October top downloads from ORO, referrals and social media

Top 15 Downloads for October are below – some are regulars but some new ones tell a story!


During Open Access week I was asked which social media channels drive traffic to ORO the most.  I rather dismissively said that the majority of traffic comes directly from Google and that because traffic from social media was relatively small it was barely worth the analysis.  And I think generally that is true, looking at October 64,760 ORO hits were directed from Google with 480 from Facebook and 208 from Twitter – so on the face of it it’s not a bad assumption.


However, when I looked a bit more closely at the top 15 there are illuminating exceptions.

Tony Coughlan and Leigh-Anne Perryman’s paper Are student-led Facebook groups open educational practices? received 312 downloads in October.  This traffic is almost entirely driven by Facebook – which maybe isn’t a surprise given the content of the paper! 




92% of all traffic came from Facebook and only 1% from Google which is a staggering reversal of the general referral pattern.  Indeed this one ORO item had 215 referrals from Facebook which accounts for 45% of all traffic coming from Facebook in October!

Tony created a post about the paper back in August – but something happened in Facebook sometime in October which led to the tremendous spike in downloads in October – unfortunately I haven’t been able to trace what that was….


Secondly, Inge de Waard’s MOOC factors influencing teachers in formal education received 301 downloads in October.  The breakdown of referrals is a bit more orthodox.

MOOC factors



Google is the biggest referrer, but what is interesting is the traffic driven from scoop.it. The paper was scooped and re-scooped by several different users of the service.

The other interesting thing about this one was that the majority of downloads (118) came from the US compared to 9 from the UK – which is another reversal from the general trend – 21,989 from the UK in October compared to 11,829 from the US. But the journal is Mexican and there is also a Spanish version of the paper in ORO so the paper may especially be relevant to an American audience.

In total this item had 23 referrals from scoop.it in October, ORO in total had just 25 referrals.  So this item alone accounts for 92% of all referrals from scoop.it.


So what does this mean, if anything?

  • General patterns of ORO traffic hide very interesting individual cases.
  • Patterns of traffic (e.g. geo-location or social media channels) may well reflect the content of the research output.
  • In individual cases using social media to promote research outputs makes an enormous difference to the dissemination of a research output.


October Top 15 PDF: OctoberTop15

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