May 23, 2022

Independent Analysis Shows Open Access Articles Published in Nature Communications Have More Views and Downloads

For your open access folder.

From Nature Publishing Group:

An independent statistical analysis of the articles published in Nature Communications, carried out by the Research Information Network (RIN) has found that open access (OA) articles are viewed three times more often than articles that are only available to subscribers. RIN also found that OA articles are cited more than  subscription articles.


RIN analysed the web traffic to 722 articles published in the first 6 months of 2013 and found that open-access articles were viewed three times as often as subscription articles in html format, and twice as often in PDF format.

Over the first 180 days after publication, subscription articles were viewed in HTML format an average (median) of 804 times, and the PDFs were downloaded an average of 399 times. In contrast, open-access articles were viewed 2051times on average, and downloaded an average of 904 times.

The statistician analysed a larger dataset of 2008 papers that were published between April 2010 and June 2013 in order to assess the effect of open access on citations. Articles that were published open access had been cited a median of 11 times and articles published using the subscription model were cited a median of 7 times, a difference that was statistically significant. The only discipline not to show any citation benefit from open access publication was chemistry.

Research Information Network Executive Director, Michael Jubb said: “This study adds to the growing body of literature showing that open access is good for article citations and, especially, online visibility. We weren’t able to control for all the factors that might affect views and citations, such as whether articles had been posted in one or more repositories, or the numbers and locations of authors; but we’re confident that the analysis shows that open access has positive effects for both authors and readers.”

Read the Complete Report (6 pages; PDF; via Research Information Network)

View/Download Data Set Used in Analysis (via FigShare)

Read the Complete NPG Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.