In a 2018 discussion of Tech Trends of 2022, a common catchphrase was Spotify for Science. Arresting as it was, the idea seemed for many years to be in the offing. Under the Brussels declaration in 2007, Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM) publishers committed to sharing raw data as well as publications. Open Science and, more broadly, the Open Scholarship Initiative envisaged an era of improved access to research resources and enhancement of knowledge through sharing. A manifestation of this openness is search engines becoming a key discovery method; as on 2018, about 45% of the time academic researchers found an article through web search. About 60% of referrals to publisher websites also come from web search.
Two issues for sharing – Discovery and Access
Two issues emerge as a result. First, publishers are concerned about discovery of content. Today, academic libraries focus more on determining the quality of research output through data analysis – an estimated 18% of content budget of academic libraries is for abstracting and indexing platforms – and it is, thus, essential for publishers to promote high-quality content with more likelihood of citation (as measured by indices such as Impact Factor). Journal publishers must, therefore, know how their journals, and even the articles individually, are performing. Trend is also an important determinant of discoverability; articles on trending topics are more amenable to search. Publishers are known to act on their hunches, ignoring promoting potential content in the absence of granular information about the preferences of its readership.
Second, lack of access to content after discovery obstructs research. Though sales of individual articles have soared to over 80% as on 2012, libraries still prefer bundle access. Publishers sell journals in bundle licenses, and it is essential for them to know how many articles are being denied access due to lack of adequate licenses.
A Comprehensive Analytics Platform for STM publishers
MPS Insight, Impact Vizor, and Usage Vizor combine to provide a comprehensive analytics platform for all academic publishers. They contain a set of tools that provide a granular insight into journal, article, and even section statistics. Using the correlator vizor, publishers can find not only how an article or a section compares relative to others but also how the citation is correlated with usage. Publishers can find out how readers are engaging with their content, which journals are more popular, most downloaded, or read in entirety. Year-wise citations are provided, and sites are ranked too. With the cohort comparator, publishers can find out more about trending topics and articles related to them published by others. Monthly access requests are also available – for journals, books, platforms, and databases.
These tools also provide demographic information about the readership – what fraction of the readership belongs to which countries. Requests from users with no license or where limit of simultaneous users has been exceeded are also available. Using the Rejection Activity Tracker, publishers find out more about the articles rejected by the publication – whether the article was published elsewhere or whether they are highly cited. It is not rare for a publisher to unravel an opportunity to launch a new journal based on the insights.