Going for the Gold: OA Journals in 2014: any interest?

[Adapted and slightly updated from the January 2015 C&I, partly so you can comment directly at the end.]

I’m toying with the idea of doing an updated, expanded, coherent version of Journals and “Journals”: A Look at Gold OA. Current working title: Going for the Gold: OA Journals in 2014.

The book would use a very large subset of DOAJ as it existed in May 2014 as the basis for examining gold OA—with sidebars for the rest of Beall (most of which is “journals” rather than journals) and the rest of OASPA (which doesn’t amount to much). It would assume a four-part model for some of the discussion (megajournals, bio/med, STEM other than biology, and HSS).

But it would also add even more DOAJ journals, drawn from around 2,200 that have English as one language but not the first one (and a few hundred that were somehow missed in the latest pass). Based on a sampling of 200-300 or so, I’d guess that this would yield 500 to 1,000 more journals (that are reachable, actually OA, and have enough English for me to verify the APC, if any, verify that it’s actually peer-reviewed scholarship, and cope with the archives), possibly fewer, possibly more.

Update: At this point, I’ve recorded information for 200—well, 199—additional journals, but in the process I see that the last row in the spreadsheet has gone from something over 2,200 to a current 2,107, as I delete journals where there isn’t enough English available for me to determine the APC or that there isn’t one, determine that the journal appears to be scholarly research articles, and navigate the archives. Since close to 30% of the 200 journals are either unreachable, aren’t OA as I’m defining it, or are set up so that I find it impossible to count the number of articles, that suggests—and suggests is the right word—that I might get something like 1,400 journals of which something like 1,000 provide useful additional information. But journals are wildly heterogeneous: the actual numbers could be anywhere from 250 to 1,900 or so. Best guess: around 800-1,200 useful additions.

There would still be a portion of DOAJ as of May 2014 not included: journals that don’t include English as one of their possible languages and those that don’t have enough English for a monolingual person to make sense of them. That group includes at least 1,800 journals.

The paperback might also include the three existing pieces of Journals and “Journals,” depending on the length and final nature of the new portion. If so, the old material would follow the new. The paperback would cost $45 (I think), and a PDF ebook would be the same price.

Update: More likely, the paperback would not include the three existing pieces but would add some additional analysis—e.g., proportion of free and APC-charging journals by country of origin.

Since curiosity hasn’t quite killed me off yet, I may do this in any case, but it would be a lot more likely if I thought that a few people (or libraries or institutions or groups involved with OA) would actually buy it. If you’re interested—without making a commitment—drop me a line at waltcrawford@gmail.com saying so (or leave a comment on this post).

Of course, if some group wanted this to be freely available in electronic form, I’d be delighted, for the price of one PLOS One accepted article without waivers: $1,350. With that funding, I’d also reduce the paperback price to Lulu production cost plus $2.

If some group was really interested in an updated look at all this—including full-year 2014 numbers for DOAJ and the rest of OASPA (but not the rest of Beall: life really is too short)—I’d be willing to consider doing that, which would be a lot more work, possibly for, say, the amount of the APC for Cell Reports: $5,000. I don’t plan to hold my breath for either offer, although the first doesn’t seem entirely out of the question.

You know where to find me.

[Updated 9:35 a.m.: Comments turned on. Oops.]

Updated December 18, 2014: Comments turned off again. This possibility–a print-on-demand self-published paperback based on all of this research–has been rendered moot by developments. There will, in fact, be a coherent overview with additional material, available some time in 2015, aimed at library needs. It will not be a Cites & Insights Book.

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