“For views to count, we must count the views.” How a reliable usage metric can provide the missing incentives for Open Access scholarly communication: the BitViews project
This paper (i) provides arguments and data showing the usefulness of a reliable usage metric; (ii) demonstrates how blockchain technology (“BitViews”) can overcome the technical difficulties that hitherto have prevented the worldwide collection and diffusion of “viewing” data; (iii) suggests that BitViews will incentivise academic authors to promote the dissemination of their research via OA repositories.
We survey the available evidence regarding the consumption of medical journals revealing only a weak correlation between citations and views –the set of researchers (“citers”) and of clinicians (“viewers”) are non-congruent. The lack of standardised data on viewing activity leads to an incomplete picture of the geographical and temporal dissemination of research.
In the UK the PIRUS initiative tried to collate views data across publishers and IRs, validating the data using the COUNTER standard. It failed because of the publishers’ refusal to fund the central clearing-house at the core of the technology. Blockchain (a distributed publicly-accessible ledger protecting the privacy of viewing data) provides a low-cost solution which bypasses the need for a central clearing house.
The game-changing feature of BitViews is that authors will have a strong incentive to disseminate their OA post-prints without having to rely only on citations of their paywalled articles for recognition and esteem.