Article Usage Reports enable authors to track downloads and views

Personalized dashboards provide metrics to gauge an article’s impact

In the world of academia, the number of citations an article receives has long been a recognized measure of success.

However, with the emergence of new article metrics, researchers are increasingly looking to usage data (downloads and article views) and other article-level metrics, such as social media mentions, to understand a paper's impact.

Last year, Elsevier ran a pilot for a new initiative designed to meet the demand for alternative metrics: the Article Usage Report. Based on the positive results of that pilot, the decision has been taken to offer it to all journals on ScienceDirect this autumn.

How does the Article Usage Report work?

When authors publish with a journal involved in the initiative, they receive an email with a link to a personalized dashboard. There they can view how often their articles have been accessed and by which countries. They can also see whether that access was by the corporate or public sector. Also, the dashboard contains tools to help authors promote their papers via social media channels.

Authors will continue to receive quarterly email updates for the first year following publication, but the links to the reports will be updated on a monthly basis, meaning authors are welcome to visit the dashboard between emails. The service is free.

The Article Usage Reports complement our existing CiteAlert service, which comes into effect once an author's article has been cited.

An example of an Article Usage Report taken from the journal Analytica Chimica Acta

Meeting a need of authors and editors

Alina HelslootThe initiative is the brainchild of Elsevier Life Sciences Publisher Alina Helsloot. In fact, it was the winning entry in an internal Elsevier innovation competition.

Inez van Korlaar, PhD A short while later, it was picked up by Dr. Inez van Korlaar, Director of Project Management for Elsevier's Marketing Communications & Researcher Engagement Department (MCRED), who recognized the opportunities it offered to improve author support.

"Instead of making the usage data publicly available like some of our competitors do," Helsloot said, "we decided to go with a more personal approach: a tailor-made update that can only be viewed by the author, giving them the choice whether they want to share the data more widely."

She explained that the service will also "maximize the outreach" of journal articles by giving the author tools to promote their papers via social media and then track how successful they have been.

Although the reports are designed for authors, others have expressed interest as well.

Joy Ideler"Our editors were also keen to see this introduced," said Joy Ideler, who leads the project for MCRED.

Right after her team announced the pilot, she received emails from her publishing colleagues at Elsevier. One publisher wrote: "This is wonderful news. I have had so many of my editors ask if we would be offering this type of service to our authors and they will be thrilled to hear that this will soon be an option."

Another pointed out that she is often asked by societies, editors and authors to provide usage stats by article.

Feedback from the authors involved in the pilot was also encouraging. Here is a sample of comments from the survey:

  • "Gives inspiration and encouragement as well."
  • "I think it is a fantastic scheme, it really gives you a greater sense of achievement knowing that people are reading your work."
  • "With time the relevance of numbers will be known and even more helpful."
  • "As an academic demonstrating the reach of your work is critical to tenure and performance reviews. This is very nice to include in a tenure and promotion package."

What's next?

The next step is to explore linking the Article Usage Reports to other services, for example, citations and social media mentions. Another avenue to explore will be the benchmarking of the usage to other articles published in the same journal or field.[divider]

The Author

Linda WillemsAs Senior Researcher Communications Manager for Elsevier, Linda Willems (@willems_linda) oversees the Editors' Update website, a resource center designed to keep editors in touch with the latest developments in journal publishing, policies and initiatives. The site also hosts the quarterly Editors' Update newsletter, for which she is Editor-in-Chief. Willems, who is based in Amsterdam, is also on the team behind the Elsevier Journal Editors' Conferences program.

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27 Archived Comments

William Gunn September 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm

I think this is a nice initiative and surely a welcome service for authors. How would this service work with something like ImpactStory or, which helps put these numbers in context for authors?

Inez van Korlaar September 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Hi William, thanks for your comment. We would like to add many more metrics to this service in the future, including social media mentions. Giving a full picture of an article's metrics will allow the author of an article to see directly how social media, academic network and sharing activities can influence the article's usage. This will also allow the author to play an active role in the promotion of his or her article, and get feedback on how that influences the article's impact.

Armen Hayrapetyan October 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Indeed, this is a beneficial service for authors. How one could register for such a service? Thanks in advance.

Alison Bert, Editor-in-Chief, Elsevier Connect April 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Hi Armen,

If the service is available to the journal, the lead author should receive an alert.

Victor Darley-Usmar November 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Is our journal (Redox Biology) covered by this-I am Co-editor in chief? I would like this to be available for our associate editors on a journal basis and for authors on an individual basis. We do not have an impact factor yet so this is critically important to us.



Inez van Korlaar November 22, 2013 at 9:01 am

Dear Victor

Thanks for your interest. Yes, the service is already available for Redox Biology so your authors should already receive alerts. Please feel free to contact me at for more information. Best wishes, Inez

Paul Michael Grant December 6, 2013 at 4:44 am

Brilliance abounds as metadata tells an epic story of "The Pioneering Humans"...

Abhilash December 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

its a remarkable improvement and will allow all tracking possible

Bankim December 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Hey, I am not a corresponding author. However, I am a co-author for articles in Sciencedirect. How can I see how many times my papers have been downloaded?

Inez van Korlaar December 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Dear Bankim

Thanks for your interest. At the moment we don't provide such reports for co-authors unfortunately. However, we do encourage the corresponding authors to share their reports with their co-authors. If you have co-authored any recent articles (last 6 months), I would recommend getting in contact with the lead author as he might have received a report.

Kind regards,


Kotapati Srinivasa Reddy January 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

Great Ideas and Innovations in Publications Industry.

I admire and respect Elsevier, and pleasure to associate with Elsevier Team.

L. S. January 31, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I published an article late last year (2013) in a ScienceDirect journal, but never received an email with a link to my dashboard. How do I go about getting access to this? I'm curious to see my Usage Report. Also, are these reports generated for ScienceDirect articles published prior to 2013 as well, or no?

Inez van Korlaar February 3, 2014 at 8:58 am

Dear L.S.

Thank you for your interest in the service. For your 2013 article, you should receive your first Usage Report about 3 months after publication. I'm afraid that since we are expaning this service gradually, we currently can not generate reports for older articles.

Best wishes,

Inez van Korlaar

Prof Ife Adewumi February 11, 2014 at 12:29 am

I wish to receive support to be able to track citation of my publications.

I also wish to know how to upload articles published but not available to the general reading public.

Onuamah February 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm

How do we reach the journal impact factors from your site?

Alison Bert, Editor-in-Chief, Elsevier Connect April 8, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Hi Onuamah,

You can find the Impact Factors for Elsevier's journals on our journal homepages:

sudip kumar sen February 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Hi, I am not a corresponding author. However, I am a first author for articles in Sciencedirect. How can I see how many times my papers have been downloaded or cited?

cri ogx March 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

hello i need to know, if this journal is class A or A+.

cri ogx from:

Gabriele Morra March 5, 2014 at 7:49 am

I have received the report of an article that I published last year on an Elsevier journal. It was interesting and informative, however it misses to give some information on the statistics of the journal. How many times is an article from this journal downloaded? With this data I could compare my impact with the others. At the moment I don't know whether the paper was downloaded many or only a few times, whether its impact has been high or low.

Harald March 6, 2014 at 8:27 am

This sounds like an interesting development. However, I do not understand how I, as an author, can access this report? Is it only available once the e-mail has been sent out, or can I find it somewhere?

Inez van Korlaar March 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Dear Harald. Thank you for your interest in the usage reports. As an author, you will start receiving reports approximately 3 months after publication of your article. The e-mail will contain a link which you can bookmark for future reference.

Harald March 18, 2014 at 7:43 am

Thank you for the response. As I understand it, the answer is no: I can not find it myself, but must wait for the link to be sent to me by e-mail?

Inez van Korlaar March 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Hi Harald. Yes, that's correct. In the future we are planning to provide pages where you can log in, but for now you will have to wait for the e-mail. Regards, Inez

Mohamed March 7, 2014 at 10:34 am

Dear Sir,

How can I use your new report (Article Usage) to track downloads and views of my article (e.g., Applying a multi-objective optimization approach for Design of low-emission cost-effective dwellings

Best Regards


Inez van Korlaar March 10, 2014 at 7:39 am

Dear Mohamed

Unfortunately, we can only offer usage reports for articles published after May 2013. We hope to provide something for older articles later this year.

Best regards,


Dr.Moqsud March 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

Its a good initiative. I just surprised and glad as well to see my paper's number of views.

Marc Rothenberg March 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm

i received an email that my article in Gastroenterology was downloaded or viewed 632 times since Jan 31st. is this good or bad; how would this compare to the average in Gastroenterology?

Alison Bert , Editor-in-Chief, Elsevier Connect March 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Hi Dr. Rothenberg, Inez van Korlaar will respond to your question in an email.

Junyuan Xu March 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Please send "complete rank with all countries" to the author every month.

S. Jayalakshmi March 15, 2014 at 11:55 am


I received Article Usage Reports for 2 of my papers, which were shared by my corresponding author.

I used the dashboard link and downloaded the report for one of the article (Co-author).

However, when I click the dashboard link for the other article (I am the first author) to download the report, it always shows the report of the 1st article.

Why is it so. In this case, how do I get my report.

Do let me know, if can send the details of the article and that I can request you to send the dashboard report to my email (as I am the first author),

Kindly let me know.

Best Regards,


Dr Thiru Vandeyar March 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Thiru Vandeyar

This is an excellent online tool to view your journal impact. It should be wonderful if all journals offered this statistics. Great for institutional requirements.

Would be great to have impact factor and H-index ratings as well


Inez van Korlaar March 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Dear Thiru, thanks for your kind comments. On the article usage alerts, we only display article level data, so we have not included H-index (which is author level) or Impact Factor (which is journal level) If you are interested in journal level metrics, such as the Impact Factor, I invite you to have a look at our Journal Insights pages, which are available for many of our titles:

Erin Dubnansky March 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Several of my editors are very interested in this service. However, the data seem to be in a vacuum; how do we know if the number of downloads/views is good or bad, compared to other articles in the same issue/journal? In other words, what context can we offer authors? Is this something Elsevier has planned for future dashboards? Also, is there any research on the correlation between citations and article usage?

Inez van Korlaar March 20, 2014 at 8:06 am

Dear Erin

We're indeed planning to provide benchmark data in a future release, later this year. So stay tuned! And yes, there has been quite some research on the correlation between usage and citation. See for instance.

Regards, Inez

Nihar March 21, 2014 at 9:47 am

How could I get the report on my paper in materials letter, published in 2013?

sunil kamboj March 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Please tell me how to use this article usage report

Inez van Korlaar March 26, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Dear Sunil

I am not sure what exact information you are looking for but you can find a FAQ here:

For more information, you may contact me at

Tamilselvi March 27, 2014 at 6:42 am

Welcome this Article alert

Inez van Korlaar April 11, 2014 at 10:33 am

Thank you for your nice comment!

Erin Dubnansky April 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

When you use the word "access" to describe usage, does that include both PDF downloads and full-text views?

Inez van Korlaar April 11, 2014 at 10:36 am

Dear Erin

Thank you for your question. We indeed include both the PDF downloads and the full-text views in the reports. We combine them into one usage figure.

Best regards,


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