Open access: the most-read research of 2018 - Author Services

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Open access: the most read research of 2018

In 2018 Taylor & Francis published over 10,000 new open access research articles. But which of these received the most attention, from other researchers and the wider public? We’ve been crunching the numbers to reveal the 10 most-downloaded open access articles of last year.

To find out what open access means, read our quick guide to open access publishing definitions.

The Top 10

1) LDL-C does not cause cardiovascular disease: a comprehensive review of the current literature

Uffe Ravnskov, Michel de Lorgeril, David M Diamond, Rokuro Hama, Tomohito Hamazaki, Björn Hammarskjöld, Niamh Hynes, Malcolm Kendrick, Peter H Langsjoen, Luca Mascitelli, Kilmer S McCully, Harumi Okuyama, Paul J Rosch, Tore Schersten, Sherif Sultan & Ralf Sundberg


“The idea that high cholesterol levels in the blood are the main cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease] is impossible because people with low levels become just as atherosclerotic as people with high levels and their risk of suffering from CVD is the same or higher. The cholesterol hypothesis has been kept alive for decades by reviewers who have used misleading statistics, excluded the results from unsuccessful trials and ignored numerous contradictory observations.”

Downloads: 58,177*
Journal: Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology

2) Associations between chronotype, morbidity and mortality in the UK Biobank cohort

Kristen L. Knutson & Malcolm von Schantz

Night owl

“Increased eveningness, particularly definite evening type, was associated with increased prevalence of a wide variety of diseases or disorders, including diabetes, psychological, neurological, respiratory and gastrointestinal/abdominal disorders. […] These findings suggest the need for researching possible interventions aimed at either modifying circadian rhythms in individuals or at allowing evening types greater working hour flexibility.”

Downloads: 35,692*
Journal: Chronobiology International

Read an interview with Kristen Knutson and Malcolm von Schantz about their research and why it’s received such wide attention.

3) Sexual experiences in transgender people: the role of desire for gender-confirming interventions, psychological well-being, and body satisfaction

Sanne W. C. Nikkelen & Baudewijntje P. C. Kreukels


“Our study underlines the important role of body satisfaction in the sexual behaviors and feelings of trans people, which may even be more important than whether or not one has an unfulfilled treatment desire. Efforts to increase body satisfaction in transgender people are therefore warranted, as it can contribute to more positive sexual experiences.”

Downloads: 21,638*
Journal: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy

4) The political significance of social media activity and social networks

Joseph Kahne & Benjamin Bowyer

Social media and politics

“In sum, our findings provide strong support for the premise that Friendship-Driven and Interest-Driven online activity foster political participation and this highlights the political significance of weak ties as embodied in large social networks. In doing so, this study helps to deepen our understanding of ways that common forms of engagement with social media can influence youth political development and participation in the digital age.”

Downloads: 19,756*
Journal: Political Communication

5) Why all randomised controlled trials produce biased results

Alexander Krauss

Randomised controlled trials

“This study assesses the 10 most cited RCTs [randomised controlled trials] worldwide and it shows, more generally, that trials inevitably produce bias. […] Researchers and policymakers need to become better aware of the broader set of assumptions, biases and limitations in trials. Journals need to also begin requiring researchers to outline them in their studies. We need to furthermore better use RCTs together with other research methods.”

Downloads: 18,696*
Journal: Annals of Medicine

6) How social workers reflect in action and when and why they don’t: the possibilities and limits to reflective practice in social work

Harry Ferguson

Reflective practice

“Drawing on psychoanalysis and social theories of the body and senses, the paper argues for a revision of the concept of reflective practice to take account of how the self is defended. The limits to reflection must be fully recognized while seeking ways to develop the capacity of practitioners to think clearly and critically so that vital insights about service users and the helping process can occur.”

Downloads: 17,196*
Journal: Social Work Education

7) Carrying class and gender: Cargo bikes as symbolic markers of egalitarian gender roles of urban middle classes in Dutch inner cities

Willem R. Boterman

Cargo bike
Image by Clément Bucco-Lechat

“The cargo bike may seem a rather marginal and trivial subject of academic inquiry. […] In this paper I argue that it is nonetheless a fruitful lens for studying the interconnections of gender, class and the transformation of urban space. The cargo bike is a both significant as a symbolic object that brings our attention to intersections of class and gender, and a practice, a way of doing motherhood and fatherhood.”

Downloads: 14,638*
Journal: Social & Cultural Geography

8) Engagement with social media and social media advertising: the differentiating role of platform type

Hilde A. M. Voorveld, Guda van Noort, Daniël G. Muntinga & Fred Bronner

social media advertising

“These practical implications provide advertisers and media planners with valuable directions on how to make their advertising on social media platforms more relevant. In a world where consumers are increasingly skeptical of advertising’s persuasive intentions and in large numbers install ad blockers to avoid annoying and irrelevant advertising messages, an understanding of the relationship between digital engagement experiences and advertising effectiveness is much needed, if not indispensable.”

Downloads: 14,043*
Journal: Journal of Advertising

Election campaigning on social media: politicians, audiences, and the mediation of political communication on Facebook and Twitter

Sebastian Stier, Arnim Bleier, Haiko Lietz & Markus Strohmaier

Social media icons

“They [politicians] complement the ‘masspersonal’ communication in the quasi-public sphere of Twitter with the more direct communication practices on Facebook for organizational and mobilization purposes. Our cross-media study also shows that relevant differences in political communication exist between social media platforms. This underscores the need to argue with the utmost caution when trying to infer findings from one platform to ‘social media’ as a whole, as it has often been done”.

Downloads: 12,195*
Journal: Political Communication

Is vegetarianism healthy for children?

Nathan Cofnas


“According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ influential position statement on vegetarianism, meat and seafood can be replaced with milk, soy/legumes, and eggs without any negative effects in children. […] The evidence reviewed here suggests that there are still many unknowns about the health effects of meatless diets in children. Parents ought to be informed that the debate about the health effects of vegetarianism in children is not settled one way or the other.”

Downloads: 11,114*
Journal: Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

*Total number of article downloads, from online publication to December 31 2018.

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