This should be our last post of the year for 2019 (unless something urgent comes up over the holidays). With things shutting down for the end of the year, it’s a good time to look back on 2019, a busy time in The Scholarly Kitchen as we predicted with the year’s first post at the beginning of January.

FIgure jumping between 2019 and 2020 years.

This year we added new “Chefs” Haseeb Irfanullah and Tao Tao. One of our goals in The Kitchen is to expand the viewpoints and information we present more globally, and Haseeb and Tao have already helped bring in valuable information from outside the US and EU. We continue to welcome guest posts to expand the diversity of viewpoints in The Kitchen, and this year we published 50 guest posts, an increase of 10% over last year (21% of our content), along with 15 interview posts (6%).

Regulation, particularly rules for researchers regarding access to the papers resulting from funding continues to dominate the discussion, between Plan S and the new US Executive Order. I expect more of the same in 2020, and would love to reach a point where we can move past the decades of arguing about access to the stories written about research and into questions of access to the research itself (especially data and methods).

We published 242 posts this year, which inspired 1,759 comments, a drop of nearly 52% from last year. Is this because our work to make our comments section less combative has decreased the back-and-forth arguing, or was everyone just too busy this year to spend time leaving comments on a blog? I would guess a combination of both. Traffic to The Scholarly Kitchen continued to grow. As of this writing (December 21), the site saw 1,660,561 pageviews in 2019, a 7.5% increase over 2018. 2019 saw both our 11 millionth and 12 millionth pageview and our 75 thousandth comment (lifetime we have collected some 12,522,687 pageviews and 75,100 comments). We had 730,713 visitors, a 5% increase over last year. Our readership is predominantly in the US (just over 52% of views) and the UK (15%).

Our most read posts during 2019 were as follows:

  1. Guest Post: Think Sci-Hub is Just Downloading PDFs? Think Again
  2. A Confusion of Journals: What is PubMed Now?
  3. Cabell’s New Predatory Journal Blacklist: An Updated Review
  4. Citation Contamination: References to Predatory Journals in the Legitimate Scientific Literature
  5. Cabell’s New Predatory Journal Blacklist: A Review
  6. Tranformative Agreements: A Primer
  7. Springer Nature Syndicates Content to ResearchGate
  8. Sci-Hub: How Does It Work?
  9. Publishers Announce a Major New Service to Plug Leakage
  10. Is The Value of the Big Deal In Decline?

If we limit the most-read list to posts that were published in 2019, our top posts for the year are as follows:

  1. Cabell’s New Predatory Journal Blacklist: An Updated Review
  2. Citation Contamination: References to Predatory Journals in the Legitimate Scientific Literature
  3. Tranformative Agreements: A Primer
  4. Springer Nature Syndicates Content to ResearchGate
  5. Publishers Announce a Major New Service to Plug Leakage
  6. Is The Value of the Big Deal In Decline?
  7. Taking Stock of the Feedback on Plan S Implementation Guidance
  8. Politics and Open Access
  9. Breaking News: Annette Thomas Leaves Clarivate
  10. Researcher to Reader (R2R) Debate: Is Sci-Hub Good Or Bad for Scholarly Communication?

Fascinating to see Sci-Hub continue to dominate the readership numbers, particularly given the announcement last week that the US Department of Justice is investigating Sci-Hub’s founder under suspicions that she is working with Russian intelligence agencies to steal data from US sources.

Search Engines remain our most common referrer (22% of pageviews), with Twitter a distant second (2.8%).

We’ll start up the new year the first week in January, so until then, thanks to all the Chefs for their hard work, thanks to all who contributed a guest post or sat for an interview (and keep them coming – we want to hear your voice in The Kitchen!), and of course, thanks to all of you for reading and sharing your thoughts with us. See you next year.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


10 Thoughts on "The Year in Review: 2019 In The Scholarly Kitchen"

I think maybe the title for #5 on your most-read list should be “Cabell’s New Predatory Journal Blacklist: A Review.” Right now #3 and #5 are the same.

“[I] would love to reach a point where we can move past the decades of arguing about access to the stories written about research and into questions of access to the research itself (especially data and methods)”

Hear Hear! I’ve never understood the religious zeal by so-called OA advocates for free access to PDF reports and complete indifference to data curation and access, much less detailed methods that can be replicated.

On declining comments, I used to think it was a conversion to reading SK on phones, which are handy for reading things like this during bits of forced downtime at work, but I’ll wager phone vs computer access has been stable for years. Maybe some of these topics and debates are maturing? It does seem like most posts get a modest number of comments, and then some hot button will generate 100+, many of which are back and forth? Even if they are fewer in number, many of the comments are good reading themselves and make this blog.
Thanks for another great year of thought provoking writing!

Thanks to you and the chefs for this great year of information; on to 2020!

Thanks for everything you do to bring us compelling and thoughtful posts! I would also say that despite the drop in # of comments, these still are very rewarding and many times add significantly to the value of the post.

Congratulations on a significant increase in page-views in 2019. You also point out an increase in visitors, but it’s getting less and less meaningful to measure visitor-numbers. A typical reader will access a website with several devices. One could argue that as long as you have the same errors, you can track a growth, but the sharp increased in anonymization and deletion of cookies different browsers now do, will probably falsely lift visitor-numbers. One example is the ever stricter Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Apples Safari. It deletes first-party-cookies after 7 days, so a user with Safari visiting a website on and returning on eight days later will be seen as a new user.

Thanks — I am always skeptical of any web traffic statistics, and this is helpful information. Please do take all numbers (from us and everyone else) with a significantly large grain of salt.

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