Archive for the ‘open access’ Category

GOA8: Addendum/change to decisions and schedule

Saturday, November 26th, 2022

After thinking about it and running a full-scale test run, I’ve made a decision that should do two things:

  1. Improve the quality of APC/fee information, by eliminating possible transcription errors and by using 2022 fee/APC levels rather than those of early 2023.
  2. Save time–potentially a lot of time–thus making it possible that GOA8 will be done this Spring, or at least early summer. Not certain, but posslb.e

The changes

Around December 14, I’ll download the DOAJ metadata as usual. But this time, I’ll start out by doing the following:

  • Determine currency usage.
  • Immediately lookup exchange rates (using Forex annual-median where feasible, shorter-term where not).
  • Prepare stripped fee amount and currency columns in DOAJ metadata, and perform the conversions right away.
  • Populate the GOA8 master spreadsheet with those values, and other values as appropriate, to wit:
  • St8 (new status) is n (no fee) if there is no fee, f (fee) if there is one, BUT if the DOAJ metadata shows the possibility of other fees (they now have a field for that), then x.
  • Fee code will start at “d” (derived from DOAJ) in all cases.

Since I retain the fee (call it Fee7), fee code (Fc7), and status (St7) from GOA7, it’s an easy matter to change St8 to “x” whenever Fc7 is any code indicating something other than a standard fee (e.g., submission, b9th submission and processing, membership, variable fee).

While going through the journals, I’ll look for fee information in the journal websites if the St8 is “x”–and populate the fee code appropriately. If not, I’ll just use the downloaded/converted fee.

A trial run suggests that I’ll need to look for fee info within journal websites in about 1,300 journals (out of more than 17,000).

Note that this should make overall fee info *more* accurate because I’ll be using 2022 fee levels, not 2023. And this process essentially removes the possibility of transcription errors.

So: target for completion is still “whenever,” but a considerably earlier “whenever.”

GOA8: Decisions and preliminary schedule

Monday, November 21st, 2022

Here’s where things stand with regard to Gold Open Access 2017-2022:


  • I will be using fees from DOAJ where that seems appropriate, based on fee code for last year and other factors. (Usually decided publisher-by-publisher; some big publishers provide spreadsheets with fees, which I’ll use.)
  • I will be using counts from DOAJ where that seems appropriate, based on availability of counts and consistency with previous data.
  • There will be a new CC column for count codes, e.g. d (DOAJ), f (pattern find), w (provided on website), e (estimate–rarely if ever used)
  • Unless things go more smoothly than expected (see below), malware sites will only be checked twice (and sites that had malware in GOA7 will only be checked once)
  • Final decision on Country book won’t be made until later, but given the underwhelming usage and interest, it may not happen.

Preliminary steps (now to December 15)

  • Clear out pre-GOA7 folders: archive master spreadsheets and ms, delete other files.
  • Set up and prepopulate GOA8 folder; make “test” copy of master with years changed for template work
  • Rearrange columns of new master file (in data gathering, years are in descending order; in reports, they’re ascending).
  • Build and test templates for GOA8, based on G7 templates (but with new CC column)
  • Clear other stuff to allow more time–and, giving the devil his due, that was made much easier when, ahem, certain decisions made me unfollow everybody on Twitter and make it an inactive placeholder, instead of deciding one-by-one how many of 100+ Follows to get rid of.

December 15-31

  • Preliminary DOAJ download[s] (that is, the master database and the added/removed spreadsheete)
  • Match new DURL column as first match between old master and new download
  • As needed, do second match (ISSN and eISSN) and, if needed, third match (normalized URLs).
  • Remove deletions–that is, old data clearly marked as removed from DOAJ
  • Save unmatched for 12/31 rerun.
  • Massage data: copy 2021-2017 data, subject, category, and [for year-to-year comparisons) country and fee, but use new/DOAJ data in all other cases.
  • Normalize data and add subjects to newly-added journals.
  • Build and populate currency conversion spreadsheet based on DOAJ fee & submission currency occurences
  • Afternoon of 12/31 (after midnight GMT): New downloads; do new matches and add new data.
  • attempt to account for unmatched data.
  • As of yesterday (11/20), DOAJ shows 18,561 journals, with 1,285 added this year and 382 removed.

Data gathering, starting January 1, 2023

  • Almost certainly done in publisher order again.
  • Updates here monthly (or so), weekly or more often with #goa8 hashtag at Mastodon, with occasional updates on Facebook (and, if sanity returns, maybe on Twitter).
  • Last year, this process was completed on April 20, with additional testing taking through May 5.
  • Factors that may speed things up: using more DOAJ data; there are fewer new journals this year.
  • Factors that will slow things down: there are more journals–but, probably more important, I already know that health issues will chew up around half of the time I’d normally devote to testing for seven weeks somewhere in the first half of the year–and if some side effects come to play, it may impact timing even more. (And, of course, that’s only issues I already know about…)
  • So my “schedule” is that I hope to have the first pass done by late June (or earlier), but the testing passes might run into July or August. BUT NOTE UPDATE: these changes may speed things up by a month or possibly more.
  • Updates as appropriate.

GOA7: November 2, 2022 stats

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022
As of November 2, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 774 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 96 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 170 views, 33 downloads


  • Overall report: 2,496 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 322 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 770 views, 132 downloads
The last month has seen relatively little use. Note re print books (where I’d love to see one or two sold–I think they’re really good, and get almost nothing over cost): some prices have gone up slightly because Lulu’s raised prices (and for non-US countries Lulu serves, exchange rates have generally worsened). I haven’t updates the overall webpage.

GOA8: Two questions that need feedback

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

Unlike the longer-term question of whether I should do the country book, these two questions need to be resolved before I start datagathering (on or about January 1), as they’re about gathering data. As always, you can comment here (for two weeks), or send email to, or reply to the tweets I’ll do on @goajwcc.

1. Should I rely on DOAJ for fee data in almost all cases?

That is: rather than going first to a journal’s website, looking around to see what it says about charges, and going to the DOAJ info only if I can’t figure things out directly, should I do it the other way around: Start with DOAJ, and unless the journal has had fee complications in the past (e.g., requiring membership. charging a variable fee, charging for submission or charging for both submission and processing), use the DOAJ data?

For GOA7, I wound up using 470 fees from DOAJ because I couldn’t determine the fee otherwise, and there were about 570 special cases. In those 570-odd cases, I would of course continue to base fees on the website itself.

I’ve seen very few cases where the DOAJ information contradicts what’s on the journal’s website, and relatively few journals seem to add complexity to their fees. If I make this change–which would save a fair amount of time–I’d guess a couple of dozen journals would wind up with slightly less accurate fee information (but that info would necessarily be more consistent with DOAJ). Since most complex cases are also relatively small journals with relatively low fees, I can’t imagine that discrepancies would change overall figures much.

I’m inclined to make this change, but I’m certainly open to your thoughts.

2. Should I look at DOAJ first for article counts?

As things stand, I look at a journal’s website first to do article counts–but if it’s not easy to determine the counts, I go to DOAJ and use that count if there is one and if it seems reasonable.

If I switched that, then for the journals that report metadata to DOAJ at the article level–by no means all of them. (DOAJ no longer reports that count on the homepage: my best guess is that about two-thirds of journals report at the article level.)

I would only use the DOAJ article count for a journal if it seemed to make sense–usually only for journals that have been around at least since 2021, where I can compare the DOAJ count with the GOA7 count. If in doubt, I’d try to count the articles directly.

This could save a lot of time (and as DOAJ grows and I get older and slower, time becomes more of an issue). I’m not sure whether it would decrease the accuracy of the figures–and, again, the figures would necessarily be closer to those in DOAJ.

[When nearly all DOAJ-listed journals provide article-level metadata and simple pricing, I’ll stop doing the GOA series, probably, if it doesn’t stop before then.]

Again, I’m inclined to make this change, but definitely open to persuasion.

GOA7: October 10, 2022 stats and a question

Monday, October 10th, 2022
As of October 10, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 736 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 90 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 152 views, 28 downloads


  • Overall report: 2,453 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 318 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 719 views, 123 downloads
The last month has seen healthy use of GOA7 PDF (roughly tripling) and modest use of the country book and dataset–and, still, no print books/

Toward GOA8: Country book/PDF?

I’ve raised this question on the GOAJ Twitter account (@GoajWcc), which is what you should be following for more frequent GOA updates and questions: Should I keep doing the Country book (which would once again  focus on the “long tail,” omitting the big publishers/groups)? It’s a few weeks work for me, and I find it interesting and worthwhile–but the very low usage (and zero book sales) make me wonder whether it’s worth the trouble. (It’s an optional part of the SPARC contract.) Please respond, here or on Twitter or at I don’t really need to decide until data gathering is done (prob. late spring 2023), but I should decide. And, of course, if there is no feedback, that is in itself a form of feedback/ All data and books have links at

GOA: Seven years of fee/cost increases

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

To start a new series of GOA comments here and on the GOAJwcc Twitter account, here’s a table that isn’t directly available in any GOA edition because it combines figures from all seven. To wit, the growth in average article fee (for articles in fee-charging journals), average article cost (which includes all DOAJ journals), and plausible total revenue.

Here’s the table:

Year Average fee Increase Cum Inc Revenue ($K) Increase Cum Inc Average cost Increase Cum Inc
2015 $1,192 $376,733 $665
2016 $1,407 18% 18% $419,887 11% 11% $803 21% 21%
2017 $1,557 11% 31% $493,242 17% 31% $876 9% 32%
2018 $1,569 1% 32% $649,415 32% 72% $913 4% 37%
2019 $1,673 7% 40% $873,263 34% 132% $1,023 12% 54%
2020 $1,848 10% 55% $1,277,135 46% 239% $1,203 18% 81%
2021 $1,997 8% 68% $1,752,551 37% 365% $1,374 14% 107%

Note that “Average fee” includes all journals that charge some sort of fee (usually APCs, but also submission and membership fees) while “Average cost” includes all articles in DOAJ-listed journals. The average is always weighted: all likely fees divided by all articles.

Note that the year-to-year increases in average fees are, while almost always higher than inflation, not typically outrageous. The huge numbers are the overall revenue increases, because most article growth in gold OA has been in fee-charging journals.

GOA7: September 8, 2021 stats–and a note on GOA8

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

As of September  8, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 258 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 53 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 126 views, 24 downloads


  • Overall report: 2,342 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 282 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 677 views, 112 downloads

Toward GOA8?

I’ve received from quite helpful feedback on how GOA7 is being used. I could use more (, and comments here will be open for two weeks). Of course, I’d love to see one or two purchases of the books: I believe they’re the best way to look at what the study is all about, and they’re essentially priced at production cost. All data and books have links at

Should there be a Gold Open Access 8?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

It’s mid-August; in another few weeks I’ll need to decide whether to propose (to SPARC) Gold Open Access 2017-2022 (GOA8). I’m inviting feedback, as it’s not an entirely easy decision. Feel free to comment (but those close after two weeks) or send me email at

The factors or questions involved:

Is it feasible?

Probably yes. As of today, DOAJ shows 18,135 journals, with around 31o removals and 940 additions during 2022. Of course, DOAJ could add thousands more journals between now and December 31, but I’m assuming that won’t happen–that there would wind up being around 19,000, including around 1,800 not in previous editions.

That’s probably too many to complete as rapidly as this year, when there were 17,270 journals of which around 2,200 were new and 16,620 could be fully analyzed, and data gathering was completed on May 6, but should be doable by the end of June or, at worst, mid-July. Massaging the data and preparing the books should take about as long as this year. So, barring health and other unforeseen issues, GOA8 should be complete by late summer, and possibly early summer.

Is it feasible for me to do?

Not automatically the same question. I’m getting older every year*, and my own and family health and other issues can be less predictable every year.

I worked faster this year than last, partly because of better familiarity with datasets, partly because of  tools that worked well. I don’t anticipate a similar improvement next year, but not necessarily any big slowdown either. Assuming, of course, my mind and body keep functioning fairly well…

During the first half of each year, I devote as much time to the GOA project as I can without disrupting all the other aspects of life–chores, shopping, daily walks, weekly hikes, evening TV and reading. My guess is that I average about 20-25 hours a week of data gathering during that time**.

Is it worthwhile?

Ah, there’s the question. I find it interesting, but only if it’s both useful and being used. I’d earlier suggested that one sign that people found my datagathering and analysis worthwhile might be a few of them buying the nominally-priced books. On that basis, I should stop: Nobody (but me) has purchased any copies of any GOA6 or GOA7 book (there were two sales for GOA5).

As for the free PDF versions, so far there have been about 220 downloads of GOA7 and about 45 of the country book. (GOA6, to date, has about 2,000 downloads, and about 270 of the country book. Back in the good old days, GOA3 and GOA4 each had more than 4,600 PDF downloads.)

The dataset shows 19 downloads and 91 views to date; I think only the download figure means much. GOA6 has 106 downloads so far.

OK, these are early days, but those are discouraging figures.

Basically: if it’s not worthwhile to other people, then it’s not worthwhile to me. So I could use some feedback.

Will SPARC keep sponsoring it?

That’s a separate question, one that won’t arise until I decide whether to propose another edition.

Your thoughts?


*Don’t we all? In my case, I’ll turn 77 in mid-September. My physical health is, I believe, no worse than it was a year ago and probably better than two years ago. My mental health? Not for me to say.

**So what do I do with those 20-25 hours a week during the latter part of the year? The last two or three years, I did more book reading–five or six books a month instead of the two or three a month I average while working on GOA–and spent more time watching TV, catching up on never-seen series or extras for series/movies we own; we only watch one show a night (and one movie a weekend), and there are shows we don’t both want to see. Last year, for example, I watched all of Schitt’s Creek. Oh, and I probably spent WAY too much time on Twitter and Facebook. This year has been different: in an effort to improve/retain mental flexibility, I picked up a collection of NYT Sunday crossword puzzles and have been doing one a day–and enjoying it enormously, while getting better at it. Also reading a lot more books and spending a little more time on social media–but not, at least so far, watching more TV. Not that y’all need to know this.

GOA7: August 3 statistics update

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022
As of August 3, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 178 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 15 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 84 views, 16 downloads


  • Overall report: 1,946 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 239 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 638 views, 106 downloads

GOA7: Usage Statistics

Friday, July 1st, 2022
As of July 1, 2022, as far as I can tell:


  • Overall report: 115 PDF copies (no books)
  • Countries: 8 PDF copies (no books)
  • Dataset: 57 views, 11 downloads


  • Overall report: 1,928 PDF copies (no books other than my copy)
  • Countries: 223 PDF (no books)
  • Dataset: 602 views, 104 downloads