Author Archive

The new Mikado

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Yesterday, we saw the closing performance of the Lamplighters’ production of The New Mikado: Una Commedia Musicale! at Livermore’s first-rate Bankhead Theater.

It was excellent.

Set in Tirmisu, a sweet little town near Renaissance Milan (and ruled by Milan’s emperor, Il Ducato, who aims to make the punishment fit the crime), it tells the complicated story of Niccolu, son of Il Ducato but disguised as a wandering minstrel (or second trombone in Tirmisu’s municipal band), Amiam, his beloved, and how love eventually conquers…nah, you can’t really recount the plot.

What? Renaissance Milan?

Yep. I’m sure you can find material on why the Lamplighters staged this production. (We saw their production of The Mikado a few years back. It was also excellent.) I won’t dwell on that. I’ll just say the commedia dell’arte-style production (including street entertainers before the curtain and actors reacting to scenery changes involving trees being lifted out of or restored into the scene) was absolutely first-rate. Mason Gates was especially good, but others–including F. Lawrence Ewing as Coco–weren’t far behind.

Sigh. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, the Lamplighters won’t visit Livermore for the rest of the 2016-2017 season.

 

Gray OA: Going Beyond DOAJ?

Friday, August 26th, 2016

To date, Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 has been downloaded more than 5,000 times (including more than 1,200 so far this month). (The link is to the $6 paperback, where you could be the first on your block–or anywhere other than at my house–to own one.)

GOAJ covers serious gold OA, journals listed in DOAJ. But there’s more–some of it sketchy, some of it just not in the directory for one reason or another. How much? Nobody knows–although one paper came up with what I regard as an improbably high number (that paper, which also seemed to assume that this is all “predatory,” has predictably been used as an anti-OA weapon).

As it happens, while there’s probably no complete list of “all gold OA journals that aren’t in DOAJ,” there is a list–actually two lists, one of publishers and one of standalone journals–which, while worthless and unfortunate for the purpose it purports to serve, is probably a pretty good starting point.

So, slightly obsessive and curious “researcher” that I am, I’ve set out to find out what’s out there–that is, how many active OA journals not in DOAJ published how many articles in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and the first half of 2016? (I grabbed the lists at the start of July 2016.)

I think of this group–journals not in DOAJ that are gold OA (not hybrid), that disclose author-side charges or explicitly deny them, and that don’t consist entirely of one-article single issues where the article’s clearly plagiarized from another journal–as gray OA.

So far…

I’ve looked at 405 publishers and “publishers” out of around 1,000 total. I’ve set aside two of those as being too difficult to deal with, and analyzed the rest.

I hope to do the rest, and the independent journals, over the next three months–and write up the results as the 200th issue of Cites & Insights, possibly also available as a PDF ebook. Target is the end of the year (which, if you’re a C&I reader, will also tell you that there will only be two other issues between now and then).

So far, I’ve found 2,372 journals with at least one article; 5,969 “journals” with no articles (most of them existing only as nearly-empty template-generated pages); 584 failed journals (mostly ones with charges that aren’t stated); 353 journals that are excluded for various reasons (e.g., subscription journals); and 322 journals in DOAJ (omitted, of course). Will I wind up with 2.5 times as many? Probably not–but who knows? (Of those 2,372, fewer than 1,000 are actually active–that is, have published 3 or more 2016 articles.)

As for article counts, I believe I have good reason to avoid making any projections.

  • First 4,400-odd journals: 4,737 articles in Jan-June 2016; 11,845 in 2015; 10,786 in 2014; 5,391 in 2013.
  • Second 4,700-odd journals: 21,335 in Jan-June 2016; 42,715 in 2015; 37,886 in 2014; 29,556 in 2013.

So for 2015, I could plausibly project around 60,000 articles–or 210,000 articles. I’d guess the “truth” is somewhere in between but I don’t know. (Numbers anywhere near those of that article? Not impossible, but…)

From here on out…

I do not have funding for this project. I do not plan to <shudder> start a crowdfunding campaign </shudder>. Based on past experience, I can assume that attempting book sales would yield almost no sales–and almost no exposure. So I do plan to give the report itself away.

The data? Not likely. Without funding, I’m not motivated to do a lot of extra work to pretty up the dataset–and, unlike GOAJ, I don’t see much potential for derivative projects.

If somebody wants to come forth with an appropriate offer, that might change–and I might be motivated to do the hard extra steps to make the effort truly complete. You know my email address (waltcrawford@gmail.com). I won’t be holding my breath.

Side-effects…

The next C&I will be late, and there will be fewer issues. That might be true anyway. Looking past 200 is difficult…

By the way, the Countries of OAWorld book really is worth owning–and I’m not saying that to get my share of the $8 price. ($0.02–two cents.)

[Added a bit later:] Some quick notes:

  • This is a quantitative study. Other than failure to disclose APCs, obvious plagiarism and simply not being OA, I’m not evaluating journals–not looking at editorial boards, turnaround time or grandiosity.
  • I’ve seen a few likely papermills, a little crackpottery (but then, there’s arsenic-based life, so that’s a tricky term), and some other nonsense. I’ve also seen some focused operations that make me wonder why they’re not in DOAJ.
  • I have not gotten to the “o” segment yet. No comment required.

 

How terribly strange…

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

I can only reasonably use the post title above for one more month, so this is as good a time as any. If you don’t get the reference, you may not be a S&G fan.

Semi-appropriate sidebar 1: For Paul Simon, it was more than four years ago.

The more significant item this year: the Fourth Official Sign of Growing Old in the U.S.:

  1. More than 20 years ago: AARP eligibility.
  2. More than five years ago: Medicare eligibility.
  3. More than four years ago: full Social Security eligibility.
  4. This year: Turning seventy-and-a-half.

If you don’t get that fourth one, you’re either much younger or don’t have a 401(k) or 403(b): this is when the government says “if you don’t take it, we will”–not unreasonably.

Semi-appropriate sidebar 2: For Sir Elton Hercules John (or Reginald Kenneth Dwight), it was nine years ago, and my best guess is that John has changed his mind.

This is the year I’ve decided “old” isn’t such a terrible word for me. Maybe because a couple of things have me feeling oldish…

Semi-appropriate sidebar 3: For Sir James Paul McCartney, it came twelve years ago, but his has always been more upbeat. He does not apparently have grandchildren, whether Vera, Chuck, Dave or otherwise–but he can probably afford to rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight. (Right around $270/night, AFAICT.) [No, that’s not the canonical version; UMG has done a pretty good job of locking out official versions.]

So what’s got me feeling old? Apart from waiting for forms to fill out (hey, Lincoln!) and that sort of thing? Well…

  1. This is the year I had my first surgery lasting more than 30 seconds or so, having a benign nerve sheath tumor (a Schwannoma) removed from my right forearm…and had the unexpected side effect of, so far at least (4.5 months later), a partly dysfunctional right hand. (Floppy fingers is one term; I have nothing but good words for the physical therapists at ValleyCare Livermore, and am getting good at six-finger typing. I do use chopsticks like a clumsy eight-year-old, though…) Yes, I know I’m damn lucky to have gone 70 years with no significant surgeries. And that I’m ambidextrous enough that this mild inability is just that.
  2. This is the year that, after some nudging, I clarified where I stand on speaking travel, given my health, my wife’s health, our cats’ health and other issues: Starting with “unlikely” and clarified to “Simply not doing it.”
  3. Not sure if this is a sign of age, but I’ve been blocking a lot more people on FB–mostly friends of “friends,” and almost always for misogynistic, bigoted, racist, stupid attitudes or support of such attitudes.

On the other hand…

  1. This is the year I completed a full in-depth analysis of article publishing by Gold OA journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, with sponsorship from SPARC. Considerably more than 4,000 copies of the book-length results have been downloaded–and, unfortunately, very few copies of the Subject and Country supplements.
  2. It’s now clear that $6 is a prohibitive price for an easier-to-use paperback copy of that same report. I’d say the ratio of PDF to paperback (excluding my own copy) is more than 4,000 to 1, but it’s actually infinity.
  3. I’m still married to my best friend, we’re still in the nicest house we’ve ever owned, and in a city we’ve come to like even better–this odd mix of fifty-odd wineries, cattlemen (still a few) and scientists (still thousands).

I said there was no deeper significance. I don’t find it terribly strange, but then I spend more time on long (4-5 mile weekly) walks with friends and short (1.3 mile daily) walks with my wife than I do sitting on park benches.

 

GOAJ: July summary

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Posted partly because otherwise I’ll lose track of the downloads from waltcrawford.name

Note that counts from waltcrawford.name omit most of the last day of each month, so they’re a little low.

  • Paperback sales (all three books): Zero, other than my own copies.
  • GOAJ PDF: 32 copies from Lulu; 3,872 from Waltcrawford.name (that’s three and 1,509 more than at the end of June)
  • Subject PDF: 13 copies from Lulu, 103 from waltcrawford.name (three and 40 more than at the end of June)
  • Country PDF (new in July): None from Lulu, 77 from waltcrawford.name
  • Dataset: 738 visits, 72 downloads
  • And 539 copies of C&I 16.5 (an excerpted version of GOAJ), plus 3,356 copies of C&I 16.4 (APCLand and OAWorld).

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

Added 7/31/16: After looking more closely at family needs and health situations, I’ll simplify this message:

At this point, I am not available for speaking engagements that involve travel. Period. Family & health come first.

Which renders the rest of this somewhat moot…


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.

[Remainder struck through as irrelevant.]

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).