December 9, 2010 Leave a comment
It seems that traditional publishers may finally be beginning to catch up with the capabilities of the internet, and actually collecting and sharing metrics for the journals and articles they publish.
Springer has recently released Realtime, which aggregates download data from Springer journal articles and book chapters and displays them with pretty pictures (graphs, tag clouds, maps, and icons).
You can look up download data by journal (I looked up Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry) and it will show a graph of the number of downloads from the journal over time (up to 90 days). It also lists the most downloaded articles from the journal (with number of downloads displayed), and if you sit on the page for a while (a short while in the case of this journal) you will see which article was most recently downloaded (this is the “Realtime” part). They also display tag clouds of the most frequently used keywords of the most recently downloaded articles, a feed of the latest items downloaded, and an icon display that shows downloads as they happen.
Springer states that,
[t]he goal of this service is to provide the scientific community with valuable information about how the literature is being used “right now”.
Some of this information is definitely valuable (download counts for articles), and some of it is merely fun and pretty (the icon display). The real question is will they be providing download counts for individual articles on an ongoing / long-term basis? Currently you can only look back 90 days, and you can’t search for individual articles…you can only see download counts for your article (or a particular article) if it happens to be one of the most downloaded. So for this to actually be useful to authors and the institutions they come from, Springer will have to give us a little more, but it is a step in the right direction.