Winter 2013 OSU Libraries Faculty Forum: Mine or Theirs: A comparison of usage at Elsevier's ScienceDirect versus OhioLINK's Electronic Journal Center
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Winter 2013 OSU Libraries Faculty Forum: Mine or Theirs: A comparison of usage at Elsevier's ScienceDirect versus OhioLINK's Electronic Journal Center

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Presentation given at the 2013 Winter Faculty Forum. December 10, 2013. ...

Presentation given at the 2013 Winter Faculty Forum. December 10, 2013.
Ohio State University Libraries

Comparison of Elsevier journal usage at the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center versus at the Elsevier ScienceDirect platform.

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  • First, let’s go over the two platforms that this research covers. The first is the consortium OhioLINK’s Electronic Journal Center (EJC) platform, a platform created, developed and maintained by the OhioLINK for much of the e-journal content purchased consortially. The second platform is Elsevier’s ScienceDirect, where subscribers can access journals and content published by Elsevier.As you can see from the screen shots, the user experience at the EJC versus at ScienceDirect is slightly different, with ScienceDirect offering left-hand navigation panel for the volumes and issues, with the content of an issue in the body of the screen. The EJC simply has one screen for navigation, requiring users to click into an issue in order to view content.
  • Before getting into the research let’s look at the context and history of both platforms.ScienceDirect and the EJC both launched roughly around the same time, in the late 1990s. Both were developed in some way to address shifting user behavior and opportunities the online environment offered.By the year 2000, the EJC offered3,000 journal titles and over 1.9 million articles in the from some of the largest and most renowned academic publishers including Elsevier, Springer-Verlag, and Wiley, making the EJC one of the largest locally stored electronic journal collections in the United States.By the year 2009, ScienceDirect held 9 Million articles, 4,700 ebooks and served 11 Million researchers worldwide.In the year 2009, theOhioLINK computer disk storage system suffered a widespread, and supposedly not possible, failure affecting all major online services offered to OhioLINK users, essentially rendering the EJC and its content unusable. It is important to note that during this time, in order to enable users to access the consortially purchased content, OhioLINK worked with the publishers, including Elsevier, to allow users to access content on the publisher platform.A month later the EJC was fully restored, and today there are over 15 million articles in the EJC.
  • Given the history of these two platforms, I was interested in researching what the more recent trends in usage have been at each platform.Why did I chose ScienceDirect as opposed to other publishers platforms? For a couple of practical reasons. The first being I was able to obtain the OhioLINK wide usage data for ScienceDirect, meaning the usage data I retrieved is applicable for all users in the consortium, and not just one specific institution, such as Ohio State. Secondly, out of all the publishers that offered consortium-level usage statistics, the number of title held consortially from Elsevier is substantially more than the other publishers.Finally, because ScienceDirect and the EJC were developed roughly around the same time, I thought that looking at these two parallell histories would provide interesting context.Other important points to consider in the methodology is that the data reviewed is from 2007-2012, because 2007 is the earliest year I was able to obtain for the consortium-level usage statistics at ScienceDirect.Usage data was obtained at the title level, however the title lists between the EJC and ScienceDirect were scrubbed to match exactly. For example, there were a number of cases where a title moved to a different publisher and was no longer available at ScienceDirect, however the EJC still identified this title as an Elsevier title, when it really is published by someone else. When there were mismatches, the titles were removed.Finally, because the total number of titles has increased over the years, in order to compare usage over time, usage statistics are compared by usage per 100 titles. The table above shows that the title count has increased from about 1900 titles in 2007 to 2200 in 2012.
  • So what did I find:As you can see, there was a time when usage at the EJC outperformed usage at ScienceDirect. However, usage of content at the EJC has been in slow, but steady decline, whereas usage of the exact same journals at ScienceDirect has grown significantly since 2007.It’s not surprising that usage of ScienceDirect outperforms the EJC after the EJC failure in February 2009. However, what is surprising is that the point at which usage at ScienceDirect begins to outpeform the EJC actually occurs months before Februrary 2009.The intersection between the EJC trendline and the ScienceDirecttrendline actually occurs in August 2008.Finally, I’d also just like to point out the occurrence of an anomaly in the data. In April, May and June of 2012, one of the OhioLINK institutions experienced a security breach with ScienceDirect, which led to excessive downloading of articles. This huge spike in usage for all of OhioLINK has been caused by the excessive downloads at one institution.
  • As we know usage per month within an academic year is dependent upon what is happening within the academic calendar. Months around finals may experience higher usage while the summer months may experience significantly lower usage.In order to adjust for these known fluctuations in the academic calendar, I also calculated the usage data based on a 12-month rolling average. This graph more clearly shows the trend in usage, where today usage at the EJC hovers just below 6,000 downloads per month, whereas ScienceDirect has over 2 times the usage of the EJC.What I also think this chart better illustrates is that although usage at the EJC was in decline prior to February 2009, after the EJC came back online, in March 2009, usage has been almost flat.
  • 2012 EJC usage of Elsevier contentPrimary Axis: Student population per institutionSecondary Axis: 2012 usage of Elsevier content in the EJCPopulation retrieved from the Carnegie Foundation Carnegie Classifications for Size & Setting. Carnegie Data retrieved from the IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) Survey. “Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment is based on IPEDS Fall 2009 enrollment data, with FTE calculated as full-time plus one-third part-time. For two-year colleges, enrollment is based on all undergraduates. For four-year institutions, it is based on degree-seeking students at all levels.”
  • Primary Axis: student populationSecondary Axis: Usage per student (simple calculation of dividing usage by the student population)For example: OSU usage is 3.19 articles/uses per studentNortheastern Ohio Medical College: “OhioLINK full text journal titles areaccessible to all faculty, clinical faculty, staff, and students at NEOMEDas well as the librarians and medical professionals at theNEOMED Associated Hospitals.”


  • 1. Mine or theirs, where do users go? A comparison of usage at OhioLINK’s Electronic Journal Center versus Elsevier’s ScienceDirect OSU Libraries Faculty Forum December 9, 2013 Juleah Swanson Acquisitions Librarian for Electronic Resources
  • 2. Reminder of History • 1995- Elsevier offered 1,100 of its journals in electronic form to subscribers • 1997- Elsevier launches ScienceDirect • 1998- OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center (EJC) goes live online • 2000- 3,000 journal titles and over 1.9 million articles in the EJC • 2009- ScienceDirect held 9 million articles, 4,700 e-books, for 11 million researchers in over 200 countries. • February 2009- OhioLINK & EJC system failure • March 2009- EJC fully restored • 2011- 15 Millionth article added to EJC
  • 3. Methodology Highlights • Why ScienceDirect? • Ability to obtain OhioLINK wide data • Substantial number of titles • Parallel history • Data reviewed from 2007-2012 • Title lists reviewed for matches • Usage analyzed per 100 titles Number of matching titles Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Title Count 1910 2050 2084 2154 2243 2245
  • 4. Usage per 100 titles Usage per 100 titles at the Electronic Journal Center and ScienceDirect EJC Usage February 2009 ScienceDirect: y = 5.1748x - 198939 R² = 0.4997 Electronic Journal Center y = -1.2238x + 54936 R² = 0.2033
  • 5. Usage per 100 titles Rolling 12-month average usage per 100 titles at the Electronic Journal Center and ScienceDirect Science Direct y = 5.0881x - 196354 R² = 0.8238 Electronic Journal Center y = -1.1064x + 50314 R² = 0.6413
  • 6. Who still uses the EJC? 2012 Usage of the Elsevier content per OhioLINK institution
  • 7. Comparison of usage per student to population Trendline: Y=-0.0686x+4.9366
  • 8. Comparison of percentage population and usage: Percentage of total statewide student population Percentage of total EJC usage Ohio State 10.27% 21.12% Kent State 6.74% 5.62% U of Cincinnati 6.45% 8.67% Ohio U 5.26% 9.82% Smallest 35 Colleges* 10.46% 12.36% *Student Population: 64,362 (looked at set of smallest schools roughly equivalent to the size of OSU)
  • 9. Questions for You: • Initial thoughts? • How could this type of data change the way you approach your work or interactions with students/faculty? • Why does this matter?
  • 10. Questions or Feedback? Juleah Swanson Acquisitions Librarian for Electronic Resources Assistant Professor The Ohio State University