lipids (ISSN 1683-5506) has no affiliation with any professional
association, publisher, industry member, commercial enterprise, public or
government organization. The viewpoint presented in the above letter is my
personal view.