The Catholic University of America


Reading the Statistics Generated by SSRN
SSRN generates a number of useful statistics based on several categories; for example, one can view  1) how many times an author's paper has been downloaded;  2) how many times all of an author’s papers have been downloaded;  and 3) how many times papers from the faculty of a particular institution have been downloaded.  It also ranks institutions by uploads and downloads of documents. It is also possible to sort in the institutions own repository of papers by the highest to the lowest number of individual paper downloads.
SSRN includes the following messages regarding statistics on its page of frequently asked questions:
Integrity of SSRN USAGE Statistics

SSEP strives to maintain the integrity of the SSRN download counts and other usage statistics as a measure of readership and other use of the SSRN site by authors and readers. It is a violation of SSEP policy for an author or other person to directly or indirectly use the SSRN website with a view to affecting SSRN downloads and other usage statistics, or to encourage others to do so. As part of its general right to refuse or terminate service and remove or edit site content, SSEP reserves the right in its sole discretion to limit access, remove content, and adjust usage statistics to respond to any activity that appears likely to have such an effect.
What is a Download?

Downloads are a measure of the number of times a paper has been delivered to an interested party. SSRN takes great care to ensure that download counts are an accurate measure of reader interest in an author's work. First, because we distribute complete abstracts of every paper, we ensure that interested readers make informed decisions regarding whether or not to download the full text of a particular paper, rather than uninformed explorations triggered only by a catchy or vague title. An SSRN download starts with the reader visiting the paper's "abstract page". Readers, who still want to read the paper, can then download it. In general, only one out of five abstract views results in a download.

Second, we do not count multiple downloads of the same paper by the same person nor machine or "robot" downloads. If SSRN permitted a single click to download a paper from another source, such as a search engine or a blog, and counted all mechanical downloads, this would inflate its download counts by a factor that has been increasing over time and is now close to six. This would degrade download counts as a signal of paper quality, and substantially increase the ability of users to manipulate them. If SSRN finds errors in download counts due to technical problems or individual attempts to manipulate, SSRN will adjust accordingly.
What is a Top Ten List?

We count the number of times a paper has been downloaded and rank them within different categories. These rankings include the Top Ten downloaded papers for All Time and for papers distributed in an SSRN email eJournal in the previous 60 days for each category. Top Ten Lists are available for all SSRN abstracting eJournals and for each of its subject networks on the Browse by eJournal List. To view a Top Ten List, expand a network and click on the Top button.