Highlights from Free the Science Week 2019

In celebration of its third annual Free the Science Week (April 1-7, 2019), the Society once again took down the paywall to the entire ECS Digital Library. For the duration of the week, readers had unrestricted access to more than 151,000 scientific articles and abstracts.

This successful weeklong event produced swells in ECS page visits and content usage that attest to the enduring relevance and value of the Free the Science initiative.

Drawing new attention

ECS was especially pleased to learn that Free the Science Week 2019 drew more new visitors to the digital library than the week’s previous installments. During this year’s Free the Science Week, over 62% of those who visited the digital library during the week were new visitors; that is, more than 39,380 new visitors were exposed to ECS content.

A blog series ECS published during the week, intended to educate readers about the Free the Science initiative and the Society’s open access offerings, also gained considerable attention over the course of the week, amassing a combined total of 14,370 unique page views.

Breaking usage records

In terms of publications usage, this year’s Free the Science Week proved the best yet. Over 365,000 full-text articles were downloaded during April 2019, exceeding the download totals for both April 2017 and April 2018, when previous installments of Free the Science Week were held. Additionally, during the month of April, the total usage across all ECS publications increased by 30% over the first-quarter monthly average for 2019.

Moreover, ECS’s subscription-based publications—the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, and ECS Transactions—collectively received more downloads in April 2019 than they did during nearly every other month in the history of the ECS Digital Library (the one exception being October 2018).

Although the download totals for these publications did not exceed the totals received last October, when ECS celebrated International Open Access Week 2018, they surpassed the totals received in October 2015, October 2016, and October 2017—the months during which ECS previously participated in Open Access Week.

The fact that Free the Science Week—an event designed and conducted by ECS alone—is eliciting a response from the community comparable to that of Open Access Week—an internationally recognized event—gives ECS great hope for the future of its push toward open science.

Looking forward

Taken together, these statistics are encouraging because they demonstrate deep and sustained interest from the electrochemical and solid state communities—not just in ECS’s technical content but also in the Society’s mission and commitment to one day making scientific research free to read and free to publish all year round.

ECS thanks everyone who participated in Free the Science Week 2019 by downloading and sharing free research. Your support brings the Society one step closer to making its vision for open science a reality.

Want to learn more about Free the Science? Check out ECS’s recent blog posts on the initiative.


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