Archive for the ‘open access’ Category

Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: September update

Friday, September 30th, 2016


It’s September 30–the last day of the month, when I fetch usage statistics for my websites (as always, omitting about 18.5 hours of that last day), so here’s an update on GOAJ–just the total numbers this time:

  • Paperbacks: Still just my own copies.
  • Dataset: 876 views, 430 downloads.
  • GOAJ: 36 Lulu copies, 6,912 copies from my site: total 6,948. Since the stats miss a bit less than 3% (that last day), it’s fair to assume that more than 7,000 copies have been downloaded. That’s remarkable,
  • Subjects: 17 Lulu copies, 171 other copies, 188 total.
  • Countries: 8 Lulu copies, 907 other copies, 915 total.
  • C&I: To date, 994 copies of the excerpted GOAJ version (16.5) and 3,724 copies of “APCLand and OAWorld” (16.4.)

Gray at 700: Getting Past the Monster

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Just a quick informal update on my “gray OA” research, having achieved two milestones:

  1. Getting past row 655 of the publisher spreadsheet, the Publisher Who Shall Not Be Named (actually four imprints). It didn’t show up as 700+ full-OA journals when I checked it out (at least not from the APC table, the easiest way to deal with it), but as 618 journals, 54 of which were hybrid “OA” and 19 empty, leaving 545 with at least one article between January 2012 and June 30, 2016. Articles (using the publisher’s DOI scheme, which leaves out editorials in most cases): 9,041 for the first half of 2016; 14,198 for 2015; 10,798 (in 337 journals) for 2014. That’s about 20% of all the active journals for the first 655 rows and 15% of the 2016 articles, but only 13% of active-in-2014 journals and 10% of 2014 articles.
  2. Getting to row 701 (that is, 700 publishers of 1,027 total).

Roughly, the first 700 show 2,718 journals with at least one 2016 article, for slightly under 60,000 articles January-June–and 2,723 journals with at least one 2014 article, for slightly under 105,000 articles for the full year.

It is, of course, possible that the remaining 327 publishers and 1,000+ “independent” journals will provide the 315,000 articles for 2014 you’d need to get to the frequently-flouted peer-reviewed number of articles in 2014 in “predatory” journals–but it’s a tad unlikely. (This also assumes that all gray OA is predatory, despite the lack of any evidence at all in 85+% of cases. That’s another discussion.)

Now for the rest of them…

Cites & Insights 16:8 available

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

The September/October 2016 Cites & Insights (16:8) is now available for downloading at

The print-oriented two-column 8.5×11″ issue is 24 pages long. If you plan to read the issue on a computer, tablet or e-reader, you may prefer the 47-page 6×9″ single-column “online version” at

The content in both versions is identical.

This issue consists of a single essay:

Intersections: Ethics and Access   pp. 1-24

A much shorter roundup than the previous Ethics and Access piece, still covering a lot of ground, including DOAJ, NEJM and Data Sharing, Sci-Hub, Identifying “Bad Guys,” Questionable?, The Aginners, Speaking of Beall… and Miscellany.


Gray OA: Another snapshot

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

As noted in August, I’m trying to determine the actual size and flavor of “gray OA”–that is, gold OA journals that weren’t in DOAJ as of 12/31/15.

I’ve now reached roughly the halfway point: 500 publishers and “publishers” (and ones that are neither) out of slightly more than 1,000.

Here’s what I find:

  • There are 10,044 journal names so far–excluding ones that are in DOAJ, but…
  • Only 2,655 of those have published at least one article between 1/1/2011 and 6/30/2016, and can be properly analyzed.
  • 6,402 “journals” are entirely empty–and most of those consist of nothing more than template-generated webpages.
  • 587 might have articles, but don’t state APCs–and most that I’ve checked have very few articles.
  • 402 either can’t be reached, don’t work, aren’t OA at all, are “hybrid” or otherwise don’t belong.

You may notice that those numbers are nowhere near being 25% larger than in the August update, although they include 25% more “publishers.”

Article counts? 38.666 for the first half of2016; 79,787 for 2015; 75,608 (approximately) for 2014; 56.040 (approximately) for 2013; 40,593 (approximately) for 2012.

Are there some paper mills here? Yes, I think so, although not many (and I’m guessing most of the authors know exactly what they’re doing). To wit, the ten journals with the most 2015 articles (that’s ten of 2,655, or less than 0.5%) have between one-sixth and one-fifth of all the articles–e.g., 15,870 for 2015 and 14,678 for 2014.

Still not willing to suggest what the final numbers will be.

And now setting it aside to write the big essay for the next C&I…and take care of other business.


Gold Open Access Journals: August summary

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

cntcvr6x9Here’s an update on download numbers for GOAJ–noting as usual that, other than Lulu, numbers are probably about 3% low because the last day of each month doesn’t get counted (after 5 a.m.)

  • Paperback books: Still zero.
  • GOAJ PDF: 35 copies from Lulu; 5,637 from (that’s three and 1,765 more than at the end of July).
  • Subject PDF: 14 from Lulu; 133 from (one and 30 more than at the end of July)
  • Country PDF: Five from Lulu; 904 from (five and 827 more than at the end of July)
  • Dataset: 826 views–but 412 downloads (340 more than at the end of July).
  • And 915 copies of C&I 16.5 (an excerpted version) plus 3,553 copies of C&I 16.4 (APCLand and OAWorld).


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 ( I won’t be holding my breath.


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.


GOAJ: July summary

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

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

Note that counts from 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 (that’s three and 1,509 more than at the end of June)
  • Subject PDF: 13 copies from Lulu, 103 from (three and 40 more than at the end of June)
  • Country PDF (new in July): None from Lulu, 77 from
  • 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).

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,

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.


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.)

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