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Written by: Ian Hickman

Do Published papers get Downloaded more than unpublished ones?

If a paper has been published - and the majority have - there is usually a journal reference stored in the meta data detailing in which journal it is in and where in that journal it is placed. If we compare the look at the number of downloads per paper (disregarding duplicate downloads), we find that papers without a journal reference get downloaded more than those with. (See Figure)

Do papers with a journal reference get downloaded more?

Why do papers without a journal reference get downloaded more that those with? To answer this the lifecycle of a paper needs to be analysed. A paper will be written and deposited into the archive. At around the same time the author will submit the paper to a journal and part of this submission process is a peer review of the papers content. After peer review the author may re-deposit the paper with a few minor corrections and a reference to the journal that the paper will be in. From the data we have, we can only access the current state of the papers. That is we do not know if they were deposited into the archive already with a journal reference or if they were updated at some point to contain a journal reference.

We know that newer papers get downloaded far more than older papers, and for the reason mentioned above, it is likely that most of the papers containing journal references are older than those that do not. Therefore we would expect papers without a journal reference to get downloaded more.

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