C&I and The Project: A quick update

Just a quick update, also marking the last blog post I’ll do before I turn another year older…

The October 2014 Cites & Insights…

…will not exist. At least not as a separate issue. Most probably, the next C&I will be an October/November 2014 issue and will appear, with luck, some time in October or early November.

The project…

…is going swimmingly, I think. As of Wednesday, I’d have said “I’m sure”–but the last 300-odd journals in the Beall spreadsheet (the “independent” journals, because I checked them in publisher order) are slow going, as I should have expected.

For a bunch of journals with the same publisher, I can expect similar layout, the same place for APCs (if they’re hidden–some publishers are up front with them), the same possible shortcuts for counting articles. And for some “publishers,” I can anticipate spending very few keystrokes confirming that the “journals” are still nothing more than names on a web page.

The most extreme case of this came very early in the week, when I hit a “publisher” with 426 “journals,” only 20 of them having any articles at all. I usually consider it a good day if I can process 150 journals in all (usually doing 10 in the new DOAJ list followed by 30 in the much longer Beall list: the OASPA list has been done for a while now), an OK day if I process 100, and a great day if I can do 200. With that “publisher”, I managed 460 journals in one day, including 60 from the DOAJ list.

Given that Wednesday’s basically a half day and the weekend counts as a half day in total, here’s where I think I am:

  • I should finish Pass One on the Beall list by the end of this coming week. (Pass Two, a little additional refinement, should only take a week or so for all three lists combined.)
  • I might finish Pass One on the DOAJ list by the end of the following week–let’s say “within September” as a hoped-for deadline.
  • I can actually start working on Part One of the article(s) before the DOAJ list is complete, since that list should only enter into Part Two.

Then come lots of data massaging, thinking about the results, and writing it all up. I have no idea how long that will all take or, for that matter, how long the results will be. I’m aiming for somewhere between two 20-page and two 30-page essays, each constituting a C&I issue. My aim is notoriously weak.

I believe the project will be interesting and revealing. I know I’ve found some journals I might want to go back to and do some reading from…

Swan song?

At the moment, this project feels a little bit like a swan song. I don’t really have any major projects or book projects in mind at the moment. Oh, there are a couple of thousand–check that, 1,500–Diigo-tagged items waiting to be turned into various essays, but that’s just seeing C&I wind down. Or not.

It’s quite possible that new ideas will arise. Or I’ll start reading more, maybe finally join the local Friends and volunteer at the store or whatever. Or…

Anyway: Back to the project. 239 journals on the Beall list and 908 on the DOAJ list left to go; I’m sure a few of the DOAJ ones will disappear in the process (and I just deleted one duplicate title on the Beall list yesterday–a journal entered with two slightly different names but the same URL).

Update as of September 30, 2014:

Pass One is complete.  I chose not to start on the first part of the report until the DOAJ set was complete.

So is Pass Two.

I’ve started in on Part One of the report, and have completed the background material (a lot of it!).

Barring various disasters, Part One should be ready (and published as the October/November 2014 Cites & Insights) before the end of October. Again with the usual caveats, Part Two should be ready in mid-November.

One thing I’ve already found, and should have realized–but note that I really didn’t prejudge likely results. I’d planned to use graphs for a few things, specifically peak articles by journal within a set of journals, APCs for journals and maximum potential one-year revenue per journal.

That won’t happen. I guessed that all three would be power-law graphs. What I didn’t guess was just how extreme those graphs would be: even with logarithmic vertical scales, the graphs were so crowded near the bottom as to be difficult to interpret. I prepared a table equivalent for the first graph attempted (peak articles by journal within the Beall set) and, after looking at both (and dealing with the complexities of full-page-width graphs within a two-column Word document, especially if you want captions for the graphs), I ripped out the first two graphs and will use tables instead. They don’t give as much detail, but they’re much easier to understand and to format.


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