Archive for the ‘open access’ Category

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–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
  • 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).

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

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 (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,

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.


As of right about now (4 p.m. PDT, June 15, 2016) at figshare and Lulu and as of 5:30 a.m. for, 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 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.)



GOAJ: smaller PDF

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

The size of the PDF ebook version of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 bothered me a little (just under 10MB for a 900KB Word file)…

So I tweaked one setting in Nuance PDF Pro and regenerated the PDF.

Which has now been replaced on my personal site, linked to from the project page.

And is now just over two megabytes.

Downside: the crosshatching in free and pay articles by year figures may be cruder. (I reduced the image-quality setting from medium to good: PDF apparently really hates crosshatching.) There should be no other changes--well, come to think of it, I also dropped the cover page. [Thursday, June 9, 2016: dropping the cover was an accident. It’s restored and the file is still just over 2MB–2.2, to be precise.]

Upside: one-fifth the size, one-fifth the download time.

If you want the original or want that cover, you can always get the free PDF from Lulu: I’m not changing that version.


Gold Open Access Journals: one week in

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Since the first iteration of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 appeared one week ago,I thought it might be fun to see the takeup so far.

  • The paperback: nobody has read it yet. One copy sold to date–mine (should arrive in the next day or two). I guess $6 is a lot of money… (frequent sales, such as 20% today, I think, but it’s true that there’s shipping and you have to have an account).
  • The PDF: Eleven (11) copies to date through Lulu. Once I was informed that you needed an account to get the free ($0) download, I put a copy on my website–not really intended for heavy-duty usage. As of 5:30 this morning (June 7, 2016), there have been 1,171 attempted downloads–but based on data usage, it can’t have been downloaded more than about 860 times. Still, that’s a lot for what’s really six days.
  • The dataset: 313 visits on figshare–but only 32 downloads, and that number’s barely grown since the second day. Are there a significant number of people that actually have any use for this data? (Visits without downloads can only view the first 50 rows, so they don’t really count…) So far, nobody’s asked me to post a copy at, say, Zenodo or on my own site, so I’ll assume figshare is all anybody needs.
  • The site: Only 161 site visits (since 5:30 a.m. on June 1, 2016: I don’t know about May 31st). Most folks who’ve publicized this have apparently linked directly to the PDF. I can’t force them to do otherwise.
  • The post: Again, I’m missing May 31st data, but it’s been visited 623 times since 5:30 a.m. on June 1, 2016 (plus any RRS feedthrough).
  • The C&I Issue: Only 91 downloads, combining the one-column and two-column versions. Much lower than I’d expect, given that the issue is a coherent excerpted version of the book…

That’s where things stand. I’ll keep tracking from time to time. Will anybody buy the paperback? I think it’s much easier to reference, but that’s me–an old-fashioned guy. (If I knew that nobody wanted a print version, I might have used solid colors for the graph templates, which would probably have resulted in a much smaller PDF–but would be very difficult to read in b&w print form.)

Best guess is that the subject-by-subject supplement will be out in the next two weeks or so. I’m finding that the expanded set of metrics (beyond last year’s study) is yielding much richer stories, but those stories take seven pages per subject rather than the old four.


Is anybody interested in the second supplement, the countries of OAWorld, with full chapters for either 37 (50 or more journals) or 55 (25 or more) countries and brief writeups on another 72 countries (15 with 10 to 24 journals, and an argument could be made for giving these full treatment–and 57 with fewer than 10 journals)?

I believe it would be an interesting set of profiles–but updating seven chapters and adding 61 or even 43 new chapters (including one for few-journal summaries for each region other than Pacific/English, where all countries have at least 50 journals) is a significant amount of unpaid labor and would yield a fairly big book & download. (The supplements are extras, not part of the SPARC contract, but they’ll still be free as PDFs.)

I’ll open comments and would also appreciate direct email, either of the “yes, this would be useful” or “why bother?” variety. To, as usual

Really? Shameful but not surprising

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

So this happened. (Karen Coyle, “This is what sexism looks like, #3.”)

Shameful (“P” and the misuse of a code of conduct and the mansplaining and the WILLFUL IGNORANCE both of knowledgeable women and of all librarians have done for OA since at least 1989).

But not, unfortunately, surprising.

I’m not going to explain the issues here. Karen Coyle and a bunch of other real librarians (which I’m not) are far more qualified to do that explaining. (“Bunch of others…” includes, of course, Dorothea Salo and Jenica Rogers and Barbara Fister and Nancy Sims and…the list goes on and on.

Also, frankly, because I’ve encountered enough OA advocates with THE ANSWER who either regard libraries and librarians as irrelevant or beat them up for not throwing themselves (librarians) under the bus to push THE ANSWER and who pretty uniformly ignore all the work librarians (and hangers-on like me) have done…sorry, that sentence got away from me. In short, The Man With The Plan in all his iterations–and there’s a reason I’m not using my preferred non-gendered they/their pronouns here–doesn’t want to hear that the real world is complicated and that this has been going on for a long time.

Those of you who’ve been reading my stuff know that I’m not a sycophant for Karen Coyle or anybody else; fact is, we’ve had some pretty sharp disagreements. And in this case, I have every reason to believe she’s right (as is frequently the case).


Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: it’s here.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

goajcvrxI’m pleased to announce the availability of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, the results of my comprehensive study of serious gold OA: journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals as of December 31, 2015.

For links to the free (and complete) dataset, the free PDF ebook, and the $6 trade paperback, check the project page at

Thanks again to SPARC for sponsoring this project.

It’s not quite done yet: there will be a book-length supplement detailing subjects, and probably a book-length supplement detailing OA by country (excluding the 11 big publishers in “APCLand”). Those supplements will show up on the project page and be announced in posts when they’re ready.

A brief version of the book, roughly one-third of its content, will appear as Cites & Insights 16:5, probably tomorrow (June 1, 2016).

Added 6/1/16: Turns out you do need to sign in to Lulu for free PDFs, so I’ve added another copy of the PDF ebook–no account or registration or cookies involved. The project page now includes that link, or you can just get it directly.

The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014: half off

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Later this week (if all goes well), I’ll announce availability of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, the comprehensive study of article counts and charges in journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals on December 31, 2015–and some details on the delisting that took place in May 2016.

That study will be free in PDF ebook form (with a CC BY license), thanks to SPARC sponsorship. The dataset will also be free (same license, although where facts are concerned any copyright claim is tricky in the U.S.), and the paperback will be nominally priced.

Some of you may find it useful to have the background of the not-quite-as-comprehensive 2011-2014 predecessor study, published as The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014. That link is for the paperback–but you should really go to, check for special offers (e.g., there may be a 27% print sale on May 30, and there are frequently sales on print books), write down the coupon code if any, then search for the book or use this link. There’s also a PDF ebook version; there are rarely any sales on ebooks.

I’ve reduced the price of each version by 50%, to $30 for the paperback, $27.50 for the ebook. (The paperback may also be available via Amazon, Ingram and B&N; the lower price may eventually show up there.) The listings at the bottom of this blog will continue to show the old prices until I migrate some changes, probably on June 1 or 2, 2016. At some point, the 2011-2014 books will go out of print if there’s no activity (say one copy per month between the two editions).

As for the new book (free as PDF, prob. around $8 as paperback): I’m aiming for June 1, and I’ll publicize it here and on social media. (There will be one project website showing links for the dataset, the books, and the two booklength supplements offering detailed views by subject and by country later this year.) The June 2016 Cites & Insights, an excerpted version of the book (roughly one-third of it), will be out shortly thereafter.

The DOAJ Cuts: Preliminary notes on Africa

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

A few days ago–shortly after DOAJ’s big cut–I posted a few preliminary notes on that cut, taking most of a day out of writing up my comprehensive 2011-2015 study of serious OA journals. I then turned back to working on the book-length results (which I hope to have out in a very few weeks, at which point the data will be freely available, as will the PDF version of the book).

I didn’t specifically mention Africa in those quick notes because it didn’t stand out–its percentage of dropped titles was pretty much average, and actually lower than most regions (considerably lower than the United States, for example.

I’ve become aware of a series of messages seeming to suggest that I’m deliberately ignoring Africa and that somehow DOAJ is conspiring with Jeffrey Beall to suppress global-south OA publishing. I am not affiliated with DOAJ and not the person to address the latter suggestion (which, unless it’s also suggested that DOAJ is trying to suppress OA in the U.S. and Canada, both with much higher percentages of dropped journals, seems unlikely), but I can address the first: it’s not true.

The post was a quick note; my job at this point should be to complete the report. I have no support staff; I’m an independent semi-retired researcher.

But, just to clear the air, here’s more detail on Africa (the Middle East is treated as a separate region–and yes, it also had a higher percentage of cuts than did Africa).

Journals (graded A or B)

Country D15 D16 %Removed
Algeria 5 5 0%
Burundi 1 1 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo 1 1 0%
Ethiopia 5 3 40%
Ghana 1 1 0%
Kenya 7 6 14%
Libya 2 2 0%
Madagascar 1 1 0%
Mauritius 2 2 0%
Morocco 7 6 14%
Nigeria 28 18 36%
Rwanda 1 1 0%
South Africa 73 49 33%
Tanzania, United Republic of 1 0 100%
Tunisia 1 1 0%
Uganda 3 1 67%
Zambia 2 0 100%
Total 141 98 30%

Legend:  D15=In DOAJ as of 12/31/15 and fully analyzed; D16=In DOAJ as of 5/10/2016 and fully analyzed; %Removed=% of D15 not in D16.

What of the eight other Nigerian titles? Five–all from the same publisher–have APCs but don’t state the amount to be charged; three seem to have disappeared–two yielding parking pages, probably for failure to renew domain registration, one yielding 404s.


Same legend as above.

Country D15 D16 %Removed
Algeria 316 316 0%
Burundi 10 10 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo 3 3 0%
Ethiopia 194 148 24%
Ghana 10 10 0%
Kenya 87 87 0%
Libya 76 76 0%
Madagascar 16 16 0%
Mauritius 204 204 0%
Morocco 971 549 43%
Nigeria 1,965 1,681 14%
Rwanda 16 16 0%
South Africa 2,412 1,608 33%
Tanzania, United Republic of 40 0 100%
Tunisia 12 12 0%
Uganda 1,321 1,119 15%
Zambia 78 0 100%
Total 7,731 5,855 24%

Note that Nigeria has a much lower percentage of cut articles: the journals removed were typically small.

Now, back to what I should be doing–noting that, when I get to the final group of chapters (one for each region of OAWorld, with APCLand treated as a separate region), Africa–by far the smallest region in terms of number of serious OA journals–will receive exactly the same treatment as every other region.

As for DOAJ’s criteria: It’s not my job to defend them (I discussed them in January 2015), but I will say that a directory where the only criterion was “this journal says it’s open access” would be useless (among other things, it would presumably include the thousands of “journals” that have never actually published anything and, I guess, every “hybrid” journal whether it’s ever actually had an OA article or not) and would do much to support the enemies of open access.