Thanks Steve - v. helpful.
I think you have to be cautious about drawing any comparison between PLOS's HTML and PDF counts -- they are measuring very different things. For HTML you're looking at the number of times a page has been viewed, and for PDF you're counting the number of downloads. I don't know what PLOS's filtering algorithm is for incrementing the counts, but even with the most cunning technology there's bound to be an effect where the same person reads a paper multiple times and increases the HTML number, whereas no one knows how many times the downloaded PDFs are being looked at (and, you generally can't get at the PDF without first hitting the HTML page).
If you ask this question to an audience in any STM gathering (and I do quite frequently), you'll get a profile similar to the responses so far to this poll: 'desktop PDF' and 'printed PDF' way out in front, 'everything else' being almost noise.
My own behaviour is that I'll snag the PDF at the first opportunity for 'proper reading' and so that I have a copy that 'I know where it is when I want it', but then casually revisit the HTML version online a few times to check a phrase, claim or factoid.
Quite a comments coming on my Fb page https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152258097306753&set=a.127547216752.118165.709026752&type=1&stream_ref=10
I started of reading STM papers in 2001. I would print off the ones that were of most interest.
after I discovered Mendeley, I uploaded my folder of ~1000 papers and then threw out all paper copies of PDF's.
These days, I tend to just read HTML versions most of the time.
If you take any PLOS ONE (largest STM Journal in the world) paper for example (such as http://www.plosone.org/article/metrics/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0025995) you will find that 'HTML Page Views' is the post popular choice all of the time.
How about reading papers in a physical journal - that option is not even offered here. I do like that although from an environmental point of view it does not make a whole lot of sense (I did check the table option as this has become my main way of reading pdfs now).
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