I’m in Europe this week meeting with Isidro F. Aguillo (@isidroaguillo) and the #webometrics team and couldn’t help but love the irony of the recent World Bank report, available only in PDF format, about how no one reads their PDFs (which is quite an interesting meta observation). Whether you think this is another reveal into the bigger issues of publicly funded research or simply a poor choice of publishing formats, it has started an interesting conversation about sharing. Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham, @WashingtonPost) in The Solutions to All Our Problems May be Buried in PDFs That Nobody Reads recently contemplated whether or not our questions have been answered or the answers have not been found.
- 225 average downloads per World Bank paper (1,202,032 total downloads for 5,336 papers)
- 130 World Bank papers have 1000+ SSRN downloads (from 1003 – 8916)
- 3 World Bank papers have 10,000+ SSRN downloads
- Governance Matters VIII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, posted June 2009 – 30,914 downloads
- The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues, posted Sept. 2010, – 30,553 downloads
- Governance Matters VI: Governance Indicators for 1996-2006, posted July 2007 –21,427 downloads
If you change the Sort By criteria in the drop-down box to Downloads, Ascending you will see that only 4* World Bank papers submitted to SSRN have not been downloaded vs. 517 in the World Bank report. We haven’t done a paper for paper comparison but this is a significant difference in usage.
The question is how do we best work together to provide the easiest pathways and proper incentives for the authors so that overall usage of research is maximized. We currently work closely with several IRs but it’s not enough and other broader issues are topics for another day.