The Open Access Landscape: 17. Mathematics

Mathematics includes statistics. The topic includes the highest percentage of no-fee journals outside of the humanities and social sciences, although most articles are in fee-charging journals. In all, there are 228 journals, publishing 13,190 articles in 2013 and 14,750 in 2014.

 Grade Journals %J Articles %A A/J A 167 73% 8,336 63% 50 Free 145 87% 4,757 57% 33 Pay 22 13% 3,579 43% 163 A\$ pay 4 2% 3,472 26% 868 B 18 8% 771 6% 43 Free 5 28% 150 19% 30 Pay 13 72% 621 81% 48 C 8 4% 298 2% 37 Free 4 50% 176 59% 44 Pay 2 25% 104 35% 52 Unk 2 25% 18 6% 9 D 31 14% 313 2% 10 Free 25 81% 189 60% 8 Pay 6 19% 124 40% 21

Table 17.1. Journals and articles by grade

Table 17.1 shows the number of journals and 2013 articles for each grade; free, pay and unknown numbers; and average articles per journal. Boldface percentages are of the overall math set; others are of the grade above them—e.g., 73% of the journals have grade A, and 87% of those journals are free (don’t charge APCs).

As is generally the case, fee-charging journals tend to publish more articles than free journals (several times as many for A journals)—and in math, the handful of A\$ journals publish many more articles than others. There are only two unknown journals, neither one publishing much.

The D journals (a relatively typical percentage) include these subgroups: C (apparently ceased), nine journals, 98 articles; D (dying), three journals, 37 articles; E (erratic), five journals, 23 articles; H (hiatus?), five journals, 129 articles; S (small): nine journals, 26 articles.

Article Volume (including all of 2014)

 2014 2013 2012 2011 Journals 214 220 207 191 %Free 78% 78% 79% 79% Articles 14,750 13,190 11,831 9,065 %Free 39% 40% 41% 47%

Table 17.2. Journals and articles by date

Table 17.2 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 was free. Unknown journals are ignored.

As usual, the journal numbers don’t quite add up because there are some small journals each year that don’t publish any articles.

The percentage of free journals is nearly constant and unusually high for STEM, in fact the highest outside of humanities and social sciences—but the percentage of free articles, never a majority, falls significantly over the period, although it’s still higher than most STEM.

OA activity seems to be growing in mathematics at a fairly healthy rate, 11%-12% for each of the past two years after a 30% jump in 2012.

Looked at on a journal-by-journal basis, 99 journals published more articles in 2014 than in 2013; 22 published the same number; 107 published fewer articles in 2014. Significant changes are different: 83 journals (36%) published at least 10% more articles in 2014; 59 (26%) published roughly the same number; and 86 (38%) published at least 10% fewer articles, including nine (all but one of them an annual or biennial) that have not yet posted any 2014 articles.

 Journals No-Fee % Articles No-Fee % Prolific 2 0% 2,500 0% Large 12 17% 4,571 11% Medium 28 68% 2,189 71% Small 109 80% 3,163 79% Sparse 77 92% 767 92%

Table 17.3. Journals by peak article volume

Table 17.3 shows the number of journals in each size category; 2013 articles for journals in that group; and the percentage of no-fee journals and articles in no-fee journals. Large and prolific journals dominate account for 53% of all articles, even though they represent only 6% of the journals—and no-fee journals dominate in both count and article count in the three smaller categories. It’s an extreme case of the typical pattern.

Fees (APCs)

 APC Jour. %Fee %All Art. %Fee %All Medium 11 23% 5% 5,358 68% 41% Low 24 51% 11% 2,178 28% 17% Nominal 12 26% 5% 364 5% 3% None 179 79% 5,272 40%

Table 17.4. Journals and articles by fee range

Table 17.4 shows the number of journals in each fee range that includes any journals and the number of 2013 articles for those journals. What’s not here may be interesting: there are no high-priced math journals, with the highest being \$1,400. A “normal” distribution for the first %Fee column would be 25% for High, Medium, Low, Nominal—and, oddly enough, the Medium and Nominal figures are roughly typical, because more than half of all fee-charging math journals have low APCs (\$201 to \$600).

Noting that journals with medium APCs publish a disproportionately high percentage of articles in fee-based journals, and that those with nominal fees charge very few, a check on correlation seemed worthwhile—and, atypically, there is a fairly strong (0.56) correlation between APC level and peak article count (which only tracks through 2013). The correlation between 2014 article count and APC level is nearly as high (0.54).

Starting Dates and the Gold Rush

 Year Total Free% 1970-79 1 0% 1980-89 5 100% 1990-91 4 100% 1992-93 7 100% 1994-95 7 86% 1996-97 12 92% 1998-99 8 100% 2000-01 12 100% 2002-03 16 94% 2004-05 16 75% 2006-07 25 76% 2008-09 22 77% 2010-11 58 62% 2012-13 35 77%

Table 17.5. Starting dates for math OA journals

Table 17.5 shows mathematics OA journals by starting date, including the percentage of journals started in a given date range that don’t currently charge APCs. While I see a sense of a “gold rush” from 2006 through 2011 for DOAJ as a whole, with many APC-charging journals starting then, there’s not as much of that here: quite a few journals started later than 2005, but (except for 2010-2011) at least three-quarters of new journals in each period are free. Yes, it’s a drop from earlier periods, but hardly a gold rush, especially since none of the journals charge very high fees.

Figure 17.1 shows essentially the same information as Table 17.5, but as a graph with lines for free and APC-charging (pay) journals. While there’s a big jump for pay journals in recent years, the same is true for free journals, and the two lines track each other fairly well from 2008 on. (There are markers for pay journals because of values that would otherwise disappear.)

Figure 17.1. Mathematics journals by starting date

Table 17.6 shows journals that actually published articles in 2013, when they started, and average 2013 articles per journal. The periods 1992-97, 2004-07 and 2010-11 stand out for relatively high articles per journal, but that may not mean much of anything.

 Year Journals Articles Art/Jrnl 1970-79 1 45 45 1980-89 5 129 26 1990-91 4 80 20 1992-93 7 466 67 1994-95 7 494 71 1996-97 12 1,108 92 1998-99 8 324 41 2000-01 11 487 44 2002-03 15 454 30 2004-05 16 1,296 81 2006-07 25 1,912 76 2008-09 19 430 23 2010-11 55 4,945 90 2012-13 35 1,020 29

Table 17.6. Articles per journal by starting date

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 and probably some additional analysis added in each chapter), let me know, either in a comment or by email to waltcrawford at gmail dot com.