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How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey

Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe work on Google’s consumer insights team, which means they spend a large part of their day exploring changes in consumer behavior. Here they share their latest research on the buyer decision process.

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The way people make decisions is messy — and it’s only getting messier. Still, there are a few things we know about purchase behavior. We know that what happens between trigger and purchase decision-making is not linear. We know there is a complicated web of touchpoints that differs from person to person. What is less clear however, is how shoppers process all of the information and choice they discover along the way. And what is critical, what we set out to understand with this new research, is how that process influences what people ultimately decide to buy.

As the internet has grown, it has transformed from a tool for comparing prices to a tool for comparing, well, everything. That’s clear in how we’ve seen purchase behavior change over the years on Google Search. Take the terms “cheap” and “best.” Worldwide, search interest for “best” has far outpaced search interest for “cheap.” 1 Those same dynamics hold true in countries around the world, like Germany, India, and Italy, for instance, when “cheap” and “best” are translated into local languages.

Worldwide search interest for “best” vs. “cheap”

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Source: Google Trends, Worldwide, 2004–July 2020.

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The precise value of “cheap” may vary between individuals, but it still carries a singular meaning. “Best,” on the other hand, can have a wide range of meanings, including value, quality, performance, or popularity.

This is the kind of research behavior that happens in the “messy middle” between trigger and purchase. And as COVID-19 has accelerated online shopping and research around the world, it’s more important than ever for brands to learn how to make sense of it.

Applying behavioral sciences principles to the purchase decision process

Last year we set out to update our perspective on consumer decision-making, and with the help of behavioral science experts, The Behavioural Architects, we started on a journey into decoding how consumers decide what to buy.

We conducted literary reviews, shopping observation studies, search trend analyses, and a large-scale experiment. Our aim was to understand how consumers make decisions in an online environment of abundant choice and limitless information. What we found was that people deal with scale and complexity by using cognitive biases encoded deep in their psychology.

As these biases existed long before the internet, we were curious to understand how they affect people’s purchase decisions today.

What happens in the messy middle? Two mental modes

Through the research, an updated decision-making model began to take shape. In the center of the model lies the messy middle — a complex space between triggers and purchase, where customers are won and lost.

People look for information about a category’s products and brands, and then weigh all the options. This equates to two different mental modes in the messy middle: exploration , an expansive activity, and evaluation , a reductive activity. Whatever a person is doing, across a huge array of online sources, such as search engines, social media, aggregators, and review websites, can be classified into one of these two mental modes.

People loop through these twin modes of exploration and evaluation, repeating the cycle as many times as they need to make a purchase decision.

Cognitive biases that influence purchase decision-making

As people explore and evaluate in the messy middle, cognitive biases shape their shopping behavior and influence why they choose one product over another. While many hundreds of these biases exist, we prioritized six in our research:

6 biases that influence purchase decisions

These biases formed the basis for our large-scale shopping experiment with real in-market shoppers simulating 310,000 purchase scenarios across financial services, consumer packaged goods, retail, travel, and utilities.

In the experiment, shoppers were asked to pick their first and second favorite brands within a category, and then a range of biases were applied to see if people would switch their preference from one brand to another. To test an extreme scenario, the experiments also included a fictional brand in each category, to which shoppers had zero prior exposure.

The results showed that even the least effective challenger, a fictional cereal brand, still managed to win 28% of shopper preference from the established favorite when it was “supercharged” with benefits, including five-star reviews and an offer of 20% extra for free. And in the most extreme case, a fictional car insurer won 87% share of consumer preference when supercharged with advantages across all six biases.

The experiment showed that, when applied intelligently and responsibly, behavioral science principles — and the behavioral and informational needs they align with — are powerful tools for winning and defending consumer preference in the messy middle.

How marketers can succeed in the messy middle

Although the messy middle might seem a complicated place, it’s important to remember that to consumers it just feels like normal shopping. The goal isn’t to force people to exit the loop shown in the model, but to provide them with the information and reassurance they need to make a decision.

Luckily, whether you’re a category giant or a challenger brand, the approach is the same:

Download the full report for a complete understanding of the messy middle, the behavioral science principles we examined, and recommendations for how brands can apply them.

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Alistair Rennie

Jonny protheroe, sources (1).

Google Trends, Worldwide, 2004–July 2020.

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More From Forbes

Understanding the changing b2b buyer journey.

Lilah Raynor, CEO & Founder of  Logica Research , helping organizations use research to engage customers & improve people's financial lives.

Many people are talking about the drastic changes to the consumer purchase journey due to Covid-19, but consumers aren’t the only ones changing the way they approach buying decisions. Transformation is also happening to purchase paths in the business-to-business (B2B) sector. As the CEO of a market research company, I've witnessed many of these changes.

Historically, B2B transactions have encompassed a complex sales process that involved multiple influencers and decision-makers. This often circuitous journey included research, evaluation and stakeholder engagement, then going back to conduct more research, more evaluation and stakeholder engagement before making any final decisions.  

Although some B2B journeys remain this complex today, the process is changing, thanks in part to the massive shifts we’ve seen in the 2020 and 2021 marketplace. Face-to-face meetings and in-person events came to a halt, so these avenues for helping the decision-making process were closed. In the frenetic, chaotic time that has emerged over the past year, many of us — including buyers — find ourselves with less time than ever before. This means the historically laborious B2B purchase journey has been streamlined. 

It remains true that buyers still must go through basic steps in the purchase journey — identifying the business need, researching solutions, evaluating options and then, ultimately, making a decision. The difference today is that buyers are doing more research online and on their own than before, and this research cycle appears to be getting shorter and more efficient.

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Just a couple of years ago, Gartner, Inc. published findings that showed 27% of buyers’ time was spent on independent research online, while 17% of their time was spent meeting with suppliers. Today we're witnessing a shift . The need among B2B buyers to simplify and streamline their purchase decisions as much as possible is accelerating.

In the past, sellers could likely pinpoint a clear handoff between marketing and sales. This transition has become fuzzier as more buyers are reliant on self-serve, online research. This often results in pressure placed on a company’s online presence to do the heavy lifting for both the marketing and sales teams. Sales teams need in-depth information about a prospect in order to communicate the fit — and benefits — of a product with a buyer’s specific needs. This has to be done quickly and clearly so that a buyer can move from decision to onboarding and implementation.

Assessing Your B2B Buyer Journey

Of course, when it comes to B2B decision making, specifics will vary for different industries, business models and use cases. Whether you have a lower-cost, monthly-licensed software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, a product that requires a large budget and resources for implementation, or something that can be offered as an add-on to existing services with relatively low risk, it's important to understand the buying journey so that you can modify your marketing and sales strategy to meet the needs of the buyer of today.

No matter the sector, there are critical questions you need to answer in order to guide today’s buyer purchase journey:

• Awareness: How do you get the attention of your buyers in a crowded marketplace?

• Consideration: How do you move into their consideration set and outshine the competition?

• Decision: How do you close the sale?

Getting actionable insights to address these questions is critical. The right approach to path-to-purchase research can help drive leads and close deals. Here are some steps you can take to assess your buyer's journey:

Know your buyers.

What do you know about your buyer’s journey right now? Start out by talking to key stakeholders, such as sales and marketing team members, and identify what you know today. 

Identify your knowledge gaps.

What don’t you know? Identify whether you need to understand the entire buyer’s journey or whether you need to focus on a specific part of it. For example, you may need to understand the top of the acquisition funnel such as how to drive awareness of your product and build marketing campaigns. Or, you may need to know more about the bottom of the funnel, such as how to close the sale, or somewhere in between, like how your prospective buyers are researching you online.

Conduct research. 

What insights do you need? Conduct research to fill in the knowledge gaps. Designing and implementing a thoughtful research study is the key to answering your questions and obtaining the most useful insights.

If you're looking for an external market research company to partner with, as someone in the research industry, I recommend looking for a partner with relevant industry experience, relevant study methodology experience and customization options to meet your company’s specific needs. Search for a partner who can go beyond the data to help tell the story of your insights about the purchase journey, and use that information to fully engage your stakeholders, develop a strategy for success, obtain a budget and implement the plans you need to make your product or service a success.

An actionable research study is likely to include a combination of in-depth qualitative research, as well as quantitative research to validate findings. Specifically, consider: 

• Qualitative research includes customer and prospect interviews, focus groups or online discussions. This research allows for a deep dive into the steps in the journey, the relative importance of each step and how you can influence potential buyers.   

• Quantitative research is used to validate the sequence and priority of the steps and ultimately measure the key influences that could help drive new acquisitions.

Implement working sessions to socialize the results with internal stakeholders to allow for input and identify specific actions that can be taken to inform marketing and sales plans.  

Like everything else around us, the B2B decision-making process is reshaping itself to fit our new reality. Understanding how it will impact your sales processes and key customer touchpoints will be critical in future-proofing your business. Buying decision research is an important piece in guiding the experience that you're delivering and, ultimately, will help make the difference between increased acquisition — or not.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

Lilah Raynor

How much does it cost to get a scientific paper?

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The Backstory :  As it stands today,when one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides the funding for a scientific research project, and those results are published, they must be made freely available to public, within a set period of time.  The reasoning behind this requirement is that taxpayers funded everything about the research except for the final publication, and so they have already paid for access.

The Research Works Act ( #RWA ), HR 3699, is a bill in the House of Representatives that would roll back this requirement.  If it passes, taxpayers will most likely have to pay exorbitant fees for access to publicly-funded research.  I'll explain why in a moment.

The Research Works Act will harm science education because students and instructors at small colleges and community colleges generally lack access to scientific journals and we will no longer be able to afford to use scientific literature in our courses.

How much does it cost?

One commenter on a my earlier post about the effect on science education noted that students and others would still be able to purchase research articles if RWA passes.

I thought, dear readers, you might like to know what that privilege is likely to cost.

What does a personal subscription cost today?

Today, a one year personal subscription to Science costs $149 for a member and $75 for a student. A personal subscription for one year of Nature costs $199.  We subscribe to both and pay $350 a year for the privilege.

The problem is that working in science, and learning about science, requires looking at papers from multiple journals and multiple years from those journals.

Access to one journal is rarely sufficient.

Let's look at the subscription costs for some other journals.

Two other journals that I frequently use are Nature Genetics and Nature Biotechnology. These cost $225 per year and $250 per year, respectively.

Here are the yearly subscription costs for a few of the other Nature journals:

$503  Acta Pharmacologica Sinica $586  American Journal of Hypertension $319  Asian Journal of Andrology $865  Bone Marrow Transplantation $99    BoneKEy Reports $474  British Dental Journal $569  British Journal of Cancer $542  Cancer Gene Therapy $417  Cell Death and Differentiation $417  Cell Research

At $865 per year, a personal subscription to the on-line only version, of Bone Marrow Transplantation would be hard for me to justify.  But then, I'm not an M.D.

Now, consider Nature has 91 publications, with many subscription costs over $300 per year for each journal. I've been told that library subscriptions are more costly than personal subscriptions.  Is it really that surprising that our libraries say no?

What do individual articles cost?

Could we get by with having students read individual articles?

I looked up the prices for individual articles from some of the journals that I use.

The table below shows the costs to purchase a single article from 14 different journals.

Screen Shot 2012-01-09 at 10.58.32 AM

Out the 14 journals, 9 of them charge $30 per article or more. I looked at multiple Nature journals since the prices for each journal subscription varied so widely.

Many times when we have students research a topic, we want them to look at multiple articles from multiple journals. Students might need to look at ten papers to complete an assignment.

We also tend to have students investigate different topics.  This means that we can't just give every student the same set of articles.  Each student needs to get multiple articles from multiple sources, and each article could cost $30-35 at today's prices.  Today, we can make do by having students stick to open access articles. RWA will kill that option.

If papers were priced more reasonably, like songs in iTunes, we instructors would find RWA less alarming.  But as it stands, if publishers charge the all articles with the prices they're using now, it will kill our ability to use the literature in the classroom.

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You forgot to include the pricing for articles from PLoS and BMC publishing!!! $0 :)

PLoS is a bit different since authors pay for publication. I'm not sure how BMC works.

I left them out since the business models are so different.

Worse, the journals don't actually provide the content OR the proofing - all the experts are external, making the high costs bloody shocking. In the average paper I write, I cite ~ 25 publications, with a median cost of about $32 dollars. Luckily the university pay the charges, otherwise it would cost me approximately ~$800 per paper, which I give to them for free (as do all scientists) and will cost others about $32 to access!

I have just obtained a PhD and am now technically graduated and yet have a good number of papers to write. I am lucky the university I went to are kind enough to allow me to access papers I need, otherwise I simply could never afford to write my own papers!

There is something fundamentally wrong with this set up isn't there? George Monbiot and Ben Goldacre have written about this in the UK..


I wrote my Congressman (John Lewis) making the same point. Everyone who cares about this should write to his or her Congressperson.

First of all, I must clarify some points made by Sandra in the original post. The NIH embargo period is 12 months. That means, any research funded in whole or even in part by the NIH after the 12 months must be made available for free. Within the 12 months, when fresh research is desired most, the user must pay for the article. OA advocates want to decrease the embargo to 0 months (free right away - they have introduced a bill over the past few years that would do this), while the RWA would abolish of the requirement to make any publication free after any certain period of time.

There, we have the ground rules.

That said, I still would like to know the percentage of student's or faculty that are paying the above mentioned rates. To my knowledge, access to journals is not a problem for the preponderance of folks in academia. Their institutions pay for access, and band together to use economies of scale to negotiate lower prices. See: California university system vs. Nature.

Community college should do the same. If there are specialty journals that you wish to subscribe to, by all means, please do.

I still don't understand the desire to ask taxpayers to fund your access to journals that were not created out of thin air. I fully concede the above commenter's points about the volunteer system that reduces costs, but since even non-profit publishers charge a fee, that should be a clear sign that profit is not superfluous. Any publicly traded entity has a 10-k on file to view their costs - I suggest you take a look at that. There is a real cost to produce journals. So the question is, who shall pay?

I would offer that the two models (author pays and user pays) are the two competing models. In one, the user pays for access to something that he or she desires. This community is very very small, very educated, and typically quite affluent. In an author pays model, it is the taxpayer that pays for the cost of the journal publication. It should really be called the taxpayer pays model. In that model, a grantee earmarks a couple of thousand dollars, money that could be used for research, and pays to create the article. The costs don't go down: if a large publisher had a profit margin of 5% last year, which is about average, your table again would still be too high for your liking I suppose. After all, ACS is the highest per article and they are a non-profit entity.

So as it appears that since the cost of publications are real and must be paid in order to ensure the veracity of science, who shall pay? I would say that the small, highly educated, affluent community should pay for access to their very specialized and technical journals, while the researchers should be able to use every last scarce penny towards conducting actual research on behalf of their taxpayer investors.

The gross price gouging of the journals is a big complaint of mine even just as a regular citizen. For example I was recently prescribed an SSRI and wanted to double check if there was any possibility of long term, irreversible harm. The doctor had told me know. I happen to know that doctors hand drugs out like candy these days and that there *is* actually a lot of de facto corruption and bias inserted by drug companies among the regular rank and file doctors. I was skeptical, even that I should really be being prescribed anything as I don't even agree that I am depressed - I went to the doctor for a problem related to bone deformation and walked away with a prescription for antidepressants (and dick all progress on the actual problem I went about)!

So I looked some stuff up on google scholar. Turns out that there IS a very substantial chance of permanent brain damage, in the several percent range at least and there isn't much research - just enough to know that the reassurances the drug companies had been giving everyone that it was oh-so rare were complete bullshit. Oh, and the papers explicitly stated that the vast majority of doctors are unaware of the fact, and are probably overprescribing as a result.

I am on an extremely small income (11 k per year) and had to pay more than 70 bucks just for 2 articles, plus if I had bought all the ones I wanted to see, it would have been way more obviously. It's the same problems as the banksters; the publishers just aren't doing any real work, they just get rich by abusing certain social norms etc.

It's sad in an open access discussion, one in which I was spoken for in the original post, I have my posts rejected here. Truly sad.

Dear Just saying: you're jumping to conclusions about being blocked. I don't have much control over the spam filter. Sometimes comments get blocked that shouldn't be blocked. I don't check the comments regularly and I often don't know this has happened.

To address some of your points, you state that:

"In an author pays model, it is the taxpayer that pays for the cost of the journal publication."

This is correct. This is also true in the "user pays model." You just don't see the money trail as clearly.

In one case, grant money directly pays for access to journals and papers. I've used grant money to purchase access to a few of those $30 papers. In the other case, grant money goes to help libraries pay for subscriptions through a budget item called "indirect costs." At some Universities, these costs are almost equal to the $ amount requested for research.

It sounds you're not very familiar with higher education or high school for that matter, either. There are lots of college instructor and high school instructors, too, who use these resources.

You probably realize this, but small companies and non-profits need access to journal articles, too. These companies are not affluent, and are also challenged by the high cost of individual papers. The Research Works Act will hurt small businesses and non-profits, too, not just education.

My last comment went to the spam filter, too. Apparently if comments are long the spam filter blocks them no matter where they originate.

As to some more of your points:

1. I agree that publishers should be able to earn a profit. I don't agree that the profit should be so large. Imagine if we have something like iTunes where we could pay a fair amount for each article and get them easily.

I disagree with the assertion that a large fraction of the people with an interest in reading original literature are affluent enough to pay $30 per paper.

2. You asked about the percentage of faculty or students who are paying the rates I cited. I say that those prices effectively prevent faculty and students from using newly published materials and the articles in certain groups of journals. The RWA would expand this problem even further.

3. You seem to think that researchers don't use grant money to access scientific literature. This is an incorrect assumption for the reasons I gave above.

Actually I'm quite familiar with how research is funded and how universities administer their funding. You say that taxpayer money pays the bills in a user fee model as well. While this may be true in some part (indirects don't cover an entire library's costs, other sources contribute), you may have noticed that in my arguments I'm keen to use the word efficient. It's signifies that the user fee model makes the best use of scarce resources. Why? Because each grantee pays directly with his or her own funds. You discriminate wisely what you need and what you don't. There's extremely little waste. If journals were free to you, how many more would you "subscribe" to? 5? 10? How do you think the cost of publishing would explode when their demand increases 5 or 10 fold? The author pays model is actually a pure giveaway to publishers. In a few years, it won't be a $3000 fee for the author. It'll be $5000, or $7000 just to print more journals that sit on bookshelves. In the end, tens of millions of dollars are shifted out of desperatly thin research budgets to pay for an enormous and artificial demand premium for journals.

And you claim that high school folks need access to free journal content from some of the above mentioned journals? I would love to see the numbers. And having worked at a small biotech startup, I can tell you access was not an issue, we paid for the few articles we needed. And non-profits? Many non-profits are the same entities that are serving as the evil publishers that you vilify (ACS is your largest offender in the original post! Are you claiming they're price gouging....themselves!?) How are the harmed? If they represent patients, again, all they have to do is direct their constituency to ask the publisher for free access.

It seems you don't actually know the entire landscape, instead just choose to cherry pick individual rates (that few people actually pay) and claim them as representative of some intellectually starved scholarly community.

You still haven't addressed the point about why a private product, even if based on publicly funded research, should be free. Be sure to quote the Bayh-Dole Act while you're at it. I'm interested to see how you remedy the two.

You must have missed what I wrote.

I did not write that articles should be free. I did write that the current prices are unreasonably high.

I am concerned that all articles will be priced at $30 an article if RWA passes.

Were the journals to charge prices like $2-3 an article, we could, in good conscience, use them in student assignments. When they charge exorbitant prices like $30 an article, we cannot.

As to non-profits, if you look at the table, in general, the non-profits (ASM, AAAS, FASEB, and NAS) do charge less for their articles. ACS (the American Chemical Society) is an exception.

Sandra - why do you think articles can cost $3? If a publisher could, don't you think non-profits, who sell subscriptions to their own members, would meet this price point? Or don't you think another publisher would enter the market?

Of course, this is a self perpetuating dilemma: the community could stop submitting to Nature, Science, Cell, etc and drive down their costs, which would drive down the cost to subscribers. But everyone still submits to these choice few.

I started to write my explanation, but it looks like this will take another blog post. Look for more tomorrow.

@Just Saying:

"having worked at a small biotech startup, I can tell you access was not an issue, we paid for the few articles we needed."

Huh. Traditionally folks at small biotechs piggy back on university subscriptions - some of the folks there are still in universities, some have just left and still have a login, others still have friends there that give them access or pdfs. One thing I haven't seen is biotechs doing lots of R&D that only need a "few articles".

Your post really helped me to understand how much does it cost to get a scientific paper?. It has great details and yet it is easy to understand. That's what i was looking for. I will definitely share it with others.

Thanks for sharing.

Yes Bob, we were able to still use MIT and Harvard logins for most of our things. Only rarely did we not have access to a journal subscription. But thank you for helping to discredit Sandra's claim that most biotechs don't have access to journals.

I would love for someone to speak about the anticipated cost/demand increases that would be expected with an author pays model. It's certainly an expected economic shift. You can be sure that the open access fee charged by publishers will increase as their demand increases, until one day the research institutions will seek to put a cap on the amount that a PI can pay to publishers (putting downward pressure on the system).

I'd also like to hear folks's thought on why the non-profit publishers also are unable to meet your expectations, if big corporate publishers are to blame.

I would also like to see a rebuttal to the user-fee efficiency argument, perhaps rebutting the museum metaphor (often paid for by tax payers, but keeps operations going through a user fee system).

Also, some hard numbers on how many "individual articles" are purchased each year as a percent of total articles? How many people actually pay the prices listed above? My guess would be very few, but would love to see the data. It's a dynamic much like the individual market for health insurance - not many people actually pay those rates, but it's very hard on the ones that do. A solution (easier grouping together?) would be welcome.

These are all points at the heart of the matter, yet none have been addressed.

I think publishers have forfeited the right to earn a profit by the past behavior: http://bjoern.brembs.net/comment-n820.html See also ten most expensive journals: http://www.bibliothek.kit.edu/cms/english/most-expensive-journals%20.php

It's true that the high cost of journal articles leads some people in biotech companies like you and hibob to justify using an under-the-table fashion to get papers by finding someone with login access to a university library.

You were lucky you could use your MIT and Harvard logins for this purpose.

Some people might argue that using library resources in this way sounds like stealing.

Sandra - like others in small biotech, we actually didn't have to steal anything. But it's clear you're not familiar with start-up science. BTW - I have a couple of other posts with some key considerations in this great debate. Would appreciate seeing them posted and responded to.

Authors can choose not to publish in these expensive journals, and have to take responsibility for their decisions: http://ibiosphere.blogspot.com/2012/01/contributions-and-responsibiliti…

Wow, don't you guys have University Libraries in the US? In Australia it only costs $80 a year for an alumni, and you can access all the journals the Uni has.

There are about 1100 community colleges in the U.S. and about of the undergraduates in the U.S. attend one.

None of them have University libraries.

When I looked at the costs of downloading scientific articles last year, DeepDyve was offering $0.99 for "renting" an article for 24 hours. While you can't retain the paper this way, perhaps this approach is a step in the direction you suggest?

Alumni have access to journals in Australia? Iâve asked for just that in NZ over years and get told it's not done and that you can only access books this way. (With a lower status than other users. Keep meaning to check what the story is for Cambridge University alumni as an alternative to the local universities.)

One moreâsorry about the rain of commentsâthe initiative by the Wellcome Trust, the Max Planck Society and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute includes the idea of that publication is to be directly funded by research funders. I don't know if this initiative will fly, but the ideas they present are worth reading. (See link on my name; do follow this through to Frankâs post.)

(Sandra: Iâve a comment in moderation - I included a link in it, thatâll teach me!)

Yeah, there is some access, but not everything is available electronically - but everything is available if you actually go in to the library.

All of that said, I do agree that most journals are ridiculously expensive.

@justsaying Federally funded research is not a "private product." Currently, authors are required to deposit their manuscripts with pubmed central when they are accepted for publication. One year after journal publication, they are made available to the public in pubmed central. The journals are not required to do anything or give away anything, ever. Presumably, the one-year lag time between publication and open manuscripts go some way toward protecting subscriptions and journal sales, even though the industry would prefer eternal exclusive rights. (Unfortunately, I'd note that compliance with public access regulations is spotty on the part of authors, at least in my field.)

To me the question is, "Why do journals have exclusive distribution rights for information/work that the American taxpayer has paid millions of dollars for?" and "If research doesn't get into the hands of those who can benefit from it, then why do we fund it at all?"

Sandra - I now have two comments in moderation!

@Grant & others: I tried adding you as a "trusted" commenter. Hopefully that will minimize the problems with getting caught in the spam filter.

@Jane - I would say we don't have an access problem in this country. When polled, journal access is never a cause for concern for researchers. Funding is.

Apparently you weren't around before the days of the NIH 12 month embargo was lobbied for and snuck into an appropriations bill a few years ago. PubMed is a publicly funded repository that only benefits researchers. The public could care less. Yet it was sold as "for the public." Since that time, has there been a surge in science or development? No.

Yes, the taxpayer funded the research. No argument. So should inventions, device or drugs that result from taxpayer investment be free as well? Same argument. But scientists would never agree to send a check to the US treasury for their royalties. Those are their patents. Yet, when it comes to journals, it's "everyone's" science.

The journals serve a role that costs money, as others have commented on here in this blog (other entries perhaps). The question is, who pays?

Sandra: thank you. I like the idea Iâm "trusted" :-) (Actually my own blog commenting effectively works this way full-time; first-time commenters are effectively vetted, but it's really to avoid spam.)

NickE: I can't access anything electronically, which is what Iâd like. The libraries now only take some journals electronically, photocopies chew up time and money (and trees), and in any event I use PDF copies for future reference (writing up stuff, so I can key-word search the full text, etc.)

The link for my download costs article (see 4:49pm) is on my name.

@Just saying: I think the public uses PubMed more than you know.

It would be really interesting to see the web log data.

@Grant - I don't think the "trusted commenter" setting really works. Our infrastructure is going to ... well, you know.

Sandra - uh-huh :-) Thanks for trying, though.

yea i agree with you david it didnt make sense but reading thru the article it kinda makes sense

Answer to comment number 2 : BMC like PLoS is a gold open access publishing model. The author pays for the publication. The reader has the article for free.

@just saying I'm a member of the public. I care. I'm involved in mental health advocacy and use pubmed often. Many laypeople my field have pubmed email alerts to keep an eye on research developments. There's a major gap between research and clinical practice in the area of mental health I'm most interested in. I've been working in this area for several years, since well before the NIH public access policy was implemented.

You're just dead wrong that individuals don't purchase articles for $30/each. I do several times a month. I maintain membership in two professional societies to have access to their journals. I'm not publicly funded.

Research is NOT only of use to researchers. It is hugely important to practicing clinicians and "consumers." And yes, there has been progress in pubic understanding of mental health in recent years. Research DOES have an impact on public health. It should, and would, have more of an impact if federally funded research wasn't held hostage by journals. Taypayers paid for the research. It's theirs.

Your analogy to devices doesn't hold. The federally funded research those devices are based on should be available for free, not the devices themselves. Same with journals. No one expects them to give away free hardcopies. Their subscriptions are protected by the one-year embargo. That's more than fair.

Journals make remarkably little investment to produce their product, yet enjoy large returns. Deutsche Bank recently had this to say about Reed Elsevier:

"In justifying the margins earned, the publishers, REL included, point to the highly skilled nature of the staff they employ (to pre-vet submitted papers prior to the peer review process, the support they provide to the peer review panels, including modest stipends, the complex typesetting, printing and distribution activities, including Web publishing and hosting. REL employs around 7,000 peole in its Science business as a whole. REL also argues that the high margins reflect economies of scale and the very high levels of efficiency with which they operate.

We believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process. We are not attempting to dismiss what 7,000 people at REL do for a living. We are simply observing that if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn't be available." Read more here: http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v09n03/mcguigan_g01.html…

I work at small liberal arts college. We do not have access to a wide range of articles including some top notch ones. Why? Cost. Articles that are available to the public are a life saver. Colleagues at community colleges also agree. We try to integrate research articles & reviews into our courses. Colleagues at public 4 year universities have similar issues.

When I was a postdoc, I would get requests from friends who moved to industry and did not have access to a number of journals. Why? Once again cost.

Content is king. The content is generated by the authors who tend to pay a fee of some sort to publish. Reviewers of the content are free. Some sort of staff is required but given how much of the work has shifted to the authors in the last two decades thanks to the digital revolution. Those cost savings have primarily increased the profit margins of companies like Elsevier.

@ponderingfool Exactly! I had to laugh at Elsevier's talk about "complex typesetting." They're not churning out Guttenberg Bibles. And web publishing and hosting is far less expensive than print. It's an industry that leverages taxpayer money and authors/reviewers who work for next-to-nothing to generate massive profits.

Gracias por escribir

Great article! You can also read my post about Open Peer Review: http://www.strategy-of-innovation.com/article-open-peer-review-is-final…


To start of lets all be clear on the fact that margins are not 5% but closer to or above 40% like Jane mentioned above, thats how a company like Elsevier can show over a Billion dollars in pure profits, mening not the turnover figure but the amount the company can take out and give to its owners after the costs of publishing(thats alot of money to do research for).

We also have to realise that publishing something in todays world does not require the creation of a physical item, the cost of giving someone a copy of an article doesn't cost more than the energy to transmit the information/bits, so the main cost of production is not in the distribution but the creation of the article which is mainly done by the researcher believe it or not, so the cost/benefit ratio will become better for every view and not worse as you seemed to be suggesting.

One of the real problems for increased competition is not the high cost of publishing but the researchers themselves who feel they have to publish in certain prestigious journals when alternatives do exist.

A viewer-pays model would be great if there were companies making money off of publishing their research but that is not what we have. Justsaying you must realise that most people don't feel its right to first have to pay for something than be denied it and told to pay even more if you want access to it.

Everyone so far(I haven't read ALL the comments) seems to be forgetting that the PUBLIC, i.e. the taxpayer, i.e., me, is paying (in some part) for the research. Therefore, why I am not able to view the output from this research without paying exorbitant fees? How can anyone ignore those who may not have the credentials but have an avid interest in new knowledge?

I'm the CIO of a startup accelerator (Blueseed), and one of the startups that applied to us, RockYourPaper, is working on reducing the cost of acquiring scientific journals from $30 to $5. You can find a presentation video of their idea if you search YouTube for "Rock your paper".

I'd be curious to see your thoughts.

The RockYourPaper video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-avlziKuXO4

Also, the screenshot in the blog doesn't show.

Feel free to merge this comment with my previous one.

I wanted to say a few things here (1). I am on an IPad so please acknowledge the greatest enemy is autocorrect. (2). As far as the other is concerned I agree completely with Sandra the journals are overpriced and why can't they just be cheap online copies. If the publishing cost was so high then post it online. You could merely charge users access for the site like $20/year and libraries would be like $150. That would be what normal magazines cost and because the journal doesn't even pay for the workers to research they make a reasonable rate of return. (3). End-user pp should be reasonable because what Just is saying makes no sense. I mean do you live in America? How many ppl have Science bachelor degrees who need to be kept in the loop while looking for a job or to get into a masters program?

(4). I cannot fathom Justs pov at all, I am trying to be understanding here it is just IMO I can find no common ground with what he says. (5). Even if we want to continue to print magazines and get subscriptions (how oddly unscientific what a quagmire?) why don't they make the prices accessible to govt organizations (libraries) so we can all go and look at them in the library? I have to say I have read some peer-reviewed things about triclosan and alcohol that should be public it is borderline endangering there health when it is vindictively bio accumulating in fats and nobody knows what it will do. (6). Beyond that what about the issue of science that came out about H5N1 recently? Should the public not know about that? Yet we have the darn Susan G. Komen foundation probably laundering money away from everyone. We all seem to know that "91 cents of every dollar" goes to research and we don't see enough return on that money in terms of real effective treatment of IDC do we? You're question is why is that relevant right? I will tell you because the avg person wants to see these findings in the dang journals (if there was no interest most people wouldn't care. They would just donate to a bunch of random charities and say "well I hope dem doctors gotz a clue."

I mean without scrutiny BC research so panties would be like yeah we are making progress which we are already in danger of having yet you would go further away huh? I feel like I am a smart guy but if you think you can look at some study determine its CI, "bias" coviartes and a few more things then say the data is valid I say bullspoo. The more people looking into these things the better IMO there is always someone smarter than you and we need to have them at least hAve a fighting chance to come to the table no? My friends who are doctors are always telling me they don't know what they can trust.

Would it not be better to have more people challenge Dr. Potti's findings earlier on and potentially save money, time, and lives? It just seems wrong in such a fundamental way that I don't think I could ever agree.

Let me finish by saying something probably even more controversial here. the problems we face as both a nation and a world can be solved, it takes people to do that. Forget this overcrowding crap, we need ideas that can change the world and help us proceed. We are throwing away food at record pace around the world so don't say that we will starve. It is a matter of combating these kind of problems with many brains and if we do overpopulated the planet then somebody will get the idea to make extra-terrestrial settling work. If memory serves it was Linus Pauling who said, "If you want to have good ideas you must have many ideas.". Who better to have ideas then the public instead of behind closed doors in overpriced journals written in a language that is "dead,". Are we not causing our own harm?

As the stereotypical broke science-major college student, I can personally attest to the utter frustration of over-priced journal articles. I go to a small college (pop. 800) with only minimal research with grants that only come every blue moon; occasionally some random alumni makes it rich and donates money -- but that only goes to random, useless sculptures built outside of the library. The point is, my school has little money for the library to purchase journal subscriptions and, even then, only the bare-bones subscription; if any of my professors want us to read a specific article, they have to procure a personal subscription for the journal out of their own pocket.

As a science-major I spend a ridiculous amount of time writing research papers for my classes and the only acceptable sources are peer-reviewed journal articles...which I don't have ready access to. Sure, there are some articles that are tangentially related to the topic of whatever paper I'm writing at the time but they are usually fairly useless. The articles that would be perfect? Those would cost me, personally, between $30 and $50 an article. I would spend that kind of money on the twenty or so articles I need but, I kind of like eating every now and then.

So, Just Saying, please, remove your rose-colored glasses and join the rest of the world. The majority of those who want/need to read those over-priced articles don't have the money to purchase them or have access to someone who does. Also, people aren't interested in what they have to pay ridiculous prices to access; more people would interested in research journal articles if they didn't require the sacrifice of grocery, utility, or car bill payments. So, Just Saying, until you're praying that the kid who just walked out of the cafeteria not only won't eat all of his rice (because you don't dare hope for the chicken) but would also be willing to give you said leftover rice, you don't get to argue back.

interesting article, thanks!

I've just bumped into it now. I know it's been a while and I've only read the comments superficially, but have two things to say:

@Sandra - BMC works as PLoS: the author pays for the articles to be published, then the article is immediately made freely available (I worked there)

@Just: in response to your comment "How do you think the cost of publishing would explode when their demand increases 5 or 10 fold? The author pays model is actually a pure giveaway to publishers. In a few years, it won’t be a $3000 fee for the author. It’ll be $5000, or $7000 just to print more journals that sit on bookshelves."

most, if not all, Open Access journals are actually online, which means an increase in demand won´t make the prices go up. In any case, it might make them go down, if e.g. higher visits to their sites can bring them more money from advertisers, etc. (I don't know this, just a guess)


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Electronic Commerce Research and Applications

Electronic word-of-mouth and consumer purchase intentions in social e-commerce.

We explore the mechanism of online purchase intention through empirical analysis.

eWOM communication plays an important role in online shopping.

The information quality is positively associated with consumer’s trust.

And social psychological distance mediates the relationship between them.

Consumer’s trust has a positive effect on purchase intention.

The research results develop the theory of online shopping behavior.

With the rise of social commerce, electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) has become an important reference for users to make purchase decisions. However, the quality of information communicated by eWOM on all major platforms is uneven, which seriously affects user trust in eWOM, and in the reputation of the platform. Therefore, from the perspective of information quality, this study adds the social psychological distance of consumers to research the effects of WOM on trust, and its further influence on purchase intentions. This research adopts a questionnaire survey method to collect data from users of Xiaohongshu. Through path analysis, the following conclusions are obtained: (1) information quality is positively associated with social psychological distance and trust; (2) social psychological distance is positively associated with trust; (3) social psychological distance mediates the relationship between information quality and trust; and (4) trust is positively associated with purchase intention. Finally, based on the research conclusions, we put forward suggestions for social e-commerce platforms. The limitations of the study and direction of future research are analyzed.

Cited by (0)

Yang Zhao is a PhD student of School of Economics and Management at Yanshan University. Her Research Interests Include Electronic commerce and consumer behavior .

Lin Wang is an associate professor of School of Management at Northeastern University at Qinhuangdao. His research interests include electronic commerce and information management.

Huijie Tang is a PhD student of School of Economics and Management at Tongji University. Her research interests include consumer behavior and human resource management.

Yaming Zhang is a professor of School of Economics and Management at Yanshan University. His research interests include consumer behavior and Internet Marketing .

Taylor and Francis Online homepage

Cogent Business & Management

Open access

Knowledge foundation in green purchase behaviour: Multidimensional scaling method

1. Introduction

2. theoretical review of green purchase, 3. environmental concerns, 4. psychological determinant of customer environmental concern, 5. bibliometric analysis, 6. an overall view of green purchase, 8. citation overview, 9. co-citation analysis, 10. discussion, 11. the components of a green purchase research agenda, 12. an integrated framework for future green purchase intention research, 13. the influence of green purchase intention of the green purchase, 14. theoretical contribution, 15. managerial contribution, 16. limitations, additional information.

For the past few decades, because of the environmental hazards, green purchase has been subject to wide ranges of studies. Subsequently, understanding the intellectual structure of the green purchase behaviour is increasingly becoming important. This study investigates the citation in green purchase academic literature and it analyses the knowledge structure in it. The following bibliometric analysis comprised 86 green purchase articles. By employing multidimensional scaling (MDS) to identify the ranges of the intellectual influences and shaped green purchase behaviour. The knowledge structure in green purchase is discovered by employing co-citation analysis to find the most important and effective studies in the green purchase study domain. A conceptual framework is developed and finally the future model was proposed.

The burgeoning rise of human consumption globally has led to severe damages to the human environment and the earth. During the past decade, several environmental issues such as global warming, air pollution have made the customers to be more environmentally aware of their purchase and its impact on the environment. Subsequently, due to these changes in the customer purchase behavior pattern, green purchase behavior has turned into a new consumer research study (Zhao & Zhong, Citation 2015 ). Regarding this behavioral pheromone in costumer behavior study, wide ranges of studies have been conducted (e.g., Yadav and Pathak, Citation 2016 ; Zhao & Zhong, Citation 2015 ). These researches mainly focused on the antecedent of green purchase behavior and what causes it. Marketing researches mainly were looking for the factors that encourage customers to purchase green products. Subsequently, this gives a marvelous opportunity to green products to increase their market share.

Over the past decade, the researcher has analyzed different relationships about green purchase behavior. For instance, green purchase intention (Mei et al., Citation 2012 ; Ramayah et al., Citation 2010 ), environmental concern (Stern et al., Citation 1993 ; Suki, Citation 2016 ), customer effectiveness (Amin et al., Citation 2015 ; Sellitto, Citation 2018 ) are the topics that have been mainly under investigation. Because of these attempts, a considerable body of knowledge has been enhanced. But, no quantitative attention has been given to the process of green purchase behavior development and its emergent throughout the last years. Also, there has not been a specific analysis to study the creed beneath the green purchase behavior. Subsequently, in order to advance the constant development of green purchase behavior, it is vital to inspect the intellectual structure of the green purchase domain.

The main objective of this research is to systematically investigate the past, present and future of green purchase behavior and evaluate the current progress and profound contribution of this burgeoning field. This research is motivated by the pressing need to understand how green purchase emerged and changed over the past decades. Additionally, this research tries to understand how consumer behavior research will be influenced by the green purchase advancement. This research tries to answer the question of how the conceptual structure of green purchase has emerged and changed. These layers of analysis help researchers to discover the historical basis and identify the changes in the knowledge structure of green purchase domain.

Evaluation of the most highly cited articles in green purchase behavior provides a possible future research agenda. Different scholars (e.g, Ramos‐Rodríguez & Ruíz‐Navarro, Citation 2004 ; Schildt et al., Citation 2006 ) have applied bibliometric analysis. The bibliometric analysis method aids the researchers to do an analysis of the most highly cited articles in the green purchase topic with a higher level of quantitative sophistication. Doing analysis aids researchers to gain a specific and more comprehensive understanding of the links between intellectual topics.

Like all other research domain, knowledge improvement happens over time. Consequently, the main purpose of this research is to provide a comprehensive analysis of green purchase. To do so, we conducted a co-citation analysis which concentrates on the structure of green purchase and helps us to propose a framework for future studies. Co-citation analysis can identify the relationship between the most-cited articles in green purchase behavior, which results in interrelationship clarification.

In the following first a brief literature review of green purchase and its theoretical roots is provided. Afterward, the applied method is presented. Then, the citation data from green purchase are analyzed and used for different co-citation analyses. This is followed by a discussion and future possible researches.

2.1. Planned behavior

Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) has been conducted in different studies related to psychological and social-related studies (Ajzen, Citation 1991 ; Taylor & Todd, Citation 1997 ). Findings of a meta-analysis research by Thompson et al. ( Citation 1994 ) suggested that perceived behavioral control explains approximately 40 to 50% of intentions and behavioral intentions associated to planned theory of planned behavior.

TPB has been the basis of analysis for different studies for green purchase behavior (Paul et al., Citation 2016 ; Yadav & Pathak, Citation 2017 ). Fishbein and Ajzen ( Citation 1976 ) developed the theory of reasoned action (TRA) to explain why customers behave in a specific manner. Ajzen and Fishbein ( Citation 1980 ) proposed that intentions are the most important predictor of customer behaviors. Their findings suggested that humans are rational in making rational decisions based on the available information (Ding & Ng, Citation 2009 ).

TRA contributes profoundly to non-routine thinking decisions (Oppermann, Citation 1995 ). TRA is considerable effective at explaining psychological/cognitive responses comprehend consumers “contextual decision-making (Han & Kim, Citation 2010 ). TRA suggests that individuals are eager to participate in specific behavior. Subsequently, in this context, intention refers to the individuals” eagerness for participating in a particular behavior (Han & Kim, Citation 2010 ). According to this theory, green product intention suggests the extend which customers are interested in purchasing green products due to their impact on themselves and surroundings.

Concerning to predicting green purchasing, TRA has been applied for predicting green purchase behaviors as well (Chan, Citation 2001 ). Although TRA has been successful in explaining customer green purchase behavior (Han & Kim, Citation 2010 ), it fails to address the requirement of resources and opportunists. For example, not all the customers are able to buy green products as they don’t have the same level of access to resources and opportunities.

Intentions are predictors of behaviors (Ajzen, Citation 2002 ). Wide ranges of studies (e.g., Glasford, Citation 2008 ; Hsu & Lu, Citation 2007 ; Netemeyer & Bearden, Citation 1992 ) have found the TRA quite useful in predicting a particular behavior. Hence, being quite useful in predicting individual behavior, TRA has been quite used in predicting consumer behaviors (Lam & Hsu, Citation 2004 ).

In particular, TPB enhances the green purchase intention model predictability considerably. As proposed by TPB, this model proposes three predictors of intention for doing a particular behavior: Subjective norms, attitude toward behavior, perceive behavioral control.

2.2. Attitude

Attitude is the individual readiness for doing a particular behavior (Allport, Citation 1935 ; Breckler & Wiggins, Citation 1989 ; Di Martino & Zan, Citation 2015 ). Attitude toward a behavior suggests the degree which an individual finds a behavior favorable or unfavorable in the evaluation of the behavior in question (Ajzen, Citation 1991 ). In addition, attitude comprises judgment which a judgment under consideration is bad or good and whether individual wants to do the behavior or not (Leonard et al., Citation 2004 ). Results of Ramayah et al. ( Citation 2010 ) and Kotchen and Reiling ( Citation 2000 ) suggested that attitude is the main and most important predictor of behavioural intention. Attitude is a psychological emotion routed in the customer perception about doing a behaviour (M. F. Chen & Tung, Citation 2014 ).

The phenomena of specific attitude toward green product and purchasing environmental products show that how one concerns about environment and their ecological consequences.

T. B. Chen and Chai ( Citation 2010 ) suggested that the environmental attitude has an impact on the individual attitude and perception toward green products. For instance, if individuals pay attention to their health and concern more about the environment, s/he will have a positive attitude toward green products. In green product purchase context, a positive relationship between attitude and behavioral intention has been made in different cultures (Mostafa, Citation 2007 ). Results of Wang et al. ( Citation 2020 ) showed that when individuals are more environmentally friendly, they prefer to purchase more environmentally friendly packages. In green hotel tourism industries, different studies (e.g., Becker-Olsen et al., Citation 2006 ; Paul & Rana, Citation 2012 ) confirmed that intentions positively influence on customer behaviors. What is more, results of Netemeyer et al. ( Citation 2005 ) revealed that the more positive the attitude of customers towards the green product, the more likely costumers purchase green products.

2.3. Subjective norm

In the TPB model, the second determinant of behavioural intention is the subjective norm. The subjective norm is defined as the “perceived social pressure to perform or not perform a particular behaviour” (Ajzen, Citation 1991 ). The social pressure can be from individuals’ friends, relatives, or families. Subjective norms can impact on the individuals’ feelings about doing a particular behaviour. Moreover, consumers who experience the positive subjective norm toward a behaviour have shown a more likely positive intention toward a behaviour.

In the green marketing literature, different studies have applied subjective norm as an important determinant of green purchase behaviour (e.g., Schepers & Wetzels, Citation 2007 ; Yang & Jolly, Citation 2009 ), green hotel revisit intention (Han & Kim, Citation 2010 ; Lee et al., Citation 2010 ). These researches found a positive link between subjective norm as intention. In other words, when customers realise that others, who are important to him/her, take part in green purchase behaviour, they also are more likely to take part in purchasing green products.

2.4. Perceived behavioural control

As mentioned earlier the TRA could not predict green purchase behaviour efficiently due to not considering the required resources for conducting a behaviour. The term perceived behavioural control refers to the “perceived ease or difficulty” of doing a specific behaviour (Ajzen, Citation 1991 ). The perceived behavioural control reflects individuals past experiences and also envisage the future obstacles. Results of Zhou et al. ( Citation 2014 ) revealed that behavioural control (e.g., having sufficient money for purchasing green products) has a profound influence on the behaviour. Subsequently, having access to non-motivational factors such as concept of resources, opportunities, and action controls plays an important role in predicting a particular behaviour.

Different studies have shown that PBC positively has an influence on intention in a wide range of research context including green hotels (Han & Kim, Citation 2010 , Citation 2010 ), organic food (Arvola et al., Citation 2008 ; Tarkiainen & Sundqvist, Citation 2005 ; Zhou et al., Citation 2014 ), and green product in general.

3.1. Green purchase behavior

Green purchase behavior is buying environmentally friendly products which are usually recycled and bring benefits to the environment (Mostafa, Citation 2007 ). Additionally, green products avoid harming both society and environment. Customer green purchase behavior is usually evaluated in terms of consumer intentions and willingness to buy green products and then the intention usually is transformed to green purchase behavior which finally has an influence on customer behavior for buying such environmentally sustainable products (Joshi & Rahman, Citation 2015 ). As discussed earlier, green purchase behavior first was unveiled by TRA (Fishbein & Ajzen, Citation 1975 ). Subsequently, due to the theory limits, TPB was used for explaining customer green purchase behavior (Hsu et al., Citation 2017 ). What is more, modified behavioral measures were also adopted in a wide range of environmentally friendly products including Asia and India (Hsu et al., Citation 2017 ) in organic products (Zhou et al., Citation 2014 ), and Skincare products (Hsu et al., Citation 2017 ).

In particular, the term green products or sustainable products are the products which are benefited to society, environment and includes eco-friendly bags, recycled papers, energy-saving lights, and ecofriendly products (Joshi & Rahman, Citation 2015 ). Besides, these products have usually low waste generation and are recyclable (T. B. Chen & Chai, Citation 2010 ).

Based on the above argument it seems that consumer behavior is not affected by only attitudinal factors and it also needs cognitive factors such as environmental concern, environmental knowledge, and antidote toward green purchase product (Kim, Citation 2011 ; Kumar et al., Citation 2017 ; Paul et al., Citation 2016 ).

Concerning to environmental behavioral studies, environmental concern refers to the customer concern about the environmental-related issues (Hines et al., Citation 1987 ). Environmental concern is found to be one of the key antecedents of the customer eco-friendly behavior in marketing and green marketing literature. In general, environmental concern is about the individual concern about environment and the level of readiness to overcome problems. Additionally, it reflects one sense of responsibility to protect and save the environment and their involvement in protecting the environment. Subsequently, the level of environmental concern seeks to solve environmental problems at different levels ranging from recycling (Schultz & Oskamp, Citation 1996 ) to green purchase (Mostafa, Citation 2007 ).

Different scholars (Akehurst et al., Citation 2012 ; Chan, Citation 2001 ; Hartmann & Apaolaza-Ibáñez, Citation 2012 ; Rahbar & Abdul Wahid, Citation 2011 ) suggested that environmental concerns have a profound impact on green purchase intention. The idea is that customers who have a higher level of environmental concern try to save the earth and environment by purchasing green products.

In order to understand why people behave ecofriendly, Maloney and Ward ( Citation 1973 ) determined the importance of people’s knowledge of environment and their feeling toward environment, environmental commitment, and actual commitment. Consistent with their results, Maloney et al. ( Citation 1975 ) shown that customer ecological concern is highly dependent on customer knowledge, feeling, and intention toward the environment. This view is also consistent with the TPB in which cognition, affection, and conation are one of the most important components of determining an individual behavior.

Generally, literature shows a positive relation between behavior and knowledge (). However, in the environmental research the issue is far more clear. For example, results of Dispote (1977) found a positive relation between ecological knowledge and eco-friendly behavior. Also, results of Grunert ( Citation 1993 ) identified a positive relationship between ecological knowledge and green purchase. Such mixed findings indicate a more complicated relationship between behavior and knowledge. As Davis ( Citation 1993 ) shown that the more knowledge individual has toward the environment, the more positive ecological attitude they have.

More consistently, more empirical evidence has been found to support the relationship between the behavior and ecological feeling (Mayer & Frantz, Citation 2004 ). In this regard, Redclift and Redclift ( Citation 1994 ) has termed such ecological concern, which shows the individual degree of one attachment to ecological problems.

To conclude, empirical studies have shown the positive relationship between ecological behavior and intention. Additionally, the results of Hines et al. ( Citation 1987 ) meta-analysis have shown that average correlation of 0.49 exists between ecological intention and behavior. These results support the TPB notion which intention is considered to be the most important relevant predictor of behavior.

Bibliometric research analysis refers to the set of quantitative analysis of written documents (Osareh, Citation 1996 ). Bibliometric analysis is a widely accepted and tool for analysing written communication in social science (Weismayer and Pezenka, Citation 2017 ). For instance, Hubbard et al. ( Citation 2010 ) investigated the influence of awarded marketing articles using citation analysis. Samiee and Chabowski ( Citation 2012 ) studied the knowledge structure of the international marketing by applying hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and multidimensional scaling (MDS). Wiid et al. ( Citation 2012 ) tried to illuminate the key contributions and values in the evolution ofMarketing Intelligence and Planning by employing citation analysis. More recently, Martínez-López et al. ( Citation 2020 ) employed the bibliometric analysis to find the patterns of knowledge in the journal of Industrial Marketing Management. Noteworthy, Sheoran et al. ( Citation 2018 ) applied the co-citation and citation analysis to find the trends and future direction of marketing literature.

In general, bibliometric analysis plays an important role in answering the question of de facto of conceptual structure of the complicated field of studies which the intellectual base is ambiguous (Oliver and Ebers, Citation 1998 ). Additionally, bibliometric analysis has been also used to compare and evaluate the research outcomes of different institutions, field of study, researchers, and geographical regions (Moed et al., Citation 1995 ; Van Raan, Citation 2005 ).

Bibliometric analysis method can be categorised into three distinctive categories including Basic descriptive analysis, citation analysis, conceptual modelling analysis. Basic descriptive analysis can show the structure of the research field under investigation (e.g., geographic pattern of publication), content (e.g., authorship) and the most active institutions in the field of the study. Citation analysis refers to considering the literature cited by the body of discourse (Ratnatunga & Romano, Citation 1997 ; Üsdiken & Pasadeos, Citation 1995 ). Finally, conceptual mapping analysis illuminates a methodological method in which the articles under investigation are read and their properties of interests coded manually by the researcher.

Citation analysis plays a vivid role in identifying the body of research intellectual foundation and identifying the underlying the knowledge structure. Additionally, a temporal citation can provide information about how the body of literature has evolved over time. According to Garfield ( Citation 1965 ) there are several reasons that a researcher might cite a particular document which mainly includes paying attention to the pioneers, providing literature review, criticising, and correcting previous researchers, and attributing credit to the related work done in the field.

Co-coupling is one of the most common forms of citation analysis (Chabowski et al., Citation 2013 ; Egghe & Rousseau, ). According to Small ( Citation 1973 ) co-citation is “the frequency with which two documents are cited together”, and is often normalised in relation to the total number of two cited articles. In this regard, Cawkell ( Citation 1976 ) suggested that co-citation analysis can show how similar subjects are as they prove that two articles were used in the same context (e.g., the third article). Noteworthy, his findings suggest that the analogy between co-citations is based on the co-occurrence of the words in a context.

While basic descriptive citations refer to the most influential researches and studies, co-citations coupling can be referred to how the most influential researches and works are related to one another. Once such network is created, the depth of analysis method should be used to examine it, such as network centrality assess the strength and position of the nodes which are formed in the highly cited articles.

6.1. Method

To start the research, researcher should identify the concept of green purchase concept and its concept of study in the bibliometric search. This step is vital as green purchase has been used in wide ranges of topics.

We set out to find the terms which cover our study domain. In order to meet this research objective, we used the term “green purchase” to find the authors who are highly cited in this domain. Doing this provided a list of authors who are highly cited in this field.

This resulted in 106 articles and 1664 citations in the researcher analysis of the green purchase for a 49 years period ending in 2019. To author knowledge and based on the WOS database output, green purchase articles were not published prior to 2001 and this framework covers the entire framework related to the green purchase search term. In general, WOS searched each article records including (1) article-specific reference identifier (2) author keywords (3) publication title (4) and document title. As the aim of the researcher is mainly on published articles concerning green purchase, books, methodology paper, editorial notes, and any indirect research item was excluded from the analysis.

Afterward the data were gathered and coded for accuracy and consistency. In order to find the green purchase most highly cited articles, researcher used frequency counts. Afterward, by using bibExcel software, co-citation matrix was developed. Subsequently, in order to examine the potential for model instability, metric multidimensional scaling (MDS) was utilised (Burt, Citation 1983 ). To find a good model fit, researcher increased the number of highly cited articles.

Published online:

Table 1. the most highly cited green purchase publications.

In this section, researcher first reviews the general nature of the 27 heavily cited articles in green purchase. Then, results of the bibliometric analysis are presented. Doing this provides a deep and comprehensive evaluation of the network of highly cited articles published in green purchase. Additionally, it allows the researcher to propose a future model in the following sections.

The first highly cited document is Ajzen ( Citation 1991 ) article. His article is about the theory of planned behaviour. The theory of planned behaviour (TPT) is mainly an extension of the theory of reasoned actions (TRA) which comprises the perceived behavioural control and individual belief. This theory suggests that perceived behavioural control, subjective norms, and attitude toward behaviour together form individual behaviours and intentions.

Chan ( Citation 2001 ) is in the second rank with 40 citations. This article analyses the impact of different psychological and cultural factors on the green purchase behaviour among Chinese customers. Additionally, this research tries to develop a model for green purchase behaviour antecedents. Antecedents include collectivism and ecological knowledge. It also comprises other factors; ecological affect, attitude toward green purchase, and green purchase intention.

The third rank belongs to Kim and Choi ( Citation 2005 ). Their articles aim to identify the main key antecedents of green purchase behaviour by applying the conceptual framework of value-attitude-behaviour relationship. Their findings suggest that environmental concern and perceived consumer effectiveness are the key antecedents of green purchase behaviour. The fourth rank in the table belongs to Fornell and Larcker ( Citation 1981 ) article, which is about evaluating the structural equation model. This article in the fourth rank suggests that researchers have mainly applied quantitative and structural equation models (SEM) for analysing their data. Finally, among the most heavily cited articles, Straughan and Roberts ( Citation 1999 ) have the fifth rank in the table. Their study investigates the ecological consumer behaviour consciousness.

The MDS results representing the green purchase used the co-citation data as indicators of proximity between the most cited researchers. Higher co-citation shows the greater shared knowledge and closer proximately. On the other hand, co-citation shows that the articles share less. Using a maximum standard distance of 0.25, four clear research groups in green purchase. These three groups provide a comprehensive understanding of green purchase knowledge structure.

Based on the composition of the research groups from the results, we can identify the green purchase research domains. These groups include green purchase promotion (Group 1), green purchase behaviour (Group 2), antecedents of green purchase behaviour (Group 3), sustainable consumption (Group 4), difference of green purchase behaviour during time (Group 5).

Firstly, green purchase promotion (Group 1) shows the importance of topics related to the promotion of green purchase. This group discusses the importance of green promotion and tries to suggest implications for marketers and companies which are engaged in green product commercialisation and promotion. Results of Laroche et al. ( Citation 2001 ) indicates the attributes of green customers. In more detail, their results show that that female with at least one child who lives at home are more ecological conscious and are more likely to be influenced by environmentally friendly product promotions. Additionally, results of Tanner ( Citation 2010 ) suggest that green behaviour is not significantly related to monetary barriers or the socioeconomics characteristics of the customers.

Secondly, green purchase and environmental concern (Group 2) highlights the necessity of the topic related to customer environmental concern and customer green purchase. This group suggests that customer environmental concern is one of the primary causes of green purchase and customers who purchase green products are the individuals who are environmentally conscious.

Thirdly, antecedents of green purchase behavior (Group 3) try to develop a model for green purchase behavior based on the theory of planned behavior. This group studies the antecedents of green purchase behavior (Group 3), namely, environmental concern and perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE).

Sustainable consumption (Group 4) investigates the dynamics of the ecologically conscious consumer behavior. Consistent with the previous group, this group suggests that perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE) can provide a comprehensive insight into ecologically conscious consumer behavior. Finally, demographic and attitudinal of ecologically conscious consumer behavior (Group 5) suggests that concern for ecologically conscious consumer behaviour (ECCB) is becoming a universal phenomenon. This group suggests that contrary to the past that emphasis on environmental problems was largely limited to political and environmental solutions, current trend is toward consumer purchase behaviour. Additionally, this group suggests that environmental concern is turning into a major concern worldwide.

Table 2. Recent highly cited green purchase research

Figure 1. Green purchase knowledge structure.

purchase research article

For instance, the topic of green purchase promotion (Group 1) was quite prevalent in the findings, as noted in green purchase motives (Group 1), this group shows that environmental concern, demographic attributes of green product customers, and their behavioural profile of green product customers are necessary for proposing a future green purchase research. More specifically, this group tries to identify the profile of customers who are more willing to pay more for green products. For instance, results of Anderson and Cunningham ( Citation 1972 ) suggest that females, who have finished high school and are considered above average socioeconomic status, are more willing to pay for green product. More recently, results of Chekima et al. ( Citation 2016 ) suggests that economic level of customers highly influences on the green purchase intention.

Secondly, the topic of antecedent of green purchase behaviour (Group 3) tries to investigate the influence of environmental, collectivism, and perceived consumer effectiveness (PCS) on green purchase behaviour. For example, results of Wei et al. ( Citation 2017 ) reveals that customer environmental concern attitude necessary does not result in green product purchase. Their results suggest that environmental involvement, information utility, green advertising scepticism, and green trust have a positive impact on the customer attitude towards green products which results in green purchase intention. On the other hand, green purchase and environmental concern (Group 2) investigate the attitudinal and demographic attributes of green product customers. Thirdly, sustainable consumption (Group 4) studies the role of culture in the green purchase behaviour. Finally, demographic and attitudinal of ecologically conscious consumer behaviour (Group 5) studies the role of media in the customer green purchase behaviour. For instance, results of Trivedi et al. ( Citation 2018 ) suggests that media positively influence on the green purchase intention among Indian green product consumers.

A first fundamental component of green purchase identified from the findings of this research is related to green product purchase customer attributes. A considerable body of research is related to the research about what attributes green product customers have (e.g., Chen, Citation 2001 ; Millar & Baloglu, Citation 2011 ). However, results of Straughan and Roberts ( Citation 1999 ) suggest that customer demographic attributes cannot envisage customer green purchase behaviour.

Figure 2. A proposed framework for future green purchase research.

The third fundamental topic related to green purchase research highlights the importance of the customer country of origin. Relating to the green product configuration in the market, the role of different cultures of the globe has been highlighted. For instance, researchers have focused on the role of Chinese culture (Nguyen et al., Citation 2017 ; Sreen et al., Citation 2018 ), Europe (Liobikienė et al., Citation 2016 ), India (Jaiswal & Kant, Citation 2018 ; Yadav & Pathak, Citation 2017 ), Malaysia (Goh & Balaji, Citation 2016 ), Australian (Ahsan & Rahman, Citation 2017 ) have investigated the role of culture in green purchase intention and behaviour.

The final component of green purchase identified in the bibliometric result is the role of the media. The role of media is the next identified component in the green purchase research domain. According to Agenda-setting theory (McCombs & Shaw, Citation 1972 ) media plays a vital role in forming and influencing on the individual perception. In this regard, Fernando and Lawrence ( Citation 2014 ) used agenda-setting theory to suggest that online media increases the customer awareness about ecological concern around the globe. Consequently, media plays an important role in influencing on people awareness about the ecological concerns. Subsequently, having impact on the customer green purchase intention.

Based on the fundamental components identified in the bibliometric research approach, and by leveraging the theory of planned behaviour and agenda-setting theory researcher proposes an integrated framework for future studies regarding green purchase. The proposed model is shown in Figure 2 . It implicates that customer attributes influence on the customer environmental concern which results in the customer green purchase behaviour. In the following the future proposed green purchase intention is proposed.

The influence of customer attributes on the green purchase intention

The theme of customer attributes has been related to the green purchase intention. In addition, women tend to be more environmentally aware. For instance, results of Han et al. ( Citation 2011 ) revealed that women tend to spend more time and money for green purchases. In their study, it was shown that women tend to stay in green hotels and spend more money in these hotels. Additionally, results of Hur et al. ( Citation 2013 ) suggested that female customers are more willing to purchase hybrid cars.

What is more, findings of Akehurst et al. ( Citation 2012 ) show that educational level positively influences on the level of customer concerns. Customers with higher level of education tend to be more environmentally concerns and pay more attention to their roles on the environment. What is more, results of D’Souza et al. ( Citation 2007 ) showed that customer attributes such as age and education and level of income positively influence on the customer concerns and especially customer effectiveness. Findings of Lee ( Citation 2008 ) suggested that the level of income and social influence was the top predictor of green purchase among Hong Kong consumers. However, very little is known about the influence of age on the environmental-related. For instance, in the recent years, there has been social movements for protecting the earth from global warming, which were mainly led by teenagers. Future studies can investigate the relationship of customer attributes such as age on customer environmental concerns and customer effectiveness. Also, future researchers can investigate the role of young generation on the influence of young green product consumers and the old green product/service users.

The role of media on the green purchase intention has been investigated to some degrees (e.g., Aman et al., Citation 2012 ; Lee, Citation 2008 ; Rahbar & Abdul Wahid, Citation 2011 ). However, the influence of media in the relationship between customer attributes and green purchase intention needs to be studied in more detail. For instance, does mass media and social media have the same level of increasing customer environmental concerns comparing to social media. Does social media influence the young generation more comparing to the older generation or not. Also, questions such as does social media influence male and female at the same level needs to be investigated in detail in the future as well.

Several studies investigated the influence of the environmental attributes on the green purchase, which have been conducted (e.g., Chan & Lau, Citation 2000 ; Mostafa, Citation 2007 ; Schlegelmilch et al., Citation 1996 ; Tanner & Kast, Citation 2003 ). However, a more comprehensive and complete evaluation between green purchase intention and green purchase behaviour is needed. For instance, future researchers are encouraged to investigate questions such as which elements of customer green purchase intention and environmental-related influence on the green purchase. Does environmental knowledge have the same level of influence on the green purchase intention comparing to customer concerns. Which of the customer concerns positively influence on green purchase intention?

The first contribution of the current study is the integration of disparate topics on green purchase studies to date to provide an integrated understanding of the domain for scholars. Although previous studies have all investigated the green purchase behavior topic from different perspectives, no scholars have provided an integrated overview of the domain. Furthermore, a common literature review over a domain is mainly subjected to lack rigor and does not offer an integrated understanding of the research domain (Foroudi et al., Citation 2020 ), which consequently increases the value of current study for future scholars.

Furthermore, any further development over a research topic is based on established and current studies on a domain (Kuhn, Citation 1996 ). So, with this in mind, the second contribution of the research relates to the future theory-driven framework. Although previous and recent studies both have tried to offer an integrated research direction and suggestion for future scholars, but their suggestions are based on their topic and do not offer an integrated suggestion for future scholars.

The most important managerial implication of the current study relates to the proposed future framework. More specifically, the configuration of green purchase intention and social media is critical to the implementation of a firm/brand strategy. Though the strategies can be different according to customer attribute, the customer concerns, according to our result, can be categories in two dimensions. As results of these two integrated common customer concerns, managers can implement their future marketing strategies to encourage purchase behaviour. Thus, the use of environmental and customer effectiveness criteria offers a holistic view upon marketing and brand managers.

Like all the researches, there are limitations in this research. First of all, the term green purchase was used to find and identify the green purchase articles. Given the nature of the research, different key terms can reveal different articles which can have an impact on the results of the research. Additionally, although MDS results are widely used in the bibliometric research, other forms of MDS analysis can reveal other groups. Future studies can investigate the green purchase by using different bibliometric analyses. Using other methods such as EFA and network visualization can identify different groups. Consequently, the future study’s findings can prove more comprehensive understanding and development to the results of the following study.

Finally, bibliometric analysis tends to be more focused on backward looking, with a heavy emphasis on the most-cited articles. Thus, the analysis of this field is mainly based on the specific of most co-cited articles Although the most heavily cited articles can be considerably influential, they don’t represent the entire field of the research. Therefore, more recent articles and contributions can also be equally important; serving new buildings of blocks for green purchase. The importance of such contributions can be revealed only over time.

Notes on contributors

Mohammad hossein marvi, morteza maleki minbashrazgah, golnar shojaei baghini.

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6 Platforms for Writers to Sell Articles

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How to Access Journal Articles Behind Paywalls

An image of a computer, gavel and scales depiciting how to access journal articles legally

Science can’t advance without researchers being able to share their publications with collaborators and others and to access published papers as bases for their own hypotheses and work. The trend toward open-access availability of papers and the push for mandating publicly-funded research to be freely accessible to the public is still ongoing [1,2]. Until more literature is easily accessible, the path from the publication of an article to the eyes of a researcher in need of it is not always straightforward.

In this first of a two-part series, we review legal ways to access journal articles . Look out for our upcoming article on sharing your articles.

Access Journal Articles Behind Paywalls for Free

It’s an all-too-familiar frustration: you’re writing your latest research paper and sifting through PubMed [3] for sources to cite, and you come across an abstract where the authors describe experiments that would confirm or deny your burgeoning point…only to hit a paywall.

Another common dilemma: it’s your turn to lead journal club, and you want to cover the latest major publication on the gene many members of your group are researching, but like many just-published papers, it’s paywalled for the next 12 months.

How can you dig deeper to support your manuscript properly, or nab access to that hot new paper for group discussion, without paying the usually hefty single-article fee [4]…or breaking the law?

Check Your Institutions’ and Associations’ Subscriptions

Universities, colleges, and companies usually subscribe to a number of journals relevant to their research. You might have hit a paywall simply because you’re not logged in through your institution. If you’re on-site, check your internet connection. Your Wi-Fi device might have reverted to guest access that lacks privileges afforded to students, faculty, and staff of the institution, a common glitch.

If you’re working from home, have you logged in to your institution’s VPN or library proxy server? Some papers (especially older ones) that are not available via PubMed even when you log in through VPN or proxy could still be available through your university’s library. Clicking around on the library’s site often reveals different ranges of issue dates sorted under different databases, particularly for long-running journals.

Institutions where you are an alumnus could also be helpful here. Many universities include some extent of library access—often for a small annual fee—in their alumni programs. It’s frequently limited to physical copies or to a single database that is separate from the greater variety available to current students, but it could just uncover that specific article you seek.

Finally, are you a member of the Biophysical Society, AAAS, ASBMB [5,6,7], or other science society? These usually offer free or discounted subscriptions to the journals they publish.

Investigate Other Library Options

Your local library might subscribe to the journal(s) you’re trying to access. In many cases, the resources are only available on microfilm or microfiche.

And don’t forget good old interlibrary loans. It will take a few visits to websites of libraries where you aren’t a member and maybe a few phone calls as well, just to see which library has the right issue of the journal. Then, call your institution’s or city’s library and arrange for a loan from that other library. This may cost a nominal fee and may only allow you access to a hard copy. Also, keep in mind how soon you need the resource, as interlibrary loans often take weeks.

Get it From the Author

The first page of most papers contains an email address for the corresponding author for situations exactly like this! Contact info is also available on that webpage with the abstract preceding the page with the paywall. It might feel awkward to cold-email a researcher you don’t know for their paper, but if they respond, it would be all worthwhile.

Be sure to ask the author about any permission they have from the journal to share the paper, and give them the chance to check with the journal as they might also not know. (You could also look on How Can I Share It whether an author is allowed to share their work [8].) In many cases, journals give authors permission to share only pre-print versions of their papers, which suit most purposes and shouldn’t inhibit your work that uses that paper.

If you write to the corresponding author and can’t seem to get a response, check the authors’ lab group pages on their institutions’ websites as well as their social media pages. Some publishers, such as Springer Nature [9], are allowing authors to share their work, often in view-only mode, on social media, networks for researchers, personal websites, and public repositories without it being a copyright violation.

Try Unpaywall

Unpaywall [10], a service from the organization Our Research (formerly Impactstory) [11,12], legally harvests content from open-access sources such as university and government databases and authors’ and publishers’ webpages and makes them available in one place [13].

While there isn’t a search bar on its site to look for papers directly, it is integrated into Dimensions [14] and Scopus [15], where its database feeds into your search results [16]. If you’re accessing the web from a University of California campus or through their VPN or proxy, you’ll see Unpaywall as a link for accessing many of your search results. Otherwise, you may want to install Unpaywall as a browser plug-in; it’s available for Chrome [17] and Firefox [18]. It runs in the background while you browse, without the need for you to paste in article DOIs as in its previous iteration, OA Button (which is still available [19]).

Look for an Open-Access Alternative

Are you looking for an article to cite for backing up a statement? You might not need the particular one you’ve targeted. Similar work with results pointing to the same fact could be published elsewhere. This can happen because competing research groups often tend to publish parallel research at the same time, or else because findings are frequently reproduced by other labs to verify their integrity.

Sometimes a lab will publish figures analyzing the same data they had previously published in a new way, either in a review paper or in a subsequent research article where new, related data build over the old data. Alternatively, a review paper by another lab citing the paper you can’t access could cite the fact you seek substantially enough to serve as an adequate citation.

With any luck, you could find a source fitting any of these scenarios that is open access and can replace the citation you’d initially desired.

When it’s Time to Open Your Wallet

If none of the above options works, you may have to fork it over and pay the journal. Here are your options:

Purchase or Rent the Individual Paper

If it’s a particular paper that you can’t obtain for free and for which you just can’t find an open-access substitute, you may need to invest in access to that one paper. It may not be necessary to purchase it at the full price indicated by the paywall.

If the journal is published by a scientific society of which you are a member, the price is likely discounted for you. If the paper is from a Nature -branded journal, you could use ReadCube [20], which offers three different tiers of access:

If this is a journal club article , you’ll need to purchase the PDF because you wouldn’t otherwise be able to print or share the paper with your group, just as you wouldn’t be able to import it into your reference manager. The lower tiers would still allow you to read the information from the paper for your use, and of course, you could always enter all the citation info into your reference manager.

Get a Personal Subscription

If you find yourself wishing you had access to different papers and a large proportion of them are from the same journal, it might be worthwhile to subscribe to that journal.

Perhaps you’re having a year during which you’re writing more than usual—the last year of your PhD, a period of grant-writing for a nonprofit startup that likely has few or no journal subscriptions of its own, or a year several years into a professorship at which point you’re hoping for tenure next quarter—and you might want to subscribe to a journal or two that particularly pertain to your work for that year (subscriptions are annual in most cases).

Admittedly, this is an expensive option, although personal, non-commercial subscriptions are usually priced lower than institutional ones. For instance, yearly individual subscriptions are $235 for PNAS [21], $835 for JLR [22] (though a subscription comes free of charge to members of ASBMB [23]), and $845 for Environmental Microbiology [24].

Have we missed any legal ways to access articles? If so, leave us a comment below. Also, make sure to check out our related Bitesize Bio articles on Common Myths of Copyright and Open Access: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for more answers to your burning questions about copyright and open access.

For more tips on keeping track of the scientific literature, head over to the Bitesize Bio Managing the Scientific Literature Hub .

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7 Tips for Keeping Your Path-To-Purchase Research on the Right Track

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Most researchers and those involved in research circles are by now extremely familiar with the term “ Customer Journey ”. It entered the insight mainstream in 2012-2013 and has since become the all-encompassing descriptor of studies which explore the interactions between a supplier and its market.

The challenge with “Customer Journey” research is it tends to be restrictive in two key facets. First, it usually focuses on customers only (excluding prospective customers). Secondly, it usually starts at the point at which the customer actually becomes a customer. It excludes what researchers are now calling the “buyer journey”, or the “path-to-purchase”.

purchase research article

Example path-to-purchase/buyer journey map

The idea of exploring buyer habits and behaviours has of course been around for a while, but it is only in the last 18 months that it has begun to gain momentum as a piece of research in its own right.

Here are 7 tips for maximising the value of path-to-purchase research:

1. Start at the very beginning

All too often, path-to-purchase studies only go back as far as the first direct interaction between the buyer and the seller; the customer and the client. There has been a shift in buying habits, driven by the desire on the part of buyers to be more independent and well-informed. The resulting pre-shopping stage – often conducted online – was coined The Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT) by Google. Investing in the ZMOT helps companies to “get in the door” earlier than the competition and to build a competitive edge.

The importance of digital in the early stages of b2b purchasing is not to be underestimated. Research by BCG suggests that 89% of b2b researchers use online sources during the research process, with an average of 12 searches being performed prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site. In fact 41% of b2b revenues are generated from purchase journeys which start with online research and are following by human interaction.

Companies should seek to identify and understand the ZMOT in their market’s path-to-purchase. Doing this is difficult because they are often more difficult for buyers to pinpoint. The study should seek to tease out these details by exploring purchase triggers and ongoing buyer research not necessarily linked to a specific purchase.

2. Mix qual and quant

There is often an insatiable appetite for quantitative data on the path-to-purchase. Companies want to make decisions with confidence and statistically robust research provides it. There is however, only so far that quantitative measurements can go in informing buyer behaviours, and crucially, their mindset throughout the journey.

Qualitative insights – however they are captured – can enable companies to truly get under the skin of the buyer. There is real value in the detail and in data which brings the path-to-purchase to life; often, it is the juicy quotes and talking heads which truly engage internal stakeholders, enabling them to contextualise the insights and link them to see the people behind the numbers.

3. Explore any and all components of the DMU

It is not in the least bit groundbreaking to say that the decision making unit in b2b markets is a complex beast. And yet, many companies assume that the DMU is homogenous, with a linear process driven and dominated by one primary decision maker. To understand this person’s path-to-purchase is to understand the full picture. Not quite.

Any piece of buyer journey research worth its salt will answer the following questions:

Most companies will find that various individuals, teams and even functions, drop in and out of the buyer journey and will not be involved from start to finish. The puzzle is therefore rendered incomplete without establishing the entire DMU and the linkages which form within it. That usually means working “horizontally” within target organisations: gathering insights from one individual and then fanning out to uncover (and subsequently cover) the whole decision-making web.

4. Get the view of the channel

In business-to-business markets, the channel is often “king”. Distributors, resellers, dealers: whatever the term(s) used, these “middlemen” are a critical part of the path-to-purchase and often the eyes and ears of the market for the supplier of goods/services.

While end user insights will undoubtedly cast light on the relationship with the channel and their involvement in the buyer journey, soliciting the perspective of the channel partners themselves will enable a more holistic view. Depending on how engaged channel partners are, companies may find that it’s possible to conduct ethnographic research at the actual point-of-sale (e.g. through site visits or joint sales calls) to bring fresh insights on the purchasing interactions.

5. Track behaviour in real-time

Respondents can find it difficult to recall specific details of their buying experiences. Imagine being asked about a purchase you made last week: how many websites you visited, and specifically what you searched for, and how long you spent on each website, and how many people you called, and what questions you asked. Now imagine that you are asked those same questions about a purchase you made six months ago. Now imagine that since that purchase, you’ve made dozens of other purchases of other products/services for your business. Therein lies the trouble.

For path-to-purchase research, the devil is in the detail. Unfortunately for researchers, the detail is devilishly difficult to capture, at least accurately and reliably. Wherever possible (and this is much tougher of course for b2b buyer journeys than for consumer), companies should extract real-time insights from an ongoing path-to-purchase, to mitigate against memory bias. This could include aforementioned ethnographic research, or diary exercises in which the buyer records interactions immediately after the fact. In consumer circles, passive metering is becoming more feasible: this is when consumer digital behaviour is monitored in the background (subject of course, to the respondent’s prior consent). This is far more difficult for b2b markets where the path-to-purchase may be much longer, but as the technology is developed, it may have some equity for b2b researchers.

6. Think strategically but don’t forget about tactics

Market research of any kind is most effective when it leads to strategic decisions, while also informing tactical actions. The same is true of path-to-purchase research.

I have seen first-hand the difficulties of being too strategic when looking at the buyer journey. The risk here is that company stakeholders feel underwhelmed by the results, seeing them as “too high-level” and “simply confirming what we already knew”. These strategic insights obviously have value. They can stimulate a critical examination of the Customer Value Proposition (CVP). They can help companies to identify segments to prioritise, and/or segments to ignore. They can provide direction on marketing budgets and allocation of sales resources. The problem though is that additional insights are needed to inform the specifics, leaving empty value propositions, underserved segments and unspent marketing dollars.

The tactics – in the case of path-to-purchase research – are the minute details which may seem benign, but when combined create a powerful set of insights which can lead immediately to action. For example, when researching website behaviour, it is not enough to say that SEO strategy is the name of the game. Companies need to know which search terms buyers use. How many websites do they visit? What’s the first page they are likely to land on and how long might they spend looking for what they need? Path-to-purchase studies cannot be truly empowering with strategy but not tactics, or vice versa.

7. Understand the fundamentals of a winning content strategy: who, what, where, when, and how?

It is one of the true bugbears of research sponsors to have a study which answers one question but fails to answer four others. It is probably more frustrating than having a piece of research which doesn’t answer anything, because it provides at least the illusion of insight, and then pulls it away by not filling in the gaps.

A key objective of path-to-purchase research should be to enable the development of a winning content strategy. Marketers will tell you that figuring out what content to generate is not even half the battle. Buyer journey studies should be measured very closely against its ability to answer the following questions:

A piece of research which focuses and refuses to deviate from these questions is one which stands an excellent chance of being successful. Once concluded, the resulting insights should be able to clearly inform recommendations on how to deliver content at the right time, in the right format, through the right channel/source, to the right people, with the right message.

Readers of this article also viewed:

The Customer Journey and How Businesses Buy Six Steps To B2B Customer Experience Excellence Putting the Customer at the Heart of the Business

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Is there an affordable way for non-students to subscribe to multi-journals/archives?

As a student I had free access to thousands of scholarly articles through my universities in databases/archives such as JSTOR, EBSCOhost, Google Scholar, Econlit, PubMed, etc, etc.

With no subscription, glancing at the full text of any 1 article costs anywhere from $20 to $60.

For any one project or paper I'd use at least five to ten papers and I'd skim over the full text of many more. For a meta-analysis of the literature, I'd go over dozens and perhaps even over a hundred papers.

As a non-student the cost is extremely prohibitive to continue reading past the free abstracts. I don't want to pirate the papers or give up reading them, but I can't find any reasonable alternatives.

Does anyone know of any monthly subscription I could sign up for to give me student-like/institutional access to papers?

Note: A community wiki answer has been added to this question to provide a list of solutions to the problem.

Community's user avatar

9 Answers 9

Many papers are freely available on authors' websites, and preprint servers (use search engine to find those).

Your public library might subscribe to more than you suspect. Check it out. When I was a student in a community college, my local public library subscribed to JSTOR for example.

Become a student or an academic again :-)

Boris Bukh's user avatar

To add to Boris Bukh's suggestions:

Institutional access to subscriptions is usually based on IP address - all computers on the campus's network have access. So if you still have a computer account at your alma mater, you may be able to log into it and fetch articles through there. You may even be able to set up a proxy/tunnel/VPN or something similar to let you browse from your own computer but have requests routed through your university account. For instance, if you have a Unix shell account, this is easily done with an ssh tunnel (but the details are beyond the scope of this site).

If you have a friend who's still a student or faculty at your alma mater or elsewhere, you could ask them to download the occasional article for you. (This is probably not helpful for your 100-paper meta-analysis, unless they're a really good friend.)

Unfortunately, as you've probably discovered, personal subscriptions are usually prohibitively expensive, and may have to be purchased individually for each journal, or at least each publisher.

Nate Eldredge's user avatar

A month after asking this question I randomly stumbled onto the type of solution which I was originally seeking -- open-market subscription based access to multiple journals and full-text article links from sources such as Google Scholar, PubMed, EconLit, etc.

While searching for full text access to an article on Manufactured Environmental Toxins in umbilical cords I noticed that one of the full text options was through a service called DeepDyve .

It claims to be the "Spotify of Academic articles" ( Spotify is a popular Internet radio app that lets you download and play music at will if you subscribe). Here is a somewhat dated review from Ohio State's TechTip a la 2009. It's a $40/mo subscription plan for non-students like the institutional access you get within academia. I'm on a 2-week trial of it now.

Of course, I'm still going to continue to make use of many of the other good suggestions and I'm on the lookout for other services like this to select from.


In addition to the service I found, I'm taking advantage of several other solutions offered. Even with the subscription-based service there are many papers and journals to which I do not have access and the follow suggestions remain vital:


The subscription-based service isn't a perfect solution. @J.Zimmerman points out that, unlike institutional access, you do not have the right to print or download papers. It's "read-only" access.

The selection of journals is quite large, but still limited. My feeling is that it directly provides access to about the same selection you'd have with most universities, but unlike universities there's no inter-library loan or other work-around for when you do not have access.

As I use this solution more over the course of the next few days I'll update this solution with further limitations and I'll better integrate it with the other useful solutions which have been posted. I will also take a suggestion from the comments to make this a Community Wiki solution.

Finally, I will also be on the look-out for any competing services like DeepDyve. Please update this solution if you know of any, so that we're not inadvertantly providing an advertisement for one arbitrary commercial service.

Depending on where you are, you may have access through government-funded agencies (similar to public libraries). E.g. in Germany, the DFG purchases national licenses for quite a number of journals, and you can register for that as individual (technically, it works via the university library of Frankfurt)

Your library may be able to get the paper via inter-library loan for less than the direct purchase costs.

Not only universities, but also research instutes have libraries. These are often connected to library networks and may have access to quite a number of journals. In my experience, even if you cannot become member of that library, it is often possible to go there and read journals they have (including making a copy) as well as download papers they have electronic access to.

cbeleites unhappy with SX's user avatar

If you are in the UK, then you may be able to get access through your local public library .

E.P.'s user avatar

I believe the answer is fairly simple here. The subscription that you may be looking for may not be a specialized article service, but rather the university itself.

Just find a university that has a good network, and register to do a course there. I believe some universities allow you to sign up for a single course, evening school or for a parttime scholarship, significantly reducing the costs.

Of course you will need to check the legal requirements, but as long as you use your access for academic research I think you should be ok.

Dennis Jaheruddin's user avatar

It turns out that a related survey was posted this week in this PLOS blog post on how paleontologists access the (non-open access) literature :

enter image description here

I put together an informal, non-scientific survey. The survey asked questions about how people access the literature, the kinds of journals they can access most easily, and basic demographics. I advertised the survey via Twitter and Facebook. I wouldn’t count it as a scientific sample by any means, but I do feel that I got reasonably good coverage of various types of paleontologists at various types of institutions (as well as non-paleontologists who follow the literature). 115 individuals responded, during the course of about a week.

Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar

You could also check out Academia.edu which encourages users to upload papers that are then made available for free to that community.

enthu's user avatar

Depending on your field, the answer can also be to join a professional organization and subscribe to their digital library. As an example from my field, members of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) can purchase an annual subscription to the digital library, with access to every paper ever published in any of their publications, for $99. I imagine other fields may have similar deals.

Bill Nace's user avatar

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Research Reveals TikTok’s Impact On Consumers’ Purchase Journeys

Whether you want to build brand awareness, generate qualified leads, boost traffic, or improve conversions, TikTok can help. Here's why.

TikTok has shared the second installment of its Path-to-Purchase Report, a study that shows TikTok’s impact on consumers’ purchase journeys – from discovery to consideration to post-purchase evangelism.

The latest research gives brands several interesting insights into how they can harness the platform not only to drive culturally relevant conversations but also to supercharge their sales.

In addition, the report demonstrates how TikTok’s platform and community can drive impact beyond spur-of-the-moment impulse buys.

Consumers tend to share joyful content about big-ticket purchase items such as vacations and new cars, which in turn drives action among other consumers who are eager to participate in the conversation both on and off the platform.

Key highlights of the latest research include reveal that TikTok has a powerful and positive impact throughout the purchase journey. TikTok turns out to be a word-of-mouth marketplace that’s driven by post-purchase actions as users turn to brands, creators, and trending topics to discover new products.

It’s also worth noting that what happens on TikTok doesn’t stay on TikTok.

TikTok users are 56% more likely to research new brands or products on the platform than on other platforms, even for bigger-ticket purchases like automotive and travel.

However, these TikTok-inclusive journeys also see:

TikTok’s unique discovery patterns and strong engagement behavior in the research process also mean that satisfied customers amplify brands and products post-purchase, as evidenced by the following:

Matt Southern, Search Engine Journal’s Senior News Writer, covered the first part of TikTok’s global research study back in February in an article entitled, “ TikTok a Key Part of Consumers’ Path to Purchase .”

That research found that the path to purchase on TikTok looked more like an “infinite loop” than the traditional path to purchase.

Research Reveals TikTok’s Impact On Consumers’ Purchase Journeys

And in an article that I wrote in December 2020, “ The Future of SEO Lies in the “Messy Middle” of the Purchase Journey ,” research by Google’s consumer insights team in the UK also found that consumers loop between exploring and evaluating the options available to them until they are ready to purchase.

I outlined a similar looping process for discovering new videos and sharing compelling content in my book, YouTube and Video Marketing , which was published back in November 2011.

And I’d been inspired to create this model of video search and sharing by reading about research that was conducted before I was born.

Research Reveals TikTok’s Impact On Consumers’ Purchase Journeys

In 1948, Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet published The People’s Choice , a study of the 1940 U.S. Presidential election.

They found a two-step flow of communication. The first step, from media sources to opinion leaders, was a transfer of information, but the second step, from opinion leaders to their followers, also involved interpersonal influence.

More than a decade ago, I used the two-step flow model to explain how YouTube worked.

Harnessing this insight enabled creators and marketers to leverage YouTube’s unique power as the world’s largest video search engine as well as the world’s largest video sharing site.

So, TikTok’s latest research is supported by a series of similar findings over 80 years.

That means that whether you want to build brand awareness, generate qualified leads, boost traffic, or improve conversions, social video works much more like word-of-mouth marketing and a lot less like mass media marketing.

And recognizing this is the key to creating digital marketing strategies that can harness TikTok’s impact on consumers’ purchase journeys – from discovery to consideration to post-purchase evangelism.

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3 Stocks to Buy Today, 3/3/2023, According to Top Analysts

Radhika Saraogi

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Alphabet Class A ( NASDAQ:GOOGL )  – Alphabet is an internet media giant popularly known for its search engine Google. Today, analyst  Ross Sandler  of Barclays assigned a Buy rating on  GOOGL stock  with a price target of $160. The stock’s 12-month price prediction, based on the consensus of all 26 top analysts who rated the stock a Buy, implies an upside of 41.3%.

Gitlab ( NASDAQ:GTLB )  – All seven top analysts, who recently rated  GTLB stock , gave it a Buy recommendation. Gitlab provides a DevSecOps platform based on an open-source model that offers users increased speed and efficiency in DevOps work. Yesterday, Barclays analyst  Ryan MacWilliams  assigned a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $65. Overall, the consensus 12-month price target of top analysts suggests an upside of 25.7%.

New Fortress Energy ( NASDAQ:NFE )  – Recently, five top analysts rated this stock a Buy. The company provides energy infrastructure and development services. Today, Morgan Stanley analyst  Devin McDermott  reaffirmed a Buy rating on  NFE stock  with a price target of $50. Further, the consensus 12-month forecast of top analysts on the stock indicates an upside of 52.3%.

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Purchase Journals

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What are Purchase Journals?

Purchase journals are special journals used by an organization to keep track of all the credit purchases. It is also known as a Purchase book or Purchase daybook. While credit transactions are recorded in the Purchase book, cash purchases are entered in a general journal. It is worth mentioning that only the credit purchase of goods is recorded in such journals, and any capital expenditure Capital Expenditure Capex or Capital Expenditure is the expense of the company's total purchases of assets during a given period determined by adding the net increase in factory, property, equipment, and depreciation expense during a fiscal year. read more is excluded.

Most organizations have a separate purchase department that takes care of the complete purchasing process, which is identifying required goods, classifying, asking for quotations, placing the order, and confirming the receipt of goods matching the desired description.

Table of contents

#1 – two parties, #2 – credit purchase, #3 – invoice.

#6 – Purchase Book

Advantages of purchase journals, disadvantages of purchase journals, recommended articles, components of purchase journal entry.

Components of PJE

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc., Please provide us with an attribution link How to Provide Attribution? Article Link to be Hyperlinked For eg: Source: Purchase Journals (wallstreetmojo.com)

In every purchase, there are two parties, a buyer and a seller. Both parties agree to a price that the purchaser pays in consideration of goods or services. This purchase price is the transaction amount for all purchase journals. The person or organization from whom the purchase is made is called the supplier, and when the purchase is on credit, the supplier will appear as Creditors on the balance sheet Balance Sheet A balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the company. read more till the time payment is made.

An organization acquires various goods and services from multiple Suppliers. When a good is purchased on credit, the following journal entry is posted – Let’s say X Ltd. purchased $500 worth of goods from Y Ltd. –

Purchase journals Example 2

When payment is made –

Example 2-1

An invoice is a document that the seller issues to the purchaser. It is a detailed document. It contains the date of invoice, name, and address of the supplier, name of the organization to which it is billed, address and name of the organization where the goods ship, quantity and description of the goods, and payment method needed by the supplier, the currency of the invoice, taxes, etc. An invoice is an important document, which is an issue along with goods, and when it reaches the purchaser, the purchaser will match the goods arrived with Purchase Order placed.

 #4 – Purchase Department

Most organizations have a separate purchase department responsible for the procurement of goods. So, when any person or department needs any goods, they have to send a request to the Purchase department; if the goods are already available in the stock or warehouse, the purchasing department will issue the goods. If the goods are not available, the purchasing team will identify the supplier who specializes in needed goods, and they will place the order. Once the order has arrived, they will check that it matches the required description and quantity matches what was requested. Once the purchasing department confirms that goods have been received, the invoice goes to accounts for payment.

 #5 – Credit Note

In cases where the goods supplied do not match the description or have quality issues or damage, the purchaser has to return them to the supplier. Then the supplier will issue a Credit Note document, which will be adjusted against the payments of goods in the future. For example, X Ltd. returned goods worth $1,000, and Y Ltd. issued a credit note for that value. So next time X Ltd. will purchase $5,000, it only has to pay $4,000 as $1,000 will be adjusted against credit note Credit Note A credit note is a financial document that sellers provide to buyers as a token of confirmation against registered returns. It acknowledges the cancellation and lets the sellers make a credit entry to the buyers’ account for the required amount. read more .

The purchase book records all the credit purchases in one place, and details of Suppliers, invoice number, currency, quantity, and other details are mentioned there. The balances for these Suppliers from the Purchase book are transferred to individual ledgers, and a total of expense heads is debited to an expense account Expense Account Expense accounting is the accounting of business costs incurred to generate revenue. Accounting is done against the vouchers created at the time the expenses are incurred. read more . This is one of the basics books in the bookkeeping process, which is essential in preparing ledger balances Preparing Ledger Balances Ledger in accounting records and processes a firm’s financial data, taken from journal entries. This becomes an important financial record for future reference. It is used for creating financial statements. It is also known as the second book of entry. read more , trial balance Trial Balance Trial Balance is the report of accounting in which ending balances of a different general ledger are presented into the debit/credit column as per their balances where debit amounts are listed on the debit column, and credit amounts are listed on the credit column. The total of both should be equal. read more , and final accounts. Below is a sample purchase book XYZ Ltd for August 2019. In this case, the balances of $500, $1,000, and $2,000 will be posted to individual ledgers of Nike, Adidas, and PUMA Ltd. Also, the Purchase account will be debited by $3,500.

Example 6

Purchase journals are a vital part of the accounting process of any organization. When implemented carefully, a sound system will help in just-in-time purchases, which will lead to saving in time and money. Also, the purchase analysis extracted from these journals helps negotiate new contracts. Purchase journals also help in Creditors management, tracking returned goods status, credit notes, and updated ledger balances Ledger Balances A ledger balance is an opening balance that remains available during the start of each business day. It comprises of all the deposits and withdrawals, used in the calculation of the total funds left in an account at the end of the previous day. read more of Suppliers, all of which are required for a business to be successful and up to date. It also helps in audit facilitation by providing the data needed by auditors.

This article has been a guide to Purchase Journals. Here we discuss components of purchase journals along with examples, advantages & disadvantages. You can learn more about accounting & bookkeeping from the following articles –

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