arXiv usage at Mason

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The other day we started talking about joining as a way to help support Open Access and the valuable service that arXiv offers.  As you’d expect, the question arose, “How often do we think it’s being used?”

One exploratory email to support at and I had an answer almost within the hour.  For accesses from the domain (meaning the user was on the campus network) we see this activity:

Year    Downloads

2009   2,623

2010   3,867

2011   4,034

2012   4,975

2013   5,821

2014   8,351

2015   8,587

2016  10,480

A steady increase.  Graphed, it’s easy to see.   I’m going to guess that the jump in use around 2013 coincides with our rollout of the Primo discovery service (metadata for arXiv documents is included in the underlying database).

Arxiv gmu

When you consider that we also have users who visit arXiv from off-network devices, it’s an easy decision for us–we are joining arXiv.  Membership fee works out to about 14 cents per download (orders of magnitude better than what we see with Elsevier).