Author Archive

Cites & Insights 16:7 (August 2016) available

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Cites & Insights 16:7 (August 2016) is now available for downloading at http://citesndinsights.info/civ16i7.pdf

The issue is 22 pages long. Those reading on a computer, tablet, etc. may prefer the 6″x9″ single-column version at http://citesandinsights.info/civ16i7on.pdf

The single-column version is 43 pages long.

This issue includes the following:

The Front  p. 1

A quick blurb to announce The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2015, the final ebook/paperback in the Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 trilogy.

Words: Catching Up with Books. E and P  pp. 1-17

What it says–not only ebooks and [or vs.] print books but other aspects of the book marketplace.

The Back  pp. 17-22

Fifteen snarky little essays, fewer than half on audiophollies.

On Speaking Appearances and Travel

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

I probably shouldn’t need to post this–but one recent incident suggests it might be useful.

“Shouldn’t need to post this”

I am not in great demand for speaking appearances. That’s hardly surprising.

Realistically, demand slowed down a lot after 2003 and pretty much stopped after 2009: I did one ALA talk in 2010, one book-related conference talk (in a program where it didn’t really belong) in 2012, and three talks (all book-related) at the OLA/WLA joint conference in 2013 (Oregon and Washington). And that’s it.

I’m not asking for invitations or feeling neglected. I’m starting facts. And those facts make sense: There are lots of younger library people with more to say, with more current insights into most any topic, and certainly with better PowerPoint-equivalent skills.

Most of my oddball research activity these days relates to open access–but even there, there are much better people to speak on any aspect of it other than the details of the gold OA landscape. I doubt that my research would make a compelling speech; I’m satisfied that I can communicate via posts, Cites & Insights and books.

The tl;dr version: I had a great run from 1988 through 2004; it’s time for others to have their say.

Not 100% ruling out…

Am I saying I’ll never do public speaking again? I won’t be unhappy if that turns out to be the case–but under the right circumstances, for the right topic, with the right arrangements, it’s not impossible.

But…

At this point, travel’s difficult, partly due to family health reasons (some mine, some my wife’s, some our cats), partly due to the sheer annoyances of travel.

We haven’t taken a vacation trip for five years or more, and I’d certainly place vacation travel ahead of speaking trips.

If I did accept a speaking invitation–and if family issues allowed it–it would have to be fully funded: we’re not wealthy enough to subsidize speaking trips. And, for that matter, given my age and general reluctance to travel, any long flight would have to be business class or better, as well as lodging in a good business-class hotel (sorry, but Airbnb interests me not at all), other expenses and probably an honorarium.

I suspect that all adds up to “You don’t have enough to offer for it to be worthwhile.” No argument from these parts.

What I will not do:

  • Consider a speaking engagement at all without a clear, detailed invitation; tweets need not apply.
  • Be guilt-tripped into feeling that I should be out raising my own money for a speaking trip.
  • Believe that I have unique insights and abilities to educate about OA or any other topic. I’m not an educator.

For that matter, I’ve never really been a strong OA advocate: I’ve tried to add facts to the discussion. If I’m now viewed as pro-gold-OA, you can probably thank Stevan Harnad and Jeffrey Beall as much as anybody.

 

The Man Time Forgot: a semi-contrarian semi-review

Friday, July 8th, 2016

The book: Isaiah Wilner, The Man Time Forgot, HarperCollins, 2006.

I read most books long after they’re published, borrowing them from Livermore Public Library after (usually) browsing the shelves. That was the case this time;  I find both business history and media/publishing interesting, so this was a natural.

It’s well-researched and fairly well written. It’s about Briton Hadden and Henry Luce–and the title of the book pretty much clarifies who’s supposed to be the wronged hero. (Well, that and a caricature of Hadden on the cover).

The story is supposed to be about how Hadden created Time Magazine and the whole Timespeak approach–and how Luce did Hadden wrong after Hadden’s early death. And if you pay attention primarily to pages 216-260, and read the previous chapters with one set of assumptions, that’s how this comes out.

But I found myself reading a different story than the one Wilner was writing, at least through most of the first 14 chapters; thus, my “semi-contrarian” heading.

Here’s what I saw–based entirely on what Wilner wrote:

  • We have Character A, wealthy, extroverted, party-hearty, the life of every group. Apparently drunk most of the time as an adult.
  • We have Character B, the son of a missionary, extremely bright, awkward, with a stammer, a “scholarship boy” who doesn’t quite fit in.
  • Somehow, in their many dealings, Character A is always The Winner and Character B is, at best, The Sidekick. Not surprising: A’s a natural In-Crowd person and B’s a, well, charity case.
  • Character A even uses a derogatory nickname for Character B, not only in school but in adult life–“Chink” because he was born in China.
  • When they work together, agreeing to alternate editorial and business, somehow it’s almost always Character A’s turn to do editorial. When Character B makes a decision that makes it possible to sell Time outside the East Coast, but inconveniences Character A’s round of parties, Character A not only takes it badly, he reverses the decision as soon as Character B is out of the country.
  • Even on his deathbed Character A tries to make sure Character B can never actually have control of the magazine they co-founded, writing a will that would hamstring Character B.

Character A is Briton Hadden. Character B is Henry Luce–or “Chink Luce” as Hadden pretty consistently referred to him. It’s pretty clear that Luce didn’t care for that nickname; if Hadden had actually regarded Luce as an equal rather than a Sidekick, he would have used his actual name.

To me, most of the book read as a “friendship” where Hadden was pretty consistently taking advantage of Luce–and Luce had to realize that after awhile. Was it appropriate for him to remove Hadden’s name from the masthead after Hadden’s death? Probably not–but I can certainly appreciate why he might have done so.

One book, two stories.

[No, I’m not a great fan of Luce either.]

The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2015: out now

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

cntcvr6x9I’m pleased to announce that The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2015, the last piece in the Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 trilogy, is now available as an $8 trade paperback or a free PDF.

Details and links to the two PDF versions and single print version are at the project page, waltcrawford.name/goaj.html

The paperback is $2 more expensive because the book is more than 100 pages longer. (Each purchase nets me two cents, if you’re wondering.)

Yeah, I know. I thought it would take longer to prepare the two Lulu versions.

 

Psst…Countries of OAWorld is out, sort of

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

I won’t announce Countries of OAWorld 2011-2015 formally until the Lulu print paperback and free PDF are ready, but the “alternate version”–the one on my website, which seems to be where almost everybody’s going, is now available.

You’ll find it on the project page (or, you know, here).

This is one where I think the print book is especially nice for comparison and navigation, but experience suggests that doesn’t matter a lot. I don’t know yet what the paperback will cost; it’s much longer and up to the next dollar. $8 looks like a good possibility.

86 chapters in all, most chapters four very full pages. An alphabetic index of country and region names (123 countries, if I’m counting right–including a few that aren’t always recognized as countries)cntcvr6x9.

Oh, and there’s a heatmap of OAWorld activity on the cover…

Gold Open Access Journals: end of June wrapup

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

I’m posting this wrapup today so that I can add to it later–my own websites, including the domain hosting PDF ebooks of GOAJ and the subject supplement (for those not wishing to use Lulu), get statistics every day at 5:30 a.m., but the statistics only cover the current month (so 18.5 hours of downloads and copies of Cites & Insights on the last day of each month are invisible…)

This follows up on the one-week update.

  • The paperbacks: I have copies of both, and they’re lovely. Nobody else has purchased either one so far. (OK, so I have two copies of each, one with defective growth/shrinkage labels, which I’ll recycle.)
  • The PDF–GOAJ: 29 copies through Lulu, an increase of 19 over June 7; some of those are probably replacement copies fixing the growth/shrinkage label problem. Also 2,363 downloads, some probably not complete, from waltcrawford.name–an increase of 1,192 from June 7. Assuming everybody’s replaced old copies, that’s a minimum of 1,211 copies to date.
  • The PDF-Subject: 10 copies through Lulu and 60 copies through waltcrawford.name
  • The dataset: 678 visits and 63 downloads, up from 330 and 32–an increase of 31 in the relevant number.
  • The site: 330 visits, an increase of 169.
  • Impact? I’ve seen one or two tweets based on the book. I have no idea whether the figures are being used (and credited) in OA presentations, but it’s early yet (and I wouldn’t necessarily know).

Cites & Insights 16:6 (July 2016) available

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Cites & Insights 16:6 (July 2016) is now available for downloading at citesandinsights.info/civ16i6.pdf

The 2-column print version is 14 pages. If you’re reading it online or on a tablet, you may prefer the 27-page 6″ x 9″ single-column edition.

This issue includes the following:

The Front  pp. 1-2

The release of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: A Subject Approach and revisions to growth/shrinkage tables in both books, and a quick update on the final piece: The Countries of OAWorld, out sometime in July.

Media: Of Magazines and Newspapers  pp. 2-14

It’s been two years since a magazine roundup (and I repeat some of that essay, with updates) and much longer since notes on newspapers. This piece offers some stats and comments on both–neither of which is going away or going all-digital any time soon.

Countries of OAWorld: an update and question

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

When I announced the subject supplement to Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, I said this:

As for the second supplement, The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2015? Despite the tumbleweeds that have so far greeted my request for feedback on interest in this book, I may still do it–but it’s going to take a while longer than the first supplement did.

For one thing, I plan to write a non-OA issue of Cites & Insights (possibly trying to use Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking for parts of it, since my hand still isn’t back to normal).

For another, it’s a bigger effort–either 54 or 69 country chapters (depending on whether I use 25 journals or ten as the lower limit for full chapters), plus six chapters with brief coverage for other countries in each region (Pacific/English doesn’t have any other countries). Even with some trimming to make chapters shorter, it’s likely to be a much larger book.

Best guess? Some time in July or August.

It’s time for an update…

Yes, I’m planning to do it

I tried a couple of chapters to see how they’d go, and I think the country chapters tell interesting stories–even though, at this point, readers will pretty much write their own narrative.

To wit:

  • It looks as though there will actually be 83 chapters so there’s some context–an OAWorld overview, seven region overviews, 69 country chapters, and six “other countries in region” chapters.
  • So I had to make the chapters more compact than the seven pages of region chapters in GOAJ. After some experimenting, I arrived at this:
  • I’ve combined the first two tables (journals & articles), combined APC levels & revenues, simplified growth & shrinkage, and made the two graphs smaller vertically (and moved the legend to the side from the bottom to keep proportions reasonable).
  • All of the subheadings are now Heading 3 rather than Heading 2, which saves a lot of space.
  • I’ve eliminated captions, since they’re pretty much redundant.
  • The net result: the standard region or country chapter is now four pages long (“other countries in region” chapters might be a page or two longer), as long as I don’t add much commentary.
  • Trying out a couple of countries, I find that the compact form doesn’t require much textual commentary–zero to two lines is usually enough.
  • The result should be a big but manageable book, somewhere around 340-350 pages.

The sample chapters are what uncovered the label problem with growth & shrinkage tables, since these were now small enough groups (in the first country tested, Nigeria) to allow direct manual checking. (And the small groups also have wider variations, of course.)

I’m interleaving Cites & Insights and the new supplement…

Given that nobody has yet expressed interest in the new supplement, I was going to set it aside until the probably-small July C&I was done…but the country chapters turn out to be fast & interesting, so much so that I keep returning to them. So I’m working on both.

Haven’t started using NaturallySpeaking “for real” yet; someday soon…but, unfortunately, even with six-fingered typing it’s more natural for me to type what I have to say than it is to say it…

Right now (in a day that’s generally gone south), I’m probably about halfway through the C&I draft, and have done 14 chapters of the book, with the fifteenth just needing “bookification” (I’ve done and checked the template-driven tables and figures and copied them to a separate country page; just have to move them into Word).

Best bet…

Some time in July, depending in part on how many other crises arise.

And the question (if anybody cares)…

I have a new third-order measure, but I’m not sure whether it’s explainable or useful, or how to describe it.

Here’s how it works–I’ll use one Asian nation as an example:

  1. I take the percentages of journals that either grew or shrank by 25% or more between 2014 and 2015, separating delisted journals (Gray OA) and those still in DOAJ. For India, those figures are:
    Gray OA: Up 19.0%, Down 44.8%
    DOAJ16:  Up 23.8%, Down 37.2%
  2. I take the up/down ratio for each side: Gray 0.42, DOAJ 0.64
  3. I divide the DOAJ16 ratio by the Gray OA ratio: 1.5

That’s the measure. In short, Indian journals still in DOAJ are 50% more likely to have grown significantly rather than shrunk significantly, as compared to delisted/gray OA journals.

(Choosing a different Asian country, the up/down ratios are 2.89 and 2.00–journals are much more likely to be growing–but the ratio’s 0.7.)

So the multipart question is:

  • Is this a meaningful metric?
  • If so, how can I describe it in a few words, augmented by an explanation in the preface?

At this point, “damfino” is the best I can do on both.

If there are no responses, I’ll eliminate the metric. (It would appear as text, not as a table.)

Comments are open or you can email me at waltcrawford@gmail.com

GOAJ Growth & Shrinkage: label problem found and corrected

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

If you care about one-year patterns of OA journal growth and shrinkage, and if you’ve already downloaded a copy of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 or Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: A Subject Approach, you might want to download them again, either directly from waltcrawford.name (the links here) or from Lulu (easiest to start at the project page).

As far as I can tell, I’m the only person who’s purchased either book as a $6 paperback so far, so that’s not an issue.

Why download again?

I discovered a label problem with the growth and shrinkage tables–all of them.

To wit: where it says “grew” it should say “shrank” and vice-versa.

The tables have been fixed and the books have been reloaded. You can tell the corrected versions because the copyright page mentions the correction. Corrected versions were in place as of 4 p.m. PDT, Saturday, June 18, 2016.

Only these tables (and in some cases the brief commentary following them) are at issue. The dataset is unchanged. No other tables are affected. No article counts are affected.

[In fact, halfway through the main book I almost decided to rip out these tables: the more I looked at them, the less I found any significance in them. For most larger groupings it boils down to “about one-fifth of journals stayed about the same, about 15% each grew or shrank rapidly and about 25% each grew or shrank moderately.” Two-year or three-year patterns might be more meaningful, but are much more difficult to do. For most larger groupings, fixing the table makes at most a few percentage points difference.]

For now, the June 2016 Cites & Insights still has mislabeled rows in some tables; that may be corrected later on.Cites & Insights 16:5 has also been corrected.

My apologies for the labeling problem.  I can come up with all sorts of excuses (the house elves, my still-problematic right hand, crazed politics); in fact, it happened because that particular pivot-table-based table template was a little too indirect. The others are all more straightforward and all retest just fine.

GOAJ: A Subject Approach (and an update)

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

goafsub_cvrxGold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: A Subject Approach is now available as a free PDF or a $6 trade paperback.

As usual, you’ll find links for the Lulu paperback, the free Lulu pdf, and the pdf on my website for those not wishing to open a Lulu account at the project page, waltcrawford.name/goaj.html

The new book is a supplement to Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, adding a chapter on each of 28 subjects and slightly expanding the subject-segment chapters from the earlier book.

Update

As of right about now (4 p.m. PDT, June 15, 2016) at figshare and Lulu and as of 5:30 a.m. for waltcrawford.name, here’s what I see:

  • The data:  633 views and 55 downloads. Since the views only show 50 rows, I regard the 55 downloads as meaningful.
  • The project page: 259 views. This tells me (see below) that most people forwarding information on the PDF provide a direct link to the PDF rather than to the project page. The latter is a courtesy, but the former is neither surprising nor unfortunate.
  • The paperback: One copy–mine. I’ve received it and it looks great, and I think it’s an enormous bargain at $6 (or less–lately Lulu’s been having one-day sales almost every day). I find it much easier to use than the PDF ebook, but then I’m old and still print-oriented. (Hey, if 20 people buy the paperback, I’d make enough money to have lunch at my favorite local Chinese place–except for tip.)
  • The Lulu PDF: 28 copies.
  • The waltcrawford.name PDF: 1,769 copies. (Now that it’s around 2MB, those might all be successful downloads.)
  • Cites & Insights 16:5, almost entirely an excerpted version of the book: 454 copies

Of course, it’s possible (and entirely legal) that some folks have forwarded PDF copies to others, but I’ll ignore those…

In any case, it appears that Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 has reached up to 2,251 people so far, although it’s likely that some downloads failed and some people who read C&I also downloaded the full PDF.

I’d call that reasonable success for a niche publication in its first 16 days.

As for the second supplement, The Countries of OAWorld 2011-2015? Despite the tumbleweeds that have so far greeted my request for feedback on interest in this book, I may still do it–but it’s going to take a while longer than the first supplement did.

For one thing, I plan to write a non-OA issue of Cites & Insights (possibly trying to use Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking for parts of it, since my hand still isn’t back to normal).

For another, it’s a bigger effort–either 54 or 69 country chapters (depending on whether I use 25 journals or ten as the lower limit for full chapters), plus six chapters with brief coverage for other countries in each region (Pacific/English doesn’t have any other countries). Even with some trimming to make chapters shorter, it’s likely to be a much larger book.

Best guess? Some time in July or August.

(Still inviting feedback.)