January 26, 2022

Research Article: “Measures of Health Sciences Journal Use: A Comparison of Vendor, Link-Resolver, and Local Citation Statistics”

The full text of the following article appears in the latest issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (2013 April; 101(2): 110–119).


Measures of Health Sciences Journal Use: A Comparison of Vendor, Link-Resolver, and Local Citation Statistics


Sandra L. De Groote
University of Illinois at Chicago

Deborah D. Blecic
University of Illinois at Chicago

Kristin Martin

From the Abstract

Libraries require efficient and reliable methods to assess journal use. Vendors provide complete counts of articles retrieved from their platforms. However, if a journal is available on multiple platforms, several sets of statistics must be merged. Link-resolver reports merge data from all platforms into one report but only record partial use because users can access library subscriptions from other paths. Citation data are limited to publication use. Vendor, link-resolver, and local citation data were examined to determine correlation. Because link-resolver statistics are easy to obtain, the study library especially wanted to know if they correlate highly with the other measures.


Vendor, link-resolver, and local citation statistics for the study institution were gathered for health sciences journals. Spearman rank-order correlation coefficients were calculated.


There was a high positive correlation between all three data sets, with vendor data commonly showing the highest use. However, a small percentage of titles showed anomalous results.

Discussion and Conclusions

Link-resolver data correlate well with vendor and citation data, but due to anomalies, low link-resolver data would best be used to suggest titles for further evaluation using vendor data. Citation data may not be needed as it correlates highly with other measures.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.