The usage of OA ebooks on the JSTOR platform

A report commissioned by four university presses (Cornell University Press, UCL Press, University of California Press and University of Michigan Press) explores the usage of OA books via the JSTOR Platform.

JSTOR currently offers over 2,250 OA books as part of its open content platform. Researchers can search for open content including books and journal content.

The research wanted to find out more about the identity of users (how do they arrive at JSTOR, where are they based geographically, and in which institution for example); the content (what are the most popular subjects); and how the users interact with and use the content (who downloads and who simply views; what do they do with downloads and how long do they spend interacting with content. Similarly, the publishers themselves were asked about how they use JSTOR’s reporting data and what data would they like to receive.

Users and content

  • Most users find their way to the ebook content via JSTOR itself – 34% of referrals to the ebook content come via this route
  • 97% of users are downloading no more than five chapters at a time. 78% are only downloading one chapter at a time
  • 42% of views and downloads are from US account holders
  • Social science is the most popular topic

Publishers and platforms

The report makes recommendations for both publishers and platform providers.

  • Publishers should help develop industry standards for rich usage reporting for OA content 
  • Publishers want to know more about the people who are using their books
  • Publishers are interested in comparisons between the uses of OA vs closed content
  • Participating publishers want to engage OA authors with the promotion of their books. Making usage data more visible will support that

The full report is available here.