Archive for April, 2016

Cites & Insights 16:4 (May 2016) now available

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

The May 2016 issue of Cites & Insights, volume 16 issue 4, is now available for downloading at

The issue is 13 pages long. If you’re reading it online or on a tablet, you may prefer the one-column 6″x9″ edition at That version is 26 pages long (and lacks one extraneous paragraph).

The short but meaty issue includes:

The Front  p. 1

Why it’s short.

Intersections: Two Worlds of Gold OA: APCLand and OAWorld pp. 2-5

A preview of some key data from Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, offered partly because I believe it is a new and useful way of looking at gold OA and am inviting feedback (fairly soon, since I’ll start on the book next week).

Policy: Google Books: The Final Chapter?  pp. 6-13

The Supreme Court won’t hear the Authors Guild appeal of the appeals court’s decision in Google’s favor. Maybe–maybe–the decade-long struggle is over. That’s worth a quick roundup of Google Books items since the last roundup.

Ideas for Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: Second Call

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

If you have opinions on what was great or not so great in The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014, or ideas on how the book-length analysis and presentation could be better for the new, much more complete Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, I’d like to hear from you–ideally before May 1, 2016 (I’ll start working on the book right around then). (Note that the PDF ebook version will be free and freely available with a CC BY license; the paperback will be priced at roughly production cost.)

Which tables and graphs seem especially worthwhile? Which writeups were more or less informative?

Since most of you haven’t seen the full book, there are two resources to base your feedback on:

  • The October 2015 Cites & Insights includes about half the text and around half the tables from the book, but none of the graphs.
  • The April 2016 Cites & Insights includes an introductory essay but mostly consists of pages 39 through 73 of the book, chapters 5 through 9, showing exactly what’s in the book.

(Note: you can reasonably ignore the “Why Anonymize?” section of the introductory essay in that issue: in consultation with SPARC, I’ve decided to make the non-anonymized spreadsheet openly available when the analysis is complete, One very minor consequence of non-anonymity: seven small journals that I’d flagged as questionable for judgmental reasons are no longer flagged. That doesn’t affect the analysis at even 0.1% levels.)

Both links are to the 6×9″ “online” versions, which better reflect the book pages.

You can comment directly on this post (for a week or two) or, better yet, send email to I don’t promise to use your suggestions; I do promise to think about them seriously.

(I’ll be asking for feedback on one very new and fairly distinctive aspect of the 2011-2015 survey, which arose from a decision to look at countries by region–but I’ll have more to say about that next week, I think, in a blog post and as part of a short Cites & Insights.)


Minor updates:

  • If you’re following my recovery from surgery (excision of a Schwannoma, a benign nerv sheath tumor): No, I’m not back to full touch typing; have begun hand therapy and ordered Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Posting and C&I still much reduced and the textual portions of the book may be more concise than otherwise–which could be a good thing.
  • I’ve completed the second data-gathering pass for the 2011-2015 project. The number of fully-analyzed “good” journals is up from 9,512 to 10,324, and the rough estimate of total articles from those journals for 2015 is around 566,000.
  • Yes, there will be a Cites & Insights soon, probably before May 1; no, it probably won’t be very long, given the difficulties of six-fingered typing…

Warriors Classic 50 Movies, Disc 1

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Fifty movies about an Oakland basketball team: who woulda thunk it? OK, so they’re really “sword and sandals” movies—all those Hercules, Son of Hercules, Colossus, Ursus and similar pictures, strong on Legendary Heroes, usually strong on magic and gods/goddesses, with lots of wholly innocent beefcake and (usually) cheesecake, usually some humor along with lots of fighting, loads of scenery, surprisingly good production values and plots that don’t always make much sense. Oh, and really bad dubbing, except sometimes for the one or two American actors. These are fun movies, mostly Italian, and I grade them within their own realm: a really great sword-and-sandals flick might not be a classic in traditional Hollywood terms. It’s a thirteen-disc set (there aren’t many hour-long sword-and-sandals flicks); Part 1 covers discs 1-6.

Hercules and the Masked Rider (orig. Golia e il cavaliere mascherato), 1963, color. Piero Pierotti (dir.), Alan Steel (that is, Sergio Ciani), Mimmo Palmara, José Greci, Pilar Cansino, Arturo Dominici. 1:26 [1:23]

Who knew that Hercules (“Alan Steel”) was not only a demigod but a time traveler? In this flick (clearly shot in widescreen and panned-and-scanned, more’s the pity), he’s jumped from the second century BC to the 16th century CE, since there are at least two handguns along with the many swords—and he’s somehow riding with a band of gypsies in Spain. (According to the source of all knowledge, this character was Goliath in the Italian original, but that still involves time travel, albeit only 16 rather than 18+ centuries—and Goliath wasn’t an immortal demigod. Hey, it’s swords-and-sandal magic!)

This means that—other than Hercules, who seems allergic to shirts, and a few of the evil Don’s soldiers who wind up naked after being humiliated by the gypsies and Hercules—everybody’s fully clothed, from head to toe. (Even Hercules has a shirt on for maybe three minutes total.) It also means that there are no gods & goddesses, no magic (although the Evil Don would happily burn the head gypsy as a witch), just lots of plot.

Plot. Hard to say whether it’s ever worth describing the plot in these spectaculars, but here it’s two Dons with their lands on either side of a river—and the Don on one side is pure evil, just loving to hunt down innocent peasants trying to escape from forced labor and really loving the occasional torture opportunity. The other Don is aging, has a beautiful daughter, and is unwilling to risk war with the evil Don—to the extent that he’s willing to marry his daughter off to the evil Don in the thought that this might prevent war. Foolish (and soon dead) man! Meanwhile, the aged Don’s nephew, the actual love of the daughter (well, why not? they’re first cousins, but it’s 16h century Spain), has returned from battle (after meeting up with the gypsies, fighting Hercules to a draw in a one-hour contest that earns him not only his life but the welcome of the gypsies), and thinks this is all a terrible idea. He becomes the Masked Rider and…

Lots’o’plot ensues, and of course things all work out in the end. (Hercules isn’t really the primary character, but here’s there now and then. Some reviewers compared the real protagonist, the cousin, to Zorro: that’s not too far off.) And, you know, even though the premise is even more bizarre than usual, it’s fun. Good score, pretty good print. I’ll give it $1.50.

Spartacus and the Ten Gladiators (orig. Gli invincibili dieci gladiatori), 1964, color. Nick Nostro (dir.), Dan Vadis, Helga Line, Ivano Staccioli/John Heston, Alfredo Varelli/John Warrell Ursula Davis, Giuliano Dell’Ovo/Julian Dower. 1:39

What this movie has in common with the previous one: in both cases, the titular character is not the major protagonist—Spartacus is there for maybe a third of the picture, and the biggest of the ten gladiators (who in this case aren’t slaves but entertainer/warriors) is the protagonist (and, in the end, rides away with The Girl).

Otherwise: set in Roman times, with the Ten Gladiators blackballed by the primary entrepreneur (because the big one almost spears a Roman senator instead of killing the winner of a 12-person to-the-death battle who refused to kill his father, one of the others) saving a senator’s daughter from Bad Thieves and being recruited by the senator to find and kill (they prefer capture) Spartacus, who is supposedly thieving. They find and meet Spartacus (involving an apparently hours-long battle between the big guy and Spartacus, ending with both of them collapsed and laughing) and join to his cause—which is, mostly, to take his group back to Thrace and freedom.

The gladiators say they’ll go back and try to sell that to the senator (with the promise that he’ll be sent ransom money for the group later)…who says “sure, why not?” and drugs them over dinner, putting them in the dungeon.

There’s more plot—and, other than the sheer stupidity of the gladiators and the apparent deal that knocking an enemy out means he’s out of the action forever, it’s not as implausible as you might expect—ending with a reasonably satisfactory conclusion. The overall lesson: if the venal, vicious Senator Varro had let a hundred or so slaves escape, he would have avoided destroying a major part of the Roman army—and dying in the process. But, you know, power demands respect, especially wholly corrupt power.

Lots of fights, of course, with swords but the good guys prefer punching the other guys out; very little blood shown; some humor; the gladiators almost never wear anything above the waist or more than a foot or so below, if that matters; and the kind of production values (thousands of extras, huge battle scenes) you expect from these movies. I was particularly taken with one plot point: the gladiators, trying to figure out how to free the slaves held in a compound that combines mining with aqueduct-building, capture a blacksmith and convert him to the cause by noting that, if they free the slaves, there will be thousands of chains and handcuffs that he can melt down and make into shields and the like. He winds up being one of the foremost warriors in the grand battle.

Excellent print, great production values, but a narrow view of a wide-screen movie. Still, another $1.50.

The Conqueror of the Orient (orig. Il conquistatore dell’Oriente), 1960, color. Tanio Boccia (dir.), Rik Battaglia, Irene Tunc, Paul Muller. 1:26 [1:14]

The story of Dakar, an Evil Usurper who’s murdered the king (or sultan) and seized the throne, with an army that seems to go around burning villages for fun (which makes it difficult to provide the required tributes), and along the way found a beautiful young woman, Fatima, who Dakar would make the first of his many wives. We’re also introduced to a young fisherman, Nadir, (trawling in the river) and his elder. A bit later, Fatima escapes and is next found floating in a little boat about to hit rapids—and, of course, Nadir rescues her. (Perhaps the name “Nadir” is a clue as to the quality of this flick.)

One thing leads to another, Fatima is recaptured, the fisherman vows vengeance, and of course we learn that he’s the legitimate heir to the throne—and after lots of talk, more talk, some really bad scimitar-fights, and the like, he slays the usurper and brings eternal peace to his kingdom.

Pretty bad. The English-language scriptwriter appears to have had English as a third language (at one point, having been captured, our hero is left behind bars “until thirst and famine shall end his life.” Famine? Really? The production values are at best OK, the plot makes little sense. Maybe the missing 12 minutes would help; probably not. Charitably, $0.75.

The Last of the Vikings, 1961, color. Giacomo Gentilomo (dir.), Cameron Mitchell, Edmond Purdom, Isabelle Corey. 1:43.

“Prince Harald needs more wood!” That cry as hundreds of trees are being felled by wholly inept axe-wielders is probably the best dialogue in this mess. We also learn that Vikings fight by waving axes around a lot, that axes defeat bows and arrows even at long range, that some kings are hand-rubbing gibbering incarnations while princes just laugh a lot…and that perfidy runs deep in Norway.

As to the plot and acting and scenery…well, this was the first old flick I’d watched in almost three months (the DOAJ project was more fun); I was watching it the day after surgery; I was on low-dose opioids,,,without all of which I might not have made it all the way through. Maybe, charitably, $0.75.