eJournal interface can influence usage statistics: implications for libraries, publishers, and Project COUNTER.
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Davis, Philip M.; Price, Jason
The design of a publisher's electronic interface can have a measurable effect on electronic journal usage statistics. A study of journal usage from six COUNTER-compliant publishers at thirty-two research institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden indicates that the ratio of PDF to HTML views is not consistent across publisher interfaces, even after controlling for differences in publisher content. The number of fulltext downloads may be artificially inflated when publishers require users to view HTML versions before accessing PDF versions or when linking mechanisms, such as CrossRef, direct users to the full text, rather than the abstract, of each article. These results suggest that usage reports from COUNTER-compliant publishers are not directly comparable in their current form. One solution may be to modify publisher numbers with 'adjustment factors' deemed to be representative of the benefit or disadvantage due to its interface. Standardization of some interface and linking protocols may obviate these differences and allow for more accurate cross-publisher comparisons.
electronic journals; ejournal; interface effect; publisher; science journals; statistical analysis
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