2023 was a year of change in the world of scholarly communications, a continuing increase in what I started calling “The Great Acceleration” back in 2019. 2024 will mark the end of many of the provisions in Plan S, although its founders seem to have already given up on it and moved on to the next thing. We’ll also see all US federal agency policies toward the Nelson Memo officially published by year’s end. Personally, I have great concern about the impact this policy is going to have on researchers as there seems to have been little financial analysis and from what I’ve been hearing, little interest in doing any further such preparation for a set of complex policies that are going to shift significant amounts of funds out of research budgets.
But before we plunge into another year of “interesting times“, a last look at 2023 in The Scholarly Kitchen is warranted.
We published 252 posts in 2023, 20 more than in 2022, including over 355,000 words. Readership (as measured by pageviews) increased by 13% over 2022, a year that saw a significant drop-off in readership. As was the case for that year, our new posts appear to be read at a higher rate than ever, but our older material is being read less, likely due to some combination of changes in Google algorithms and a declining interest in things like the Impact Factor of PLOS ONE. 2023 saw over 770,000 visitors to the blog, an increase of over 18% to 2022.
Authorship in The Scholarly Kitchen diversified further in 2023, as around 34% of our posts were by “guest” authors (non-Chefs), an increase of 9% over last year (and please do consider writing for us, the more viewpoints the better). We welcomed three new Chefs into the Kitchen this year, Avi Staiman, Hong Zhou, and Roohi Ghosh.
Our top ten countries for readership in 2023 were (in order), the United States ( 49%, down from 53% last year), the UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, India, Ireland, The Netherlands, Japan, and France. Despite its obvious decline, Twitter remained the top referrer for readers other than search engines, driving more than double the traffic that came in from LinkedIn.
The most read posts for the year are as follows:
If we limit the most-read list to posts that were written in 2023, our top posts for the year are as follows:
If I had to sum up the most popular subjects in 2023 in six letters, they would be AI and MDPI. Though AI has been working its way into our world for many years now, the public-facing nature of ChatGPT and other Large Language Models raised important questions around both copyright and research integrity. MDPI represents the apotheosis of honing a business for the author-pays model for open access, with all the good and bad that brings. The reckoning faced by Hindawi over mass quantities of poorly overseen special issues shined a light on a market that favors quantity over quality.
My prediction for 2024 is more of the same, as we’ve just explored the tip of the iceberg of AI and what a funder-mandated author-pays world of scholarly communication looks like. To paraphrase Bette Davis, fasten your seatbelts it’s gonna be a bumpy year.