## The Open Access Landscape: 8. Earth Sciences

Earth Sciences include geography, geology, oceanography, some related fields (including some aspects of tourism)—and astronomy. This topic includes 189 journals, which published a total of 7,109 articles in 2013 and 7,541 in 2014.

 Grade Journals %J Articles %A A/J A 130 69% 4,515 64% 35 Free 114 88% 3,010 67% 26 Pay 16 12% 1,505 33% 94 A\$ pay 11 6% 1,698 24% 154 B 16 8% 597 8% 37 Free 4 25% 89 15% 22 Pay 12 75% 508 85% 42 C 4 2% 71 1% 18 Pay 2 50% 55 77% 28 Unk 2 50% 16 23% 8 D 28 15% 228 3% 8 Free 20 71% 151 66% 8 Pay 8 29% 77 34% 10

Table 8.1. Journals and articles by grade

Table 8.1 shows the number of journals and 2013 articles for each grade, the fee, pay and unknown numbers, and average articles per journal. Boldface percentages (grades) are percentages of all earth sciences journals, while others (free, pay, unk.) are percentages of the particular grade—e.g., 8% of the journals are grade B and 25% of those journals are free.

A\$ means an APC of at least \$1,000, so the redundant Pay line is omitted. As is usually the case, these journals have the most articles per journal—and, also as usual, it’s generally the case that APC-charging journals in a particular grade publish more articles than ones that don’t charge fees.

The small number of D journals—with a much smaller percentage of articles—include these subgroups: C: nine journals, 30 articles; D: four journals, 21 articles; E: one journal with four articles; H: five journals with 134 articles; N: one journal, seven articles; S: eight journals, 32 articles.

## Article Volume (including all of 2014)

 2014 2013 2012 2011 Journals 172 180 179 171 %Free 73% 73% 73% 74% Articles 7,522 7,093 6,223 5,401 %Free 46% 46% 49% 57%

Table 8.2. Journals and articles by date

Table 8.2 shows the number of free and APC-charging journals that actually published articles in each year, including all of 2014; how many articles those journals published; and what percentage were free.

The two “unknown” journals (with 16 articles in 2013) are omitted. The journal numbers don’t quite add up because there are journals in any given year that don’t publish any articles—e.g., four journals in 2013. (Some of those that haven’t published any articles in 2014 may be annuals or others with long delays in posting articles.)

The percentage of free journals is high for STEM and didn’t change significantly over these four years. While the percentage of articles in free journals is also high for STEM, it did drop from a majority in 2011 to 46% in 2013 and 2014.

OA activity in the earth sciences continues to grow, even without considering journals that entered DOAJ after May 7, 2014. Growth did slow in 2014, but only slightly.

Looked at on a journal-by-journal basis, 82 journals published more articles in 2014 than in 2013; eleven published the same number of articles; 96 published fewer articles in 2014 than in 2013. In terms of significant change, 76 (40%) published at least 10% more articles, 29 (15%) were relatively unchanged; and 82 (43%) declined by 10% or more, including eleven journals that have yet to post any 2014 articles.

 Journals No-Fee % Articles No-Fee % Prolific 0 0 Large 7 14% 2,297 5% Medium 21 48% 1,689 39% Small 90 80% 2,509 79% Sparse 71 77% 614 80%

Table 8.3. Journals by peak article volume

Table 8.3 shows the journal in each size category (based on the journal’s largest volume in 2011, 2012, 2013 or the first half of 2014), 2013 articles in that group, and what percentage is in no-fee journals. There are no prolific OA journals in the earth sciences. All but one of the small number of large journals charge APCs, and a majority of medium-sized journals also charge APCs—whereas most small and sparse journals are free. The pattern is fairly consistent with other OA fields.

## Fees (APCs)

 APC Jour. %Fee %All Art. %Fee %All High 1 2% 1% 7 0% 0% Medium 27 55% 14% 2,261 59% 32% Low 13 27% 7% 1,217 32% 17% Nominal 8 16% 4% 358 9% 5% None 138 282% 74% 3,250 85% 46%

Table 8.4. Journals and articles by fee range

Table 8.4 shows the number of journals in each fee range (High: \$1,451+; Medium: \$601-\$1,450; Low: \$201-\$600; Nominal: \$8 to \$200) and the number of 2013 articles for those journals.

Since fee ranges are based on quartiles for all fee-charging journals in this OA study, deviations from 25% in the first %Fee column represent differences between earth sciences and OA in general—and the differences are striking: almost no journals with high APCs (one journal publishing so few articles that it’s less than 0.5% of all earth sciences articles), relatively few with nominal fees—and a lot with medium fees.

Is there a statistical correlation between APC level and volume of articles in a journal’s peak year? Not really: the coefficient is 0.13, too low to be considered significant.

## Starting Dates and the Gold Rush

 Year Total Free% Pre-1960 5 100% 1960-69 1 100% 1970-79 6 100% 1980-89 4 50% 1990-91 1 100% 1992-93 0 0% 1994-95 2 50% 1996-97 8 88% 1998-99 8 100% 2000-01 12 83% 2002-03 20 95% 2004-05 18 61% 2006-07 14 79% 2008-09 33 64% 2010-11 41 59% 2012-13 16 69%

Table 8.5. Starting dates for earth sciences OA journals

Table 8.5 shows earth sciences OA journals by starting date, including the percentage of journals started within a given date range that currently don’t charge APCs. For DOAJ journals as a whole, there’s a sense of a gold rush for APC-charging journals starting in 2006. Here, the rush seems to have begun in 2004-05, the first period with more than two new journals in which more than 17% charged APCs. The real surge, however, is in 2008-2011, with the most new journals and relatively high APC-charging percentages.

Figure 8.1 shows essentially the same information as Table 8.5, but as a graph with lines for free and APC-charging journals (leaving out the two unknowns). While APC-charging journals never do catch up with free journals (unlike most of STEM), the big jump is obvious. This graph is a little unusual in that there’s a sharp jump in 2002-03, all but one of the new journals free, then a drop for four years before the high growth in free and APC-charging journals in 2008-2011.

Figure 8.1. Earth sciences journals by starting date

 Year Journals Articles Art/Jrnl Pre-1960 5 120 24 1960-69 1 5 5 1970-79 6 373 62 1980-89 4 71 18 1990-91 1 5 5 1994-95 2 130 65 1996-97 8 387 48 1998-99 8 187 23 2000-01 12 490 41 2002-03 18 457 25 2004-05 17 1,712 101 2006-07 13 264 20 2008-09 31 1,484 48 2010-11 40 1,148 29 2012-13 16 276 17

Table 8.6. Articles per journal by starting date

Table 8.6 shows only those journals that published articles in 2013, when they started, how many articles they published in 2013 and the average number of articles per journal. To the extent that any periods stand out, they’re the high averages for 2004-2005 (primarily because the three most active journals in 2013 were all started in that period) and the surprisingly low averages for journals started in 2006-07 and 2010-11. (Many OA journals take a while to get going, so the low averages for 2012-2013 may not mean very much.)

### Definitions and notes

See The Open Access Landscape: 1. Background for definitions and notes

If you’re interested in a book-form version of this material (with an additional bonus graph added in each chapter), let me know, either in a comment or by email to waltcrawford at gmail dot com