The end of May of each year usually brings the Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Meeting. This year, due to public health concerns, it’s been canceled, which is for the best but also brings with it the sadness of not being able to spend time with good friends and colleagues while learning more about the state of our community. But, like many organizations, while the public meeting has been shuttered, the internal board meetings continue (at least virtually), and as part of that I usually prepare a year-to-date report on The Scholarly Kitchen. I thought it would be interesting to look at this unusual year and see how it differs from years past.

TSK logo

The first question I was curious about was how readership was affected during the isolation period over the last few months. Overall readership from January to early May is up 13% over last year. On the surface, it looks like there’s been a big jump in readership, with March 2020 setting an all-time record for pageviews (168,569). But historically we’ve increased our monthly views in March and April of every year since the blog started in 2008 (with the exceptions of April 2016 and March 2017). The increases in readership are generally in line with what we saw last year:

Year March (% increase over previous year) April (% increase over previous year)
2019 19% 8%
2020 16% 10%

So while we’re definitely growing our audience, it seems in line with our steady year-on-year growth, rather than the pandemic driving some sort of rush to blog reading. Commenting has remained steady after last year’s significant drop at about 11 comments per post.

Looking at readership of posts over the last quarter tells the story of where we all currently stand, with readership largely focused on pandemic-related topics (with a few exceptions):

  1. Guest Post: Think Sci-Hub is Just Downloading PDFs? Think Again
  2. Building Your Remote Workforce: Including Tips & Tricks for Social Distancing
  3. New Chinese Policy Could Reshape Global STM Publishing
  4. Revisiting in a New Light: A Conference Call in Real Life
  5. Guest Post — Coronavirus is a Wakeup Call for Academic Conferences. Here’s Why
  6. Academic Libraries at a Pivotal Moment
  7. Marketing Amidst a Pandemic
  8. Forecasting the US Higher Education Market: A Primer
  9. The Internet Archive Chooses Readers
  10. What Does “Exponential Growth” Mean?

So that’s 8 out of 10 top posts pandemic-related (and given the likely increase in Sci-Hub use with researchers off campus, one could argue that the strong interest in security and privacy implications is also relevant).

That’s a quick look behind the scenes. I hope the information and ideas we’ve covered during this upheaval have been helpful, and I’m sure we’ll continue to think about how our world will evolve as things continue. Given that it’s unlikely we’re going to be able to meet in person for quite a while, I’d encourage everyone to add your voice to the conversation, through our comments or via a guest post. Community remains important, particularly in times of crisis, so please do let us know how we can help.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He serves on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.

Discussion

5 Thoughts on "The Scholarly Kitchen Mid-Year (in a very strange year)"

Thanks David, an excellent summary, good to see some of the newer chefs and guest posts too in the top 10 (Tao Tao has done a wonderful job sharing insights on the Chinese publishing and research ecosystem).

One quick question, has the number of posts gone up, or does that remain fairly constant, around a post each business day?

Thanks to all the chefs for their contributions and perspectives shared, TSK really is a go-to place for scholarly updates and insights!

We try to keep to a post a day on weekdays (with Fridays being for more lighthearted, or at least shorter stuff). We’ve also been doing more group posts which let lots of folks weigh in without having to write a whole post. But no change in volume for us.

Geographical numbers for pageviews for the last 90 days are as follows:
United States 258206
United Kingdom 66497
India 17268
Canada 14957
Australia 13221
Germany 11463
Netherlands 9884
China 6026
Japan 5218
France 4825
Switzerland 3635
South Africa 3442
Spain 2803
Philippines 2703
Brazil 2548
Sweden 2446
Singapore 2396
Italy 2363
New Zealand 2247
Russia 2215
Finland 2214
Ireland 1944
Hong Kong SAR China 1921
Malaysia 1805
Austria 1804
Belgium 1635
Pakistan 1348
Taiwan 1338
Mexico 1293
Norway 1275
Indonesia 1226
South Korea 1188
Poland 1078
Turkey 1076
Denmark 1013
Portugal 1012
Nigeria 955
Greece 899
Ukraine 870
Kenya 869
Bangladesh 852
United Arab Emirates 805
Colombia 783
Israel 774
Serbia 702
Croatia 685
Thailand 683
Romania 671
Hungary 554
Saudi Arabia 548
Egypt 539
Czech Republic 530
Vietnam 506
European Union 476
Argentina 417
Peru 392
Bulgaria 351
Slovenia 316
Lithuania 283
Ghana 278
Ethiopia 269
Chile 265
Sri Lanka 239
Slovakia 212
Lebanon 200
Nepal 185
Morocco 184
Algeria 163
Qatar 163
Iraq 160
Latvia 154
Jamaica 149
Jordan 134
Macau SAR China 123
Puerto Rico 116
Zimbabwe 116
American Samoa 115
Uganda 115
Namibia 114
Trinidad & Tobago 110
Albania 110
Malta 106
Belarus 103
Macedonia 99
Oman 94
Luxembourg 92
Myanmar (Burma) 87
Bosnia & Herzegovina 87
Uruguay 85
Costa Rica 85
Tanzania 85
Estonia 77
Tunisia 76
Barbados 75
Ecuador 72
Kazakhstan 69
Iceland 69
Bahrain 67
Mauritius 64
Kuwait 62
Zambia 58
Brunei 52
Georgia 51
Cambodia 48
Cyprus 45
Uzbekistan 43
Moldova 41
Yemen 41
Venezuela 37
Armenia 37
Fiji 35
Dominican Republic 34
Cameroon 33
Botswana 31
Panama 28
Guatemala 27
Côte d’Ivoire 26
Malawi 26
Honduras 26
Palestinian Territories 26
Paraguay 26
Mongolia 24
Azerbaijan 24
Bahamas 23
Bhutan 23
Bolivia 23
Rwanda 22
Maldives 19
Belize 15
Papua New Guinea 15
Somalia 15
Guyana 14
Laos 14
Grenada 14
Guam 13
Afghanistan 13
Senegal 12
Montenegro 11
St. Lucia 11
Antigua & Barbuda 11
U.S. Virgin Islands 10
Sierra Leone 9
Aruba 9
Réunion 9
El Salvador 8
Suriname 8
Kyrgyzstan 8
Haiti 8
Bermuda 8
Nicaragua 7
Libya 7
Gambia 7
Jersey 6
Gibraltar 6
Cayman Islands 6
Anguilla 6
Curaçao 6
Mozambique 6
Samoa 5
Kosovo 5
Isle of Man 5
Faroe Islands 5
Togo 5
Guernsey 5
Mali 4
Northern Mariana Islands 4
Benin 4
Lesotho 4
Andorra 4
Vanuatu 4
Liberia 3
Solomon Islands 3
Congo – Brazzaville 3
Seychelles 3
Tonga 3
Burundi 3
Madagascar 3
Falkland Islands 3
Swaziland 3
Congo – Kinshasa 2
South Sudan 2
Sint Maarten 2
Guinea 2
Dominica 2
Angola 2
St. Martin 2
Djibouti 2
Montserrat 2
St. Vincent & Grenadines 2
Burkina Faso 2
Central African Republic 1
St. Kitts & Nevis 1
Cook Islands 1
French Guiana 1
Cape Verde 1
Åland Islands 1
Equatorial Guinea 1
French Polynesia 1
Guadeloupe 1
Palau 1
Gabon 1
Timor-Leste 1
Greenland 1
New Caledonia 1
Monaco 1

China was ranked number 8 in readership for the last 90 days, and ranked as number 10 for the last 365 days, so that would indicate an uptick in readership from that area in recent months.

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