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Update to the PLoS Journals

Last night (September 15), we updated the PLoS Journals to Ambra 0.9.4. This release culminates a many-sprint development effort and huge data migration to provide per-article usage statistics. The article usage statistics join the other article usage data (citations, bookmarks, blog posts, etc.) to allow users new ways to evaluate the value of articles. Mark Patterson has posted a blog entry about the Article-level Metrics at PLoS. More information about our article-level metrics program can be found in our PLoS FAQ and the Article-level Metrics website.

To get the article usage statistics, we ran Apache log files from the last four years through a massive data migration pipeline to provide per-article usage data for the number of HTML page views, PDF downloads and XML downloads. For this data, we conformed to the COUNTER 3 standards (industry standard guidelines used to report the usage of online journals to subscribing libraries). But we found that COUNTER’s list of robots was extremely limited, so we exceeded the COUNTER standards by excluding even more robots from the usage data. For detailed information about the usage data, see the Usage Data Help section of PLoS ONE.

Every article now has a new tab called Metrics which displayed a graph of the cumulative usage data. You can see a great example of the article usage data on the Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published article. Since we have all this data, we also created journal summary usage data showing the average lifetime usage per PLoS journal. And we provide a summary Excel file containing the full data set for every PLoS article up to July 31, 2009.

But that’s not all! Other features that have been implemented include:

  • We now display the citations to articles by CrossRef. You can see an example of the citations to this article as recorded by CrossRef.
  • Users can now search across multiple journals.
  • All administrators to override annotation citation information. Correction citations used to be dynamically generated from the article information. If this article information was part of the correction (e.g. title, author name), then the error is propagated in the Correction citation. Now, admins can update the citation information for any annotation to display the correct citation.
  • A number of outstanding bugs were fixed

For a complete list of features implemented, see the release notes.

During the maintenance window last night, we also restarted all of the production servers. We run all of our servers on Linux CentOS so we don’t restart the servers very often. Most of the servers had been running non-stop for 450 days but one of the web servers had been up for 890 days! Unfortunately, one of the production servers rebooted with a bad drive and caused the maintenance window to be a bit longer than expected. We’re off to the colo today to fix the drive but this won’t affect the PLoS web sites while we replace the drive.

Congrats to everybody involved in this enormous effort to provide the article usage statistics!

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