Science fiction magazines: the “big three” all 6 BIG issues a year

December 23rd, 2016

I’ve subscribed to all three of the “big three” of science fiction print magazines for a long time–e.g., I’ve read every issue of Asimov’s, which is in its 40th year, and both Analog and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF) even longer.

I put “big three” in scare quotes because none of them have large circulations. (There are other SF magazines, some of them probably in print, but these are the three with long histories.)

A couple of years ago, F&SF switched from monthly issues to bimonthly (that is, six times a year), while making each issue much fatter: the postage costs were killing them financially. Meanwhile, both of the others (which are both published by Dell, also home to two mystery magazines) went to slightly larger but fewer pages–and to 10 issues per year, two of them double-thickness.

Now the shift is complete: as of January-February 2017, all three magazines publish six double issues per year. (They’re double issues so they don’t have to double the length of outstanding subscriptions.)

Initially, I thought the results meant less fiction. Now, I think it may mean more, as fewer pages are devoted to columns, editorials and overhead. So, for example:

  • The November/December 2016 F&SF has four novellas and seven short stories in addition to its two book review columns and film column.
  • The January/February 2017 Asimov’s has one novella, four novelettes and seven short stories plus poetry, a book review column, and three other editorials and columns.
  • The January/February 2017 Analog has one novella, four novelettes and eleven short and short-short stories plus a fact article, book reviews, poetry and several columns.

That’s a lot of text–novellas are 17,501 to 40,000 words while novelettes are 7,500 to 17,500 words.

It felt like I was getting at least a fairly long novel’s worth of reading in each issue. A quick scan and crude OCR of page pairs from each of those issues bears that out. F&SF has smaller pages and a little more leading, but more pages: 256 pages, which seem to average about 370-400 words. In other words, with six pages of overhead an issue could have up to 100,000 words; I’d guess the average is 90,000 or more (given that four novellas alone are at least 70,000 words!). The other two appear to have 650 words per page (roughly), and run 208 pages; given 8 pages of overhead, an issue could have 130,000 words or so, and I’d guess these issues run on the order of 100,000 words.

(Those numbers could all be seriously off–this was just one pair of pages scanned using Canon’s built-in OCR routines. Let’s just say that each double issue is probably between 75,000 and 130,000 words, and quite possibly 100,000 words or more–in any case, at least as long as a novel.)

Now, if I could keep up with them…while still reading actual novels. I wonder how long they’ll survive in these book/zine forms?

 

*British* libraries [may be] dying/in decline

December 22nd, 2016

I’ve seen half a dozen U.S. library site links already to this story in The Guardian–and feel it’s important to say that the facts (assuming they are facts) in the story relate to British public libraries. It’s a sad story there (and I regard the “combine libraries and churches” solution as a little strange, but…I’m not British), but it has nothing, zero, nada, zilch to do with American public libraries.

Worth noting because The Guardian publishes so much online stuff aimed at and appearing to speak authoritatively about American issues. No reason a British paper should qualify a headline with “British,” but readers should be aware of context. (And posting this because, so far, the number of American posts/tweets/status updates linking to the story and providing that context is zero.)

Hybrid OA: 2-3% of gold OA?

December 16th, 2016

Repeating what I just posted on Google+:

If this article http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1751157716301523 is even close to being right–and I have no reason to doubt it–there’s finally a good figure for how much we undercount OA by omitting hybrid: 2.8%–for 2013, 13,994 hybrid as compared to 493,475 gold (in DOAJ journals, that is, not including 188,000-odd in “gray” OA journals: include those and hybrid’s just barely over 2%: 13,994 compared to more than 682,000).

So: next time somebody says “but you’re not counting hybrid articles,” a reasonable rejoinder might be “So?”–and, of course, a link to this [fully available] article.

And a tip of the hat to Valerie Hawkins for pointing out the article…

Cites & Insights v. 16 available as paperback–and a sale!

December 16th, 2016


The paperback edition of Cites & Insights 16, 2016, is now available. The best way to get it is from the Cites & Insights Annual Volumes page.

This is a relatively slender volume, not surprisingly given the two major research projects in 2016 and various medical issues. It’s also the final 8.5″ x 11″ edition, since Cites & Insights is now published in single-column 6″ x 9″ form.

The cover is taken from the same photograph (Linda Driver’s photo taken in Papeete, Tahiti) as was used for the cover of Balanced Libraries–but in addition to being larger, this version turns out to be crisper and with better color balance. I don’t know whether that’s an improvement in scanning (as I’ve gone through two or three multifunction printers since 2007) or in Paint.net’s current version over whatever I was using in 2007.

Temporary (?) Reduction on All C&I Annual Prices

From now until at least the end of January 2017, prices for all eleven Cites & Insights annual volumes have been reduced to $35 (each, not all 11!).

For each volume ordered between now and January 31, 2017, I’ll extend that price for another month, up through December 2017 if there are 11 sales.

When I remember, I’ll also post Lulu sales codes as new posts.

Note: I have modified the cover on Volume 11 so that the title is now readable on the spine (changed the background to the same lighter color as the back cover and enlarged the type).

Purchase of C&I Annuals helps to support Cites & Insights, and it’s the only way to get the annual indices. In a couple of cases, the Annuals also have special issues that are no longer available online.

Adding a new category for W.a.R. posts

December 11th, 2016

I’ve just added an Important New Category for posts that offer my superior wisdom to those who have thought about something on their own, especially when those people lacking The Truth are women.

The new category is “Actually…”

Check back periodically to catch up on “Actually…” posts.

If I behave as I believe is appropriate, checking back once a month year decade should be sufficient.

[Updated a bit later: The real reason for the category and this post is to remind me when I’m on the verge of something like mansplaining, that it’s almost always a bad and pointless idea.]

Cites & Insights Number 200 available

December 2nd, 2016

A very special Cites & Insights, Volume 17, Issue 1, whole number 200, is now available for downloading at http://cical.info/civ17i1.pdf (or at http://citesandinsights.info/civ17i1.pdf if you prefer).

The 72-page 6″ x 9″ issue is a monograph:

Gray OA 2012-2016: Open Access Journals Beyond DOAJ

It’s the result of several months of investigation into the rest of gold OA, beyond “serious gold OA” (journals in DOAJ). I liken it to making brandy out of sour grapes, since it relies on Beall’s lists as the most complete known lists of “other” OA publishers and journals [journals that are also in DOAJ–a few hundred–aren’t included in the monograph].

This monograph is not available in paperback form; at 72 pages (actually 68 + front matter) it just didn’t make sense. It looks at — gulp — more than 18,900 journals and “journals,” of which 7,743 appear to have published at least one article between 1/1/2012 and 6/30/2016–and, if you’re familiar with a certain article claiming 420,000 “predatory” articles in 2014 [Chapter 4 of this monograph deals with that paper], the maximum number of articles for 2014 appears to be 255,183–but only 113,996 of these were in journals on the lists at the time the article was done, and only 29,947 in journals where a legitimate case against the journal or publisher had been made.

It doesn’t look like a typical issue (the first page is a book title page but with the C&I banner at the bottom of the page) and it’s distinctly not typical: more effort went into this issue than into a year’s worth of typical issues.

Gold Open Access 2011-2015: November update

November 30th, 2016

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It’s November 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: Two copies of GOAJ itself sold. So far, none of the others (I recommend the one pictured here).
  • Dataset: 952  views (irrelevant), 439 downloads (relevant).
  • GOAJ: 40 Lulu copies, 8,480* copies from my site: total 8,520.
  • Subjects: 17 Lulu copies, 194* other copies, 211 total.
  • Countries: 8 Lulu copies, 1,018* other copies, 1,026 total.
  • C&I: To date, 1,139* copies of the excerpted GOAJ version (16.5) and 3,925* copies of “APCLand and OAWorld” (16.4.)

As a sidenote, the most downloaded issue of Cites & Insights for the period since October 2012** is issue 14.4, with 15,680 copies, half again as many as the second most downloaded. The primary essay is The Sad Case of Jeffrey Beall. Unfortunately, more recent and probably more important related commentaries have not reached anywhere that audience…and it’s clear that many librarians and even more scholars take Beall’s word (typically offered without a shred of evidence) as gospel. [Look to the third essay in the hyperlinked issue–the one with “Trust Me” in the title.]

**The most downloaded C&I will probably always be the Library 2,0 and “Library 2.0” essay, with nearly 34,000 downloads before I added a speed bump.

Coming soon–probably next week, possibly late this week: Gray Open Access Journals 2012-2016: Gold OA Beyond DOAJ, which will appear as Cites & Insights 17.1 and may or may not be available as a slender paperback.

*Note added 12/12/16: These numbers do not include November 13-30, 2016; downloads during that period, almost certainly in the high hundreds for GOAJ, are simply missing.

If you can’t get to Cites & Insights…

November 29th, 2016

…try the alternate domain, cical.info

http://cical.info should yield the C&I home page;

http://cical.info/civ16i8.pdf should yield issue 16:8, etc.

Cites & Insights Nov/Dec 2016 (16:9) available

November 4th, 2016

The November/December 2016 issue of Cites & Insights [16:9] is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ16i9.pdf

It’s a stub issue, two pages long, for reasons explained in the single essay: The Front: Big Change Coming.

It is not the end of C&I. As the essay explains, there will be at least one more issue (and quite possibly several or many more after that).

If you read C&I on paper, you will most definitely want to read this issue. It won’t take long (to download or to read).

For those who read C&I online or on an e-device, you may prefer the four-page single-column 6″ x 9″ version at http://citesandinsights.info/civ16on.pdf

Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: October update

October 31st, 2016

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It’s October 31–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: Yay! Two copies of GOAJ itself sold. So far, none of the others (I recommend the one pictured here).
  • Dataset: 914 views, 433 downloads:.
  • GOAJ: 39 Lulu copies, 8,040 copies from my site: total 8,079. That’s more than 8,000 copies even missing around 3% (those downloaded between 5:30 a.m. and midnight on the last day of each month).
  • Subjects: 17 Lulu copies, 190 other copies, 207 total.
  • Countries: 8 Lulu copies, 999 other copies, 1,007 total.
  • C&I: To date, 1,101 copies of the excerpted GOAJ version (16.5) and 3,874 copies of “APCLand and OAWorld” (16.4.)

So that’s more than nine thousand copies of the full or excerpted report…

As a sidenote, the most downloaded issue of Cites & Insights for the period since October 2012* is issue 14.4, with 15,499 copies, half again as many as the second most downloaded. The primary essay is The Sad Case of Jeffrey Beall. Unfortunately, more recent and probably more important related commentaries have not reached anywhere that audience…and it’s clear that many librarians and even more scholars take Beall’s word (typically offered without a shred of evidence) as gospel. [Look to the third essay in the hyperlinked issue–the one with “Trust Me” in the title.]

*The most downloaded C&I will probably always be the Library 2,0 and “Library 2.0” essay, with nearly 34,000 downloads before I added a speed bump.