Archive for March, 2017

Cites & Impasse: feedback desired

Friday, March 17th, 2017

In the most recent W.a.R. post, I said this:

In the meantime, other than various other stuff, there’s a possible Cites & Insights (if anybody cares–and based on recent readership levels, I’m not sure) and the question of following up on 3,300-odd journals that were in DOAJ on 1/1/16 but not on 1/1/17. And slowing down a bit.

I’m still unsure–and the title of this post, which started out as a typo, may be meaningful.

Here’s the numbers:

  • The January 2017 Cites & Insights, Gray OA 2012-2016: Open Access Journals Beyond DOAJ, shows 1,043 total downloads, but 975 were in 2016 and only 68 are in March 2017. I’d hoped that this study–which I wasted spent way too much time on–would get, say, one-fifth the readership of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 and might have some small effect on the discussions regarding “predatory” journals. (I’d really hoped that somebody might acknowledge that the “420K 2014 articles in predatory journals” figure was provably wrong–but I keep seeing that figure repeated.) [Remarkably, GOAJ  2011-2015 has another 2,099 downloads in the first half of March 2017!]
  • The February 2017 Cites & Insights, a fairly ordinary issue, has a total of 408 downloads to date, but only 82 in March: not terrible, but not impressive.

Readership is way down–and so is my motivation to write the [March? April? May? Spring?] issue–but not just because of declining readership, and partly for one reason that I think may be related to declining readership. So I’m offering up a couple of possible reasons and asking for feedback. C&I isn’t entirely going away [yet], but could become a mostly-OA-supporting-material outlet. Or not.

1. Dystopia Fatigue: 45 for the Loss

The reason that is definitely reducing my interest in writing and may be reducing others’ interest in reading C&I is that so much mental and emotional energy is spent trying to cope with the dystopian situation that could be summed up as 45–not only an administration that appears set on making America a mean-spirited, post-science, pathetic nation relying on bloated armaments to push actual great nations around, but also the newly-empowered racists and bigots who seem to feel that it’s now American to loudly proclaim the shameful feelings they once tended to keep to themselves.

It is draining to read the news. It is worse than draining to read some of the reactions. It is draining to try to determine what (other than the usual PPFA, ACLU, AU etc. checks) to do about it–and whether drastic actions are warranted.

I can only assume that others also find it draining, and may not feel like reading secondary/apolitical stuff like C&I that isn’t actually good “escapist” reading. (I’m just over halfway through The Devil’s Brood: is that escapist?)

For British readers, there s a separate-but-related dystopian present going on.

It’s hard to argue with a lack of remaining energy. I will surely agree that real action that might help preserve what’s left of America’s greatness is a whole hell of a lot more important than reading (or writing) my stuff.

Now, getting off the soapbox:

2. Old, Repetitious and Largely Irrelevant

That’s the quick way of putting it.

I’m trying to do stuff that nobody else is doing, since I gladly affirm that younger, more energetic and probably brighter people can and should be doing the kinds of things I used to do. Without mentioning my age directly, I’ll note that our taxes for 2016 are heavily impacted by being required to either take certain payments starting last year or losing half of that money to the Feds.

The GOAJ studies are good examples of stuff nobody else is doing. I’d like to think that most C&I essays also fall into that category–but they may not be worth doing. As for repetitious and irrelevant…perhaps.


[A few of you will wonder whether my continued lateral-nerve problem, being reduced to six-finger typing, is also a factor. No, the nerve still hasn’t recovered, and may or may not ever do so. But I managed to write all three booklength portions of GOAJ2011-2015 despite this problem, so while my typing continues to be much slower and less accurate than before March 2016, that’s not a major factor.]

  • Should I spend most of the “pause”–the next three or four weeks, before Phase 2 of the GOAJ2011-2016 research and then all the analysis and writeup–on revisiting the 3,000-odd “departed” journals for a supplemental chapter and just let C&I lie dormant? And use leftover time to catch up on reading…
  • Should I try to split the time between that revisit [which turns out to be reasonably fast because I’m only looking at 2016 availability and article counts, not APC levels] and doing a C&I issue? [Which would probably consist of one medium-length roundup on access & economics and one relatively brief roundup on the disappearing blacklists.]
  • Other suggestions?

Comments are open. I’m interested in your feedback.

Updated March 22, 2017:
I’m still looking for feedback of all sorts. If your comment doesn’t show up, it may be awaiting moderation or possibly deleted as spam–I’ve had to change spam control (from Spam Kismet 2, which no longer seems compatible, to WP-SpamShield), and I no longer see spam-trapped comments. You can always email me your comment (, if it doesn’t show up within a day of posting…if you note “Intended as a post comment” I’ll add it here.

GOAJ16: A pause in the process

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Yesterday, I completed the first pass of the data-gathering process for Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2016 — I’ve now visited or attempted to visit all 9,430 journals in DOAJ as of January 1, 2017.

Around 1,400 of those need to be revisited–either because there’s likely to be additional 2016 data or because there were problems of some sort. That process will start some time in mid-April.

In the meantime, other than various other stuff, there’s a possible Cites & Insights (if anybody cares–and based on recent readership levels, I’m not sure) and the question of following up on 3,300-odd journals that were in DOAJ on 1/1/16 but not on 1/1/17. And slowing down a bit.

I have no firm idea what the final numbers will be, but “around half a million” is a ballpark estimate. Note that most of the journals added to DOAJ in 2016 are *not* brand-new journals, so counts for previous years do change.