A look at Mendeley Readership Statistics


By See Wah Cheng, Product Manager at Mendeley

We live in an age where knowledge dissemination happens at an incredible speed, researchers are always looking for ways to evaluate new discovery. Mendeley’s vision has always been to accelerate research, and by crowdsourcing readership statistics, we provide a new way for you to look at the impact of research articles.

What is Mendeley Readership?

Mendeley Readership is one measure of how researchers engage with research on Mendeley. Simply put, it is the number of Mendeley users who have added a particular article into their personal library. You can see this number on the article pages on our Research Catalog. Furthermore, based on our anonymised aggregated statistics, we can provide demographic insights such as geographical info, discipline and academic status of readers.

How does it compare with traditional metrics?

Mendeley Readership is a measure which complements traditional bibliometrics such as citation counts by showing an early indicator of the impact a work has, both on other authors within the same field as the work’s author as well as non-authors such as clinicians, policymakers, funders, and interested members of the public. Additionally, some early research into the relationship of Mendeley readership with traditional citations has found evidence supporting that Mendeley readership counts correlate moderately with future citations. If you are interested in digging deeper into the existing research on the meaning of Mendeley readership, we suggest starting with “Do altmetrics work? Twitter and ten other social web services” (Thelwall, Haustein, Larivière, & Sugimoto, 2013), and also looking at a more recent research study (Zahedi, Costas, & Wouters, 2014) from CWTS, Leiden University. A more comprehensive listing of research related to Mendeley readership statistics can also be found in the altmetrics group on Mendeley. Scholarly Activity, including Mendeley Activity, has recently been endorsed by the Snowball Metrics initiative as part of their global standards for institutional benchmarking.


Mendeley believes in open data. Via our API, researchers and developers around the world can gain access to Mendeley Activity, including Readership Statistics. Scopus, the world’s largest citation database, has recently added Mendeley Activity to their article pages, and our data is used by all of the leading altmetrics services, including ImpactStory, Plum Analytics, and Altmetric.com. Visit our Developer Portal for more info.

We are constantly improving our service. For example, we have made all demographic insights available (instead of just the top 3 disciplines as was previously the case), in addition to data on countries and academic statuses. Future work will further refine the data we make available to include more detail on how researchers are engaging with research on Mendeley.

Join the Conversation 

Finally, if you are interested in the topic of altmetrics, why not go along to 1am:London 2014, taking place on the 25th and the 26th of September 2014? We might see you there!

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