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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Papers of University of California at Santa Barbara Department of Economics Professor Emeritus Ted Bergstrom.

Cover page of Do download reports reliably measure journal usage? Trusting the fox to count your hens?

Do download reports reliably measure journal usage? Trusting the fox to count your hens?


Download rates of academic journals have joined citation rates as commonly-used indicators of the value of journal subscriptions.  While citation rates reflect worldwide influence, the value that a single library places on access to a journal is probably more accurately measured by the rate at which it is downloaded by local users.  If local download rates accurately measure local usage, there is a strong case for employing download rates to compare the cost-effectiveness of journals. We examine download data for more than five thousand journals subscribed to by the ten universities in the University of California system. We find that controlling for measured journal characteristics - citation rates, number of articles, and year of download - download rates, as captured by the ratio of downloads to citations, differs substantially between academic disciplines. This suggests that discipline specific adjustments to download rates are needed to construct a reliable tool for estimating local usage. Even after adding academic disciplines to the variables we control for, we find that there remain substantial ``publisher effects'', with some publishers recording significantly more downloads than would be predicted by the characteristics of their journals. While the usage tool can be modified to incorporate the publisher effect, this raises the question of what causes such substantial differences across publishers once journal and discipline characteristics are accounted for.

Cover page of Efficient Ethical Rules for Volunteer's Dilemmas

Efficient Ethical Rules for Volunteer's Dilemmas


This paper extends the classic Volunteer’s Dilemma game to environments in which individuals have differing costs and private information about their own costs. It explores

the nature of symmetric ethical optimum strategies for Volunteer's Dilemma games with and without differing costs. Where costs differ, ethical optima are constructed by symmetrizing the game with a Rawlsian “Veil of Ignorance