Linguistics, OA, $430 and $1,400–and a bit about The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014

November 5th, 2015

I thought it might be interesting to glance at some existing gold OA journals at least partly devoted to linguistics in light of editorial goings-on at a notable subscription “hybrid” journal in the field.

This is a very incomplete group: it’s only journals I’d grouped into Language & Literature and that showed “linguis” somewhere within the DOAJ record (usually in the subject or keyword fields). That omits journals partly devoted to linguistics that fell into any number of other primary subject areas such as anthropology. But it’s a start…

The Basic Numbers

This group of journals consists of 275 journals (including only those graded “A” and “B” in The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014). The journals published 5,954 articles in 2011; 6,725 in 2012; 6,973 in 2013; and a slight drop to 6,415 in 2014.

Article Processing Charges

Twelve of the 275 journals have article processing charges; the remaining 264 are funded through other means.

Those twelve journals did publish more articles per journal than the others: in total, 1,007 in 2011; 1,298 in 2012; 1,418 in 2013; and 1,493 in 2014.

APCs range from $37 to $600, but only one journal charged more than $400 and only three charged more than $300. (The only fee-charging journal with more than 200 articles in 2014 charged $40.)

The maximum paid for APCs in the twelve fee-charging journals in 2014 was $364,146; that comes out to a weighted average of $244 per article. (The average for all articles in these journals is $56.76.)

Grades and Fees

Of the 263 no-fee journals, 250 don’t have any obvious problems. Of the thirteen graded B, two have problematic English; three have garish sites or other site problems; one features a questionable impact factor; six have minimal information; one had other issues.

Of the dozen fee-charging journals, seven don’t have obvious problems. Of the five graded B (obviously a much higher percentage than for no-fee journals), one has a questionable impact factor and four make questionable claims–actually, the same questionable claim in all four cases: they claim to be Canadian but show no indication of significant Canadian editorial involvement.

Anyway…that’s a little information about a few existing gold OA journals that are at least partially devoted to linguistics.

The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014: Language and Literature

Just a few notes in addition to what’s in the excerpted version–hoping this might encourage a few people and libraries to buy the paperback or site-licensed PDF, or find ways to help me continue this research.

  • Most journals in this field are small, even by the standards of humanities and social sciences: 350 published 18 articles or fewer in 2014, as compared to 91 with 19 to 30 articles, 51 with 31 to 50 articles, 24 with 51 to 120 articles…and eight journals with more than 120 articles in 2014. (Seven of those eight journals charge APCs–but the one that doesn’t published one-quarter of all the articles in the big eight journals.)
  • Journals in 55 countries published articles in 2014. Only one country–Brazil–accounted for 1,000 or more articles. United States and Canada followed (with more than 900 articles each–although that includes the Canadian journals that aren’t very Canadian). Spain was the only other country with more than 660 articles.

As always, there’s more in the book.

Quick status report: as of this morning (November 5, 2015):

  • At least 2,306 downloads of the Cites & Insights issue have happened
  • Seven copies of the book have been purchased, in addition to my own copy: Six paperback, one PDF ebook. That’s one copy for every three hundred downloads. [Note added November 6, 2015: PDF ebook sales have now doubled–another copy was purchased. Total sales are still single-digit, but it’s progress.]




Why I’m not joining AAAS (a silly little post)

November 4th, 2015

Once in a while–maybe twice a year, and only since we moved to Livermore–I get a shrink-wrapped copy of Science that’s perhaps a month old, with an envelope enclosed inviting me to join AAAS for the super-low introductory price of $99. (Note that “join AAAS” is pretty much synonymous with “subscribe to Science,” and the discount seems to be honoring my nonexistent status as a scientist.)

Wonder why this has only happened since we moved to Livermore? I’m sure it has nothing to do with being in a small city of 85,000 people that includes two major labs–Lawrence Livermore and Sandia–employing more than 10,000 scientists and support staff between them. Maybe it’s purely coincidental.

Anyway, it happened again this week. After looking at the offer, I recycled it…and kept the magazine to read. (You can call Science a journal if you wish; to me, it comes off as a serious science-oriented magazine that happens to include a few peer-reviewed papers.)

I recycle the offers for two reasons:

  • It offends me that I’m offered Science for $99, with a renewal price that wouldn’t be higher than $153 (and probably lower), while if my library wants to subscribe to the print edition, it will cost them $1,282. I don’t know of very many magazines with the effrontery to charge a library nearly nine times as much for a print magazine as they charge an individual, although for scholarly journals that may be typical. Or not.
  • The less serious reason: I love magazines. I love books. I love some TV and movies. I love doing stuff on the computer. If I took Science with its weekly schedule and fairly meaty content, I’d have to stop taking at least half of the other magazines I read or give up on books altogether. Not gonna happen. (If anyone wonders why I don’t subscribe to The New Yorker, just reread this bullet. Also one reason I didn’t renew The Economist, although in that case going from free-for-airline miles to $100 or so made the decision easy.)

No deeper message. Just a quick note.


Cites & Insights 15 now available in paperback

November 3rd, 2015

Cites & Insights 15: 2015 is now available as a 354-page 8.5″x11″ paperback, combining all eleven issues plus indices (exclusive to the book).

As usual, the price is $45.00 (of which roughly half goes to support Cites & Insights).

This year is especially strong on open access (including the most complete survey ever done of gold OA activity) but also includes major essays on the Google Book Project, books, social networks, fair use and more.

(If you buy it today or tomorrow, you can get free shipping by using oupon code USMAIL11–capitals do count and the last two characters are ones. The coupon code is good through November 4, 2015.)

As close as I’ll get to NaNoWriMo

November 2nd, 2015

Or, as I like to think of it, the Misspelled Robin Williams Memorial process…

Anyway, you could think of the December 2015 Cites & Insights as my NaNoWriMo with just tiny little deviations. After all, it is novel-length (as defined by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, SFWA, as far as I know the only list of lengths for this sort of thing: if it’s over 40,000 words, it’s a novel), and it’s appearing in November.

The only little tiny deviations from NaNooNaNooNoWriMo:

  • The issue isn’t quite 50,000 words long–it’s 48,012.
  • It’s nonfiction.
  • Although it appears in November, I wrote it in October, and OctNonWriMo doesn’t exist. Yet.
  • A large portion of it isn’t my writing, it’s excerpts from other writing. (How large a portion? To my surprise, apparently less than half–deleting every quoted paragraph that’s not quoting me brings the word count down to 26,851 words.)

But hey, other than those four tiny quibbles…

In any case, it’s as close as I’m ever likely to get to NaNoWriMo.

Cites & Insights 15:11 (December 2015) available

November 2nd, 2015

The December 2015 issue of Cites & Insights (15:11) is now available for downloading at

This issue is 58 pages long. If you plan to read it online or on an ereader (ebook, tablet, whatever), you may prefer the single-column 6″ x 9″ edition, 111 pages long, at

This issue contains one essay:

Intersections: Ethics and Access 2015  pp. 1-58

No weird old tricks for reducing belly fat, but 102 items worth reading in a baker’s dozen of subtopics related to ethics and access (open and otherwise)–and #25 may astonish you! Or not.

No, it’s really not a listicle–otherwise I’d have to find 102 ads and free (or plagiarized) illustrations. It’s a bigger-than-usual roundup, with just a little humor (and a few exclamation points–and one interrobang).


Gold OA: the basis for going on (2 of 2)

October 27th, 2015

I’ll keep this one relatively short, as it’s about more direct appreciation of the gold OA research: namely, money. I’ve already responded to two people who might, conceivably, have money available for this research (neither one even suggested that it could happen), giving the amount I’d want–so I might as well be up-front and provide the options here.

1. The Donations + Purchases Route: Milestones

  • $1,500 total: the 2011-2014 spreadsheet, anonymized slightly, goes up on figshare.
  • $2,500 total: I give serious thought to renewing the project for 2015 data, using DOAJ’s journal list as of the first week of 2016.
  • $5,000 total: I’d definitely do the 2011-2015 version and make the spreadsheet available on figshare.

That total includes donations to Cites & Insights since the 2011-2014 project was announced and net proceeds from sales of all of my self-published books since September 1, 2015 (and, for that matter, the honorarium portion of expenses-paid speaking engagements related to this work, but I’m not holding my breath for any of those).

As previously noted, through right now, we’re more than one-third of the way but less than halfway to the first milestone.

(If the second milestone isn’t reached by April 2016, I don’t think this would happen–I’d have moved on to other things by then.)

2. Direct Grant Funding or Consulting Contract: Annual Costs

This is the set of numbers I sent back to two interested parties. It would cover another round of research, including rechecking APC status and amount for all listed journals, tweaking the grading criteria slightly, writing up the research, and making the anonymized spreadsheet available on figshare and the PDF version of the results available for free. (The paperback version would be priced at very close to production costs, quite probably less than $10.)

My price would be, at minimum, $0.50 per journal in DOAJ in the first week of 2016, plus $1,000 for the analysis/writeup phase. Right now, that would come to about $6,332.

I’d be delighted to discuss this with any possible agency or agencies (actually, there’s one exception–not the one in Ohio–but I don’t think that’s likely to be an issue). If the money was secure before 2016, I could do some of the APC/site rechecking before 2016. If more discussion and tweaks are desired, the price might be higher.

Obviously, the sponsor(s) would or could have their names on the results or could even handle distribution.

3. Part-time Consulting Research

I believe this project will require at least 500 to 600 hours to do properly, so if somebody wanted to hire me as a quarter-time consulting researcher to carry on this project (for one or more years), I’d certainly consider it. (I’m assuming that nobody hiring a consultant or researcher in California pays less than $26,000/year, esp. since California minimum wage is likely to be $30,000 before too long.)

Obviously, I’d expect to discuss possible expansions and tweaks, and the agency could release the report under its name, with me credited somewhere.

Oh, one more thing:

4. Redoing the Beall’s Lists Investigation

That would cost a lot of money because it’s neither interesting nor fun nor, I believe, especially useful. If someone was determined, I’d consider it for $1 per journal within Beall’s lists plus $2,000 for analysis and writeup–that is, a minimum of $13,000 (and going up all the time!). But I’d probably turn it down even then: life really is too short.

[Oh, by the way: if you’re interested in funding this research, contact me at]

Gold OA: The basis for going on (1 of 2)

October 27th, 2015

At this point–seven weeks after The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014 was published–it seems like a good time to discuss the issues surrounding possible continuation of this full-survey research for another year (that is, covering 2015, done in 2016).

Part 2 will deal with finances: what it would take to make it happen.

This part deals with a related question: Since I’m not depending on this revenue to keep meals on the table or a roof over our heads, why do I need any revenue for it at all?

[No, nobody’s said that quite so flatly. Still: every time somebody says “there’s something wrong with charging for a writeup about open access or the research it took to do that writeup, because OA’s supposed to be free,” or something of the sort–which has happened every time I or ALA (or MIT) has published something on OA that carries a price–once I calm down, I turn it into the question above.]

Turns out, this is a philosophical question of sorts: Namely, what motivates me to do anything (other than lie around the house, do some housework, read books, watch TV, go for walks and like that)?

That question’s been clarified in my own mind over the years since it’s become clear that Cites & Insights itself is unlikely to attract significant contributions (the total has never reached the high three figures in a year, much less four figures). Here’s how I’ve worked it out in my own head, although I’m sure it’s an incomplete model.

I see four factors: Fun, Interest, Worth/Usefulness/Effectiveness, and Appreciation. Two are internal, two external.


I do some essays in Cites & Insights because they’re fun or amusing to me. Certainly true of The Back, The Middle, most Media essays (esp. old movies). That’s part of why I started looking at liblogging, library blogging and library slogans (and, for that matter, library use of social media): it was fun.

“Fun” and “interesting” can overlap in slightly unpredictable ways. It was, initially, fun to unveil the realities behind Beall’s lists, and in some ways it’s been fun to see how well Chrome/Google does or does not translate non-English journal websites (and to appreciate some of the blank verse generated by some translations).


I have lots of interests, and I’ll pursue an interest to what might possibly be considered extremes–I’m a completist in some areas. It has certainly been interesting to examine the Gold OA landscape in detail, and once I got well into it I realized that I wanted to see it through.

Interest certainly explains some ongoing features in Cites & Insights. I don’t find copyright discussions particularly amusing, but they’re interesting, just as one example.

But I have lots of interests, and could readily cultivate more. And time eventually does become a limiting factor. At this point, I don’t expect to live for more than 30 years or so–possibly quite a bit less, probably not much more. (For a long time, I’d pegged 93 as my desirable stopping point; I’ve moved that to 98–which gives me 28 more years–as long as I’m im good mental and reasonable physical health. I have no desire to live to 103 or 108 or some extreme old age–but ask me again 20 years from now, I suppose.) There are a lot of books I’d like to read and quite a few I wouldn’t mind rereading; there are a lot of movies I want to watch; I read and enjoy quite a few magazines (and one daily “paper”); there’s a fair amount of TV I enjoy watching (although probably very little by most people’s standards); lots of music to pay attention to; and… and… and…

So at a certain point I have to balance competing interests, especially since time is finite and some significant portion of it is taken up with household maintenance, family life, sleep (yes, I get 7.5 to 8 hours a day; no, I’m not willing to reduce that much), vacations, exercise and long walks/hikes, etc…

Balance isn’t much of an issue when I’m choosing a book that may take 4-5 hours to read or an essay that may take 5-10 hours to write. It’s a lot more of an issue when I’m contemplating a project that would probably take 500 to 600 hours over the course of six or seven months.

Which is to say: I find the ongoing story of gold OA interesting. Do I find it interesting enough to give up 500-600 hours per year of other stuff? Which brings us to:


When something’s fun and not too time-consuming, this and the final factor don’t come into play.

When it’s a question of balance and which projects are worth starting or continuing, this and the final factor definitely do come into play.

To wit: what is this worth (and how useful is it) to me and other people?

(Yes, this and the final factor overlap a lot. That’s how life is.)

I look at readership, citations, and things like that as indications of worth and usefulness. If an issue of C&I is only read 200 times over the course of three months, it apparently wasn’t found to be worthwhile or useful; if it’s read 2,000 times over three months, it apparently was worthwhile or useful.

Of course, worth can also have a financial aspect, which gets more into appreciation: do people find something sufficiently useful or worthwhile to pay for it?

I recognized that my series of books on liblogging had ceased to be worthwhile/useful about a year too late, when sales declined to pretty much nothing and readership for related C&I issues declined substantially. But I did eventually recognize it and stopped doing the series. (A ten-year recap might or might not happen; if it does, it will be at a “this might be fun/interesting” level, not a “people might be willing to buy this” level–there wouldn’t be a book.)

There have been other themes in Cites & Insights that have disappeared because it appeared that people didn’t find them useful or worthwhile. Indeed, I stopped doing individual HTML essays because there didn’t seem to be much demand for them (and it was clear nobody found them worthwhile enough to pay for) and they were never interesting or fun to do–while the single-column version of C&I has proven to be useful enough to keep doing.

As to effectiveness: that’s so hard to measure that I generally ignore it–but I do have to mention it within this discussion.

So how does the OA research fall on the interesting/worthwhile axis?

Journal Readership

Looking at OA-related issues of Cites & Insights over the past two years, including research-based ones and others, I find the following download numbers through this morning at 5:30 a.m. (but missing most of the last day of each month):

  • April 2014 (“The Sad Case of Jeffrey Beall”): 10,576, one of the highest total downloads figures ever — but in terms of effectiveness, I look at how often the lists continue to be used as the basis for policy or, sigh, “research,” and have to wonder whether there’s been any real effect at all.
  • May 2014 (“The So-Called Sting”): 4,126 downloads, a high figure.
  • July 2014 (“Journals, ‘Journals’ and Wannabes”): 5,121–a high figure, and since this was a full-issue essay, I can reasonably assume that the readership was entirely related to this essay.
  • August 2014 (“Access and Ethics 3”): 1,643, a decent-but-not-great figure.
  • October/November 2014 (“Journals and ‘Journals’: Taking a Deeper Look”): 1,704, another decent-but-not-great figure.
  • December 2014 (…Part 2): 1,669, another decent-but-not-great figure.
  • January 2015 (“The Third Half”): 2,783, a good solid figure, especially since it represents less than a year.
  • March 2015 (“One More Chunk of DOAJ”): 2,281, a good solid figure, but in this case the essay taking up most of the issue–“Books, E and P, 2014”–probably accounts for much of that, since that’s always been a hot topic.
  • April 2015 (“The Economics of Open Access”): 2,476, a good solid figure–and this one’s a single-essay issue.
  • June 2015 (“Who Needs Open Access Anyway?”): 1,595, a decent figure for five months.
  • July 2015 (“Thinking About Libraries and Access, Take 2”): 839 downloads–and this one’s a little disappointing because that essay was my own take on/beliefs about OA. This suggests that people are a lot less interested in what I think than in what I’ve found out through research. That’s OK, of course…but…
  • October 2015 (“The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014”): 2,169 downloads in the first seven weeks or so, which I regard as very good numbers, especially for the first couple of months.



This shows up in citations elsewhere, tweets and the like, but also in donations and sales (and, heck, speaking invitations–one of the coins of the realm, but there haven’t been any in a couple of years–certainly none related to this research).

When it comes to citations, I don’t have any real complaints; ditto tweets.

As far as donations: still in the low three digits, and that was mostly when I was offering a free ebook and production-priced paperback. None since the project was completed (other than two very small recurring donations that are for C&I, not OA research.)

As for sales…

Book Purchases

For the same period–the books appeared a couple of days before the October 2015 issue did–here’s what I show, not including my own copy: Seven paperback copies, one site-licensed PDF ebook. Total: Eight copies.

In other words, not even one-half of one percent of those who’ve downloaded the October 2015 issue have, so far, found the research sufficiently worthwhile to buy the full story.

Of course, there could be dozens, nay, hundreds of orders just waiting to go to Amazon or Ingram.

So where does this leave me? Wondering whether the effectiveness and demonstrated worth is enough to justify doing it again.

(If you’re wondering, I’d say total revenue counted toward this project–including all donations and all self-published book sales of any sort since September 1, 2015–is more than one-third of the way, but considerably less than halfway, toward being enough to make the anonymized spreadsheet available on figshare. It’s a bit more than one-fifth of the way toward making me think seriously about doing it again.)

Which brings us to Part 2, later today or maybe another day.



Gold OA: How many no-fee articles?

October 26th, 2015

Earlier this year, in a comment stream on a blog post about open access and fees, one commenter (from the commercial journal field) asked whether there were any actual numbers on how many articles were published in gold OA journals that don’t charge APCs or other author-side fees.

At the time, another commenter responded with my figures from the partial study of gold OA journals, the one that didn’t include journals without English-language interfaces. The total from 2012 through 2014 was around 470,000 articles.

The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014 includes graphs showing free and paid article counts overall and for each segment and subject, and shows overall article counts and the percentage of free articles, making it easy to calculate approximate counts, but I didn’t actually include the figures that create the graphs; that would have been redundant and I was trying to keep the book as short as possible. And the excerpted version in Cites & Insights didn’t include graphs at all.

So, for what it’s worth, here are some key figures for articles published in serious gold OA journals (those listed in DOAJ ) and graded A or B in my study) that do not charge APCs or other author-side fees.


Among the DOAJ journals included in The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014 (grades A & B), 7,048 did not charge APCs. Those journals published 177,855 articles in 2011, 198,552 articles in 2012, 206,561 articles in 2013 and 206,588 in 2014. That’s a total of 789,556 articles during the four-year period in serious gold OA journals without author-side fees.

Biology and Medicine

For this segment, there were 57,627 articles in 2011, 63,411 in 2012, 64,735 in 2013 and 66,057 in 2014, for a total of 251,830 articles during the four-year period in serious gold OA journals without author-side fees.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Serious gold OA journals without APCs or other author-side fees in this segment published 52,892 articles in 2011; 59,593 in 2012; 64,637 in 2013; and 65,088 in 2014, for a total of 242,210 articles during the four-year period.

Humanities and Social Sciences

Serious gold OA journals without APCs or other author-side fees in this segment published 67,350 articles in 2011; 75,556 in 2012; 77,189 in 2013; and 75.443 in 2014, for a total of 295,538 articles during the four-year period.

Surprised that there were more no-fee articles in the humanities and social sciences than in either biomed or STEM? You shouldn’t be.

By the way, today (Monday, October 26, 2015) is the last day to get 30% off this or any other Lulu books using coupon code OCTFLASH30.

30% sale extended through October 26

October 23rd, 2015

Lulu rarely offers a 30% discount. (For some of my books, that means Lulu’s covering the entire cost of production!)

It’s even rarer for Lulu to offer a flash sale of such magnitude and then extend it.

But that’s what they’ve done: coupon code OCTFLASH30 gets 30% off Lulu print books (one order per customer but as many books as you want in that order) through Monday, October 26, 2015.

Instead of deleting yesterday’s one-day post about the sale, I’ve modified it to reflect the longer term (and to thank the person or persons who not only saved $18 by buying The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014 but saved $13.50 each by buying the 2013 and 2014 paperback annual editions of Cites & Insights, including indexes).

The original post is here; what you specifically need to know is coupon code OCTFLASH30 (capitalization does matter!) and that it’s a great time to buy the new book or the annual volumes. (Yes, all net revenues, including those from C&I volumes, will count toward monetary targets for freeing the 2011-2014 data and continuing my OA research.)

If you want to browse all of my currently available Lulu books (including Your Library Is…, a charming little book that’s fairly cheap in any case), go to my Lulu storefront, which also includes the family history books my wife’s written.

Save $18 on The Gold OA Landscape, through 10/26: OCTFLASH30

October 22nd, 2015

Lulu’s having a one-day 30% sale on print books: just use the coupon code


It’s only good today, October 22, 2015 (I’ll delete this post tomorrow).

Update Friday, October 23: To my considerable surprise–this is unusual for such a large discount–Lulu’s extended the 30% sale through Monday, October 26.

That brings The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014, paperback version, down to $42–less than you’d pay at Amazon.

You can buy any number of print books in a single order and get the same 30% discount.

Note that coupon codes are case-sensitive.

Addendum Friday, October 23: I’m delighted to see one sale of The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014 yesterday, together with one sale each of the 2013 and 2014 annual paperback compilations of Cites & Insights. If that was all a single purchase, that’s great too. (Yes, I’ll count the net revenue from those purchases, typically $23 to $27 depending on the size of the volume, toward revenue goals for continuing OA research.) At sale prices, the annual paperbacks–which include mediocre indexes and, in most cases, spectacular wraparound photographic covers–cost $31.50 each.)