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The missing link: journal usage metrics

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Purpose ‐ The aim of this short communication is to contribute to a growing debate about how we can measure the "quality" of journals. More specifically, the paper argues the need for a new range of standardized indicators based on reader (rather than author-facing) metrics. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This is a thought experiment, outlining the kinds of usage indicators that could be developed alongside the traditional ISI measures of impact, immediacy and obsolescence. Findings ‐ The time is ripe to develop a set of standardised measures of journal usage that are as easy to understand, and as universally accepted, as ISI's current citation-based indicators. By linking article publication year to full text downloads, this article argues that very considerable value could be extracted from what, in many cases, is almost uninterpretable data. Practical implications ‐ Indicators in the form proposed could find a wide variety of applications, from helping librarians to assess the potential value-for-money of bundled journal deals, to helping policy-makers and scholarly communication researchers to better understand the dynamics of knowledge diffusion. Originality/value ‐ The development of standardized usage factors in the form suggested here would radically shift the centre of gravity in bibliometrics research from the author to the reader. This remains largely unexplored territory.
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Keywords: Measurement; Quality; Serials

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 29, 2007

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