OLH Readership and Cost Reports for 2018-2019

Posted by Martin Paul Eve on 18 February 2019

It is a truism to note that “all metrics are wrong”. In the world of open access, this may be even more applicable, though. As I have noted elsewhere, different institutions want different metrics (“our readers”, “our authors”) and it is sometimes very difficult to provide these data. Further, we know that a “view” of a web page is not the same as a “read” or any kind of real-world impact/engagement. These are, at the worst, proxies for engagement that can serve a useful but not necessarily accurate function. 

With these caveats out of the way, though, we have been preparing our annual statistics aggregate for publications at the Open Library of Humanities. We are still waiting for some statistics here from sponsored presses. At present, for example, these figures do not include those from the journals that we sponsor at Liverpool University Press (Edit; updated on 19th February). We are also waiting on statistics from AsiaNetworkExchange. I will update these figures once they arrive.

That said, here are the key numbers for February 13th 2018 to February 13th 2019 for the Open Library of Humanities and the journals that we publish and fund:

  • We published 458 articles.
  • These articles were uniquely downloaded 61,922 times.
  • These articles were uniquely viewed 337,237 times.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per published article was £2.33.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per download was £0.02.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per view was £0.003.

As above, I remain sceptical of many metrics. These “per institution per unit” metrics also rely on us having a sizeable membership base. We obviously could not publish an article if all we received was £2.41 per article. However, I hope these figures do demonstrate that we operate a system that distributes the cost of publication, on a not-for-profit basis, far more equitably and in a far more manageable way than article processing charge business models.

Professor Martin Paul Eve

CEO, Open Library of Humanities