Thinking About Effectiveness

Posted in Cites & Insights, open access on June 29th, 2014

It’s been roughly three weeks since “Journals, ‘Journals’ and Wannabes: Investigating the List” (Cites & Insights 14:7, July 2014) appeared.

Thanks largely to those who tweeted and retweeted items about it or even blogged about it (you know who you are, and thanks), it’s had reasonably good readership so far: just under 1,400 copies downloaded as of the last time I looked.

That’s not great–less than half the first-month downloads for “Ethics and Access 1: The Sad Case of Jeffrey Beall” (April 2014), although I suppose people could have been hot to read “Forecasts and Futurism” in that issue, but more than the first-month downloads for “Ethics and Access 2: The So-Called Sting” (May 2014, accompanied by “Future Libraries: A Roundup”).

In case it’s not obvious, the July issue was a lot of work, so much so that it can only be justified by whim. Still, I believe the results made it at least partly worthwhile–specifically, the finding (as I interpret it) that most of the vast number of “journals” on Beall’s lists aren’t really predatory because either they don’t actually exist or because authors who are paying attention wouldn’t submit papers to them anyway. Oh, and the perhaps-more-important finding that the casual assumption, which I’ve seen stated by people who should know better, that most OA journals are sketchy isn’t supported by any facts in evidence, and certainly not by Beall’s list.

So what?

There’s the question. The issue’s been downloaded. I’ll assume it’s been read (never quite a safe assumption, but…)

Will it have any medium-term or long-term impact?

Will people view Gold OA journals a little less cynically?

Will people regard Beall’s efforts as the hobby (or hobbyhorse) they are rather than as indictments of OA in general?

I don’t have answers. It is, of course, awfully early to say. I’m not sure how I would find answers.

But it feels like an important question.

Thoughts?

50 Movie Gunslinger Classics Disc 9

Posted in Movies and TV on June 26th, 2014

Law Men, 1944, b&w. Lambert Hillyer (dir.), Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Jan Wiley, Kirby Grant, Robert Frazer. 0:58 [0:54]

If this movie was about 15 years older, I might excuse the awful quality of the print (missing frames, generally dark, some cases where it sure looks as though they’re swapping in old stock footage when they change views) on the grounds of early movie history. But this one’s from 1944, making it fairly late in the game for the “B” westerns.

The plot: two U.S. marshals are sent to a town that’s been having a lot of robberies, working undercover. One rides into town, sees one such robbery with four bad guys riding away and shooting things up, shoots the fourth—and becomes an instant hero. (There’s no sheriff in town.) He claims to be a cobbler (because that’s the first business he sees), and suddenly—turns out the cobbler was shot some months back—he’s in business as a cobbler, much to the eventual woe of anybody who needs boots repaired. The other marshal trails the bandits to their lair and works his way into the gang.

Doesn’t take long for us to find out that the reason every gold shipment from the bank (robbed three times this year itself) gets robbed is that the banker’s running the banditry. Of course, nobody ever suspects a banker. Meanwhile, the banker and gang conspire to set up his honest assistant and almost manage to do so. Naturally, it all turns out OK after some fancy draws and shooting and a few deaths here and there.

It’s just…not very good. Not even by the relaxed standard of these sub-hour programmers. Maybe $0.75.

West of the Divide, 1934, b&w. Robert N. Bradbury (dir & screenplay), John Wayne, Virginia Brown Faire, George ‘Gabby’ Hayes, Loyd Whitlock, Yakima Canutt. 0:54.

I like this for possibly the wrong reasons—there’s an innocence and sweetness about it, or maybe that’s mostly low budget. Set in the 20th century Old West (most folks ride horses but the town doctor drives a car), it features John Wayne as an orphan—with his sidekick (Hayes in a very early role—Canutt’s a henchman in this flick and the stunt double for some remarkable stunts) who rescued him when his father was shot and the killers believed they’d shot him too. (OK, I’ve only seen that plot basis a dozen other times.) Oh, and just as Roy Rogers is the spittin’ image of Jesse James, Wayne is the spittin’ image of a killer who stumbles onto him and his sidekick, dies from the poisoned waterhole he drank at, and has in his pocket an introductory letter to a local rancher (Whitlock, an almost Snidelyesque villain)…and the Wanted poster showing he’s a killer. So, since they want to know more about this rancher anyway…

The rancher’s trying to buy another ranch, whose owner—with the best water around (never heard that one before!)—doesn’t want to sell. That’s OK: the bad guy first arranges to steal the money the beautiful daughter takes to the bank (and fails, but his henchmen wing the poor girl, against his direct orders—and Wayne and friend manage to get the money deposited), then to rustle all the rest of the good guy’s cattle while killing off the good rancher (a killing left to Wayne).

More plot, lots of horseriding (and one good runaway-team sequence), some really crappy henchmen (who, among other things, accidentally gun down their boss), culminating in happiness all around and, of course, Wayne marrying the daughter. (One example—repeated twice—of what I assume was really low budget work: As the cattle are being herded out of the compound, in one of those midnights where you can see everything clearly, I would swear I could cattle turning after leaving the compound on a course to re-enter the compound at the back so that 20 or 30 cattle can look like hundreds.) The sweetness, in addition to all the charming plot duplications, is partly that this is the young babyface Wayne, partly that the Big Fistfights (with acrobatics included) are remarkably hamhanded examples of “I’ll hit somewhere five inches to the left of your face, in midair, then you’ll do the same to me, then…” with almost no sound effects to even try to sell the fights. By the way, if you’re an IMDB review reader, this is not a print with the new and deproved score; it has very little incidental music. Great cinema? No, but I’ll give it $1.00.

In Old Santa Fe, 1934, b&w. David Howard (dir.), Ken Maynard, Tarzan (horse), Evalyn Knapp, H. B. Warner, Kenneth Thomson, George ‘Gabby’ Hayes, Gene Autry. 1:04.

A tale of the New West—fast cars, phones and electric lights are standard, he cowboys riding in are mostly going to a dude ranch for an annual race, the horse-and-carriage is carrying dude ranch guests. Except that the ranch owner also uses the horses-and-carriage to deliver $20,000 of gold (he owns a nearby mine) to the bank—with a driver and no guards.

Anyway…Kentucky (Ken Maynard) and his crotchety old sidekick (Hayes, who else?—and in fine fettle) are riding in, he’s singing a really pretty bad song, the ranch owner’s beautiful daughter drives by too fast and winds up ramming a tree (but apparently with no real damage), and meanwhile two city slickers come by in the carriage—contemplating plans to mess with the rancher. Oh, and the bad guy in charge also wants the girl.

Lots of plot. Attempted blackmail based on the rancher having changed his name after fleeing parole on phony charges—but charges, as it turns out, that he’d long since been cleared of. The crusty sidekick betting Kentucky’s horse and all their money against one of the crooks—as they make sure he doesn’t win, both by loosening his saddle (which doesn’t help) and stringing up a wire along the course on the assumption he’ll be in the lead (which does). Of course the good guys win in the end, after various plot turns. (The sleeve plot description is pretty much wrong.)

The real oddity here: The movie’s title credits feature Gene Autry first, all by himself, before introducing the cast with Ken Maynard and the rest. But as far as I can tell, Autry only appears as a singer doing one song—along with Smiley “Froggy” Burnette in an uncredited role. (Apparently, it was the first picture for both of them.) The picture’s title? That’s Autry’s song. To be honest, I didn’t find Maynard all that appealing as a singer, a cowboy or the hot male lead—but the film’s reasonably good for its genre: good horse-riding, reasonably clever plot and all. I’ll give it $1.00.

Days of Jesse James, 1939, b&w. Joseph Kane (dir.), Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes, Don ‘Red’ Barry, Pauline Moore, Harry Woods, Arthur Loft, Wade Boteler. 1:03 [0:53]

This one—another B programmer with the singing cowboy—surprised me. I was expecting a variant on the “Roy Rogers looks exactly like Jesse James” theme used in one other picture, but didn’t get it. This time around, nobody knows what James looks like—except for the granddaughter of Gabby Whitaker (Hayes), who in this case is returning to Missouri with $40,000+ after 16 years of placer gold mining in California. (The James gang holds up the train they’re on; a brief scuffle with their dog results in James’ kerchief-as-mask being pulled down briefly; James chooses not to take the $40,000 in Gabby’s valise.)

That’s just the start. Once they reach town, the granddaughter convinces Gabby to deposit the money in the local bank (the banker was also on the stage). The banker can’t resist that amount of money, so stages his own holdup, pretending to be the James gang. The Banker’s Association wants Roy Rogers (peace officer) to help track James; the railroaders have their own person, who mostly wants to get the $50,000 reward for James before anybody else does.

Lots more plot, and Rogers (his character name is of course Roy Rogers, and of course there’s a song) and Gabby wind up pretending to be outlaws or, rather, ex-cons with no jobs to get in with James’ gang. One interesting plot twist has the banker fleeing town on the train…and Rogers and Gabby, pretending to be the James gang, robbing the train specifically to get back the bank-robbery loot, which they then return to the depositors as the sheriff watches.

Not bad. Seems tobe missing a few minutes. As is frequently the case, Jesse James comes off as more Robin Hood than robber and far too honorable to shoot a man in the back. I’ll give it $1.00.

Psst: If you don’t like the old one-hour (more or less) B programmers, you won’t like Discs 10, 11 and 12 of this set. If you like early John Wayne, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers (and once in a while others), you’ll like them just fine.

Songs and arrangements, 1

Posted in Media on June 25th, 2014

(Or maybe 15 or 20…it’s been a while.)

The songs I’ve kept–specifically, the 800-odd songs on my Sansa Fuze, chosen from my collection of a couple thousand–are there for various reasons, mostly pure pleasure.

That pleasure sometimes comes from the arrangements not just the songs. And sometimes what I believe to be the key theme of an arrangement…isn’t.

Two cases (only the second speaks to the paragraph just above):

I haven’t kept all that many old war protest songs, but I have kept Tom Paxton’s Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation. That’s partly because of the lyrics (the YouTube version I link to includes them; consider the wonderful chorus–“we’re sending 50,000 more to help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese”–but also the penultimate verse. Both say a lot about the Vietnam conflict.

But there’s another reason the song’s on my Fuze: It’s one of the few songs I have that uses a 12-string guitar in its orchestral/organ mode, the really mighty sound of a well-played 12-string acoustic. (Back in Berkeley, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I knew of a local who played Great Gates of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition on the 12-string–or maybe he played the whole suite. It was damned impressive.)

The second one’s entirely different: Uptown Girl by Billy Joel. That’s the one where what I always remember as the key element of the arrangement…really isn’t.

To wit–well, play the song. At 2;20 there’s a drum riff (two groups of three strikes). It’s repeated four times, I think.

My auditory memory tells me that the riff is used throughout the song.

It’s not: It’s only used during about 15 seconds near the end of the song.

[I always think of Uptown Girl as Joel’s tribute to the Four Seasons, but I may have the wrong group in mind.*]

Then there’s the single passage in James Taylor’s Gaia that makes it almost a test record for one aspect of speakers and headphones…but that’s another post.


*Or not. According to Wikipedia, Billy Joel says the Four Seasons served as inspiration for the song.

Helpful hint for indoor cat owners

Posted in Stuff on June 23rd, 2014

If you’re like us, your cat(s) use(s) [a] litter box(es) (ours use two Booda enclosures) and you use scoopable litter (we’re very fond of World’s Best pure corn-based litter).

And when you scoop up their solid waste, it stinks. So goes into a bag and then a plastic bag, so that it doesn’t stink up the house before garbage day.

Which is great as long as you have plenty of produce and other leftover plastic bags lying around. Not so great if you don’t.

[Note: this tip might also apply to dog owners who aren’t neighborhood jackasses–that is, who follow their dogs and pick up the dogs’ presents from nearby lawns and sidewalks.]

You can buy poop bags, but they’re six or seven cents each–not bad if you need the compact little roll to take with you, but high if you just need one or two a day to deal with litter boxes.

We found a solution of sorts, if you have a Smart & Final nearby (or equivalent):

Bags on a Roll–basically, rolls of thin plastic produce bags.

The roll we got has 1,640 11″ x 14″ bags, .35 mil (about as thin as they come, which is desirable)…and cost $18.99. That’s 1.16 cents per bag. If we had three friends with similar situations, I think the cost would come down to less than a cent a bag (if you buy four rolls or more, they’re significantly cheaper).

Yes, they do have the standard thin-plastic-bag warnings printed down one side. For us, one roll should be a three-year supply, and takes up about the same space as a jumbo roll of paper towels.

Big Blues: a book review (of sorts)

Posted in Books and publishing on June 21st, 2014

My nonfiction book from the most recent library trip was Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM, by Paul Carroll (New York: Crown, 1993, ISBN 0-517-59197-9).

Partway through reading it, I posted something mildly snarky on Friendfeed about enjoying this sort of book now and then: the “doomed business” book for a business that later turned out to be not quite so doomed as all that. (I read a similar book about Apple, written during the period when it was most plausible to suggest that Apple was a goner.)

I’ve finished it now. This isn’t really a review, but a few comments on this book–and, I think, the problems with this sort of book in general.

Not a bad book

It’s not a bad book. In some ways, it’s a good book, although I would have expected Crown to do a better job of editing–a few items are repeated to the point of annoyance (e.g., the overhead projectors built into rosewood desks). On the other hand, the book was clearly done in somewhat of a hurry: it appeared in 1993 and covers events through April 1993.

Carroll covered IBM for the Wall Street Journal for seven years. That gave him a wealth of contacts. IBM didn’t cooperate on the book (company policy), but he quotes lots of people by name and a few anonymously.

I think the first sentence in the previous paragraph may also point up a possible flaw in the book: To some extent, if you’re covering one company for quite a long period, it’s hard not to become a homer–hard not to start seeing things from the company’s perspective.

Thus, it strikes me that Carroll hammers pretty hard on the notion that Intel and Microsoft were pretty much nothing companies made into giants because IBM didn’t maintain enough control over them. He seems to take it personally that, by 1993, both companies were showing profits of one or two $billion…while IBM took an $8 billion loss in 1993.

The perils of prediction

The biggest problem with the book is that Carroll seemed to think he could predict the future, at least enough to tag IBM post-1993 as a relatively minor company. He also seems not to have regarded the new CEO (Lou Gerstner, an “outsider”) as having much chance of turning things around in any major way.

In 1993, almost certainly IBM”s worst year, it lost $8 billion. It went from over 400,000 employees in 1985 to 225,000 in 1995–although it had started to regain revenues at that point, up to around $72 billion gross.

Here’s the thing: In 2013, IBM had just about $100 billion gross revenue and $16.4 billion profit–and 431,000 employees.

Fact is, Gerstner and his successors did turn IBM around. They got rid of commodity divisions, things where they never could turn a big profit. Mainframes–seemingly irrelevant by 1993, as I read Carroll–never really went away. And IBM put together a package of higher-value services and products that seem to have served it in good stead.

Not that Intel and Microsoft have done too badly either. I keep hearing how Microsoft is irrelevant and doomed, but in 2013 it had roughly $78 billion in gross sales (about 3/4 of IBM) and $21.9 billion in profits (about 4/3 of IBM!), with around 127,000 employees. Intel’s a smaller company, with $52.7 billion in gross sales in 2013 and $9.6 billion in profit (with 107,000 employees), but it’s not exactly in its last throes either.

The final chapter makes much of the devastation caused by IBM’s drop in stock prices and by firing people. I can’t speak to the latter, but the former is interesting. To wit, looking at stock prices for late July, adjusted for splits:

  • In 1980, IBM was at 16
  • In 1985, it was at 33
  • In 1990, it had declined to 28
  • In 1993–at bottom–it was down to 11
  • By 1994, it was already back to around 16
  • By 1995, it was back to nearly 28: in other words, people who held IBM stock in 1990 and didn’t give up on it were whole.
  • In 2000, it was roughly 112
  • In 2005, it was down to roughly 84
  • In 2010, it was up to 128
  • In 2013, it was up to 197

If you bought IBM in 1985 and sold in 1993, you got shafted.

If you bought IBM in 1985 and hung on to it until 2000, you did pretty well…

General lesson?

I’m not sure there is one, other than “prediction is hard.”

As I remember, one key element of the Apple book’s negativity was that it seemed clear that Apple would never gain a substantial share of the PC market. That turned out to be right: Apple doesn’t have a substantial share of the PC market. But it does have some other little products that seem to be doing OK–OK enough so it had $170.9 billion in gross revenue and $37 billion in profits in 2013, with 80,000 employees. Just as IBM is no longer primarily a mainframe computer company, Apple isn’t primarily a personal computer company.

Times change. So do companies–even big, old, apparently-sclerotic ones like IBM.

Which new would-be journals are worth helping out?

Posted in open access on June 17th, 2014

This question was raised–not at all in those words–by a thoughtful reader of Journals, “Journals” and Wannabes: Investigating The List. Noting that six out of ten journals from The Lists were totally empty (but possibly brand new), essentially empty or had few articles, this person wondered when it would make sense to submit an article (or join an editorial board), given my conclusion that–for most authors–ignoring these “journals” and wannabes was most reasonable.

I thought about that, and I’ve prepared a tentative draft commentary, one that appears at the end of “Ethics and Access 3,” scheduled to appear in the August or September 2014 Cites & Insights.

But of course I’m no expert: I’m not a traditional scholar, tenure has never been an issue, etc., etc.

So I’m asking:

What are your suggestions?

Given a new or not-yet-established journal, what would you look for as positive or negative indicators for possible submission or participation (beyond the usual red flags)?

I think this may devolve into three subcategories:

  • Subscription and hybrid journals (I’m not ready to distinguish between those)
  • APC-charging Gold OA journals
  • No-fee Gold OA journals

I believe the bar is significantly lower for the third category than for the first two. Given the sheer number of journals out there already, I believe the bar for the first two should be fairly high–a big part of that bar being “Why do we need another journal on X?”

Comments? Either below or via email to waltcrawford at gmail.com

By July 7 to be most useful as I revise that essay (or scrap it). Unless you feel the need to offer suggestions as background, comments or email will be treated as quotable with attribution.

Thanks!

Slice of life post

Posted in Stuff on June 15th, 2014

So today we decided to walk to one of the readily-walkable nearby wineries, seeing as how we hadn’t done that in a while, it’s a beautiful day (high 70s with a breeze), and it makes for a three-mile walk (round-trip), a little more exercise than our usual 1.3-mile daily “walk around the block.” And we wanted to see how this winery was doing.

We approach the winery–which is also a wedding and other event venue–and see a fair number of cars, at least a dozen, probably more. That’s OK; we’ve been in crowded tasting rooms before.

Walk into the tasting room. There are maybe four or six other people there (in addition to three staff).

So, two-thirds of the way through the tasting (their wines continue to improve), we mention the number of cars. And get a good answer

“There was a wedding here last night…”

and apparently some of the guests were enjoying themselves a lot. (There was mention of people dancing without shoes. The word “tipsy” was used, and another staffer said that wasn’t quite the right word.)

So there was a bus that picked people up and took them to–well, somewhere (the local resort? a local hotel? home?)

Thus, a bunch of cards left over from the wedding. Which will presumably disappear eventually.

Much better than having a bunch of drunken fools on the roads on Saturday night!

[For those familiar with some parts of California wine country: This is Livermore, the oldest California wine region. But not one of the best-known. 50-odd wineries & tasting rooms, but only two very large operations; most places are only open Friday-Sunday for four or five hours a day, although at least half a dozen, maybe a dozen are now open daily.

Oh, and the tasting prices: $5 for the standard flight of five wines (plus a bonus wine); $10 for the reserve flight of six wines (plus a bonus). Perfectly OK for the two of us to share one tasting (I only drink white, my wife mostly drinks red, and Livermore caters a lot more to her than to me).]

 

Library philosophy: the essay(s) that won’t be written

Posted in Cites & Insights on June 14th, 2014

A couple of times, when I’ve expressed frustration over failing in providing something I thought was of real value to libraries (e.g., the series of events that have led me to give up on public library projects in general), my wife–who has been an academic library director, public library cataloger/head of cataloging and more–has suggested:

“Maybe the library world has moved on. Maybe you should do the same. I’m sure the Livermore Friends of the Library could use your help.”

What she’s suggesting is anywhere from cutting back to dropping this stuff entirely.

I’m certainly not ready to do the latter, at least not yet.

On the other hand…

adding value

An ongoing issue for any of my writing and research is that it should add value to the field.

There’s two pieces to that: actually doing something that hasn’t been done before, and (enough) people in the field regarding what I do as valuable.

there’s no value if there’s no perception of value

That’s another way to put it. Apparently only a few dozen public libraries/librarians thought my first “Give Us a Buck” effort was valuable…and essentially none thought the second effort was worth even a sawbuck.

Was I doing something that hadn’t been done before? Yes. Was it actually worthwhile–did it actually add value? Apparently not.

which brings us back to library philosophy

After I finished up Cites & Insights 14:7 (entirely original content, and I hope that it’s regarded as added value, but we shall see…) and took a day off entirely, I looked at the kind of thing I mostly do in C&I–that is, take a set of other people’s essays that I’ve given the same tag in Diigo, look them over again, and construct a useful narrative out of the citations and my comments.

Looking over my Diigo library–as of June 10, right around 1,750 tags for (I”d guess) around 1,550-1,600 items–I concluded two things:

  1. I should proceed with Ethics and Access 3, the catchall set of stories that adds to the first two essays.
  2. I should look at some of the tags and see whether I still believe I’m likely to add value

the first of those is in progress

and going reasonably well, I think. The draft is probably halfway done. It should be a half-issue essay, maybe 8,000 to 10,000 words, and more of a mosaic than either of the first two.

the second…well, here comes library philosophy again

The most frequently used tag in my Diigo library as of June 10, 2014 was “lib-phil,” one of 19 or 20 “lib-” tags. It had 133 items, accumulated over the last four years.

Using my typical methods, that’s not one essay: it would yield about 66,000 words, give or take 15,000, which is at least two and probably three issues. (C&I 14.7 is 17,322 words long; C&I 14.4 and 14.5 together are 55,600 words.)

That’s not important: After all, the Ethics triptych became a three-parter because there were too many items for one essay and I found I could split them easily enough into two neat essays and one mosaic.

What is important, however: I was no longer especially confident that I would be adding any significant value other than “here’s a bunch of neat things you may have forgotten” (and “here’s a bunch of things I disagree with and why I disagree with them”).

I’m not a librarian, either academic or public (or school or special). Pace Chris Bourg, I’m not even a feral librarian: I haven’t worked in a library since 1979, and never worked in a librarianlike role.

I’m not a library philosopher–or, rather, that really is a case where the library world has moved on and I no longer believe I should be trying to influence its overall direction. (I’m not sure I ever really did: Neither Balanced Libraries nor Future Libraries was, in my opinion, a real attempt to change the course of library philosophy so much as to avoid what I regarded as unfortunate course changes.)

going through the articles

So, after writing about half of the Ethics and Access essay, I started going through the lib-phil items, a few at a time. I read part or all of (most of) the items (not all: about one-third had evaporated in the way of the web).

And I either assigned a new tag for a topic where I still thought, perhaps, I could add significant value, or I deleted the tag.

I just finished that process. Two items were retagged (one already had a secondary tag). The rest–131 of them–are gone.

realistic, not sad; one choice, not an overall decision

I found it interesting to reread some of these posts, columns and essays, especially those more than a year old. I read most of the comments as well. (I will admit that I did not make it all the way through two or three posts in the blog/journal hybrid I alternate between admiring and wanting to avoid.)

I also found that–in nearly all the cases–I honestly didn’t think that Walt Crawford had anything especially valuable to add to the stories; that this particular train had left the station.

That’s realistic. It’s not sad.

This was also one choice–the most heavily-populated tag.

It may be a partial decision (I’m less and less likely to believe that pontificating about What Libraries Should Be is a valuable use of my time and energy, either for me or for anyone else–which, of course, won’t stop me from commenting in various social spaces). I’ll look at the other 18-19 “lib-” tags carefully and skeptically.

I noticed the extent to which a few writers kept popping up, and at some point said to myself, “If Chris Bourg or Barbara Fister or Wayne Bivens-Tatum want to do essay collections, that’s up to them.” I dunno whether any or all of them will (there are one or two other names and one pseudonym, but these are the three most obvious cases), but in any case I found myself with little to add other than “Still good stuff. Go read it.” (WBT made things easier by deleting perhaps half of the essays I would have considered. That’s his choice.)

what’s next?

Dunno. I haven’t decided to stop writing, not yet, not entirely.

One minor anecdote: Until two hours before I prepared the final PDFs, the date for C&I 14.7 was July/August 2014, an express statement that I was going to take it easy.

I finally decided that this was pointless. The publication’s already irregular. I don’t intend for Volume 14 to have anything close to as many pages as Volumes 12 and 13, but I expect it will have more pages than Volume 11. (Respectively, 11, 12, and 13 total 274, 394 and 398 pages. Volume 14 to date totals 202 pages–so even four 20-page issues would take it past Volume 11.)

Partly things will depend on whether there’s any additional support or sponsorship for C&I (three supporters to date: count them, three). Partly things will depend on how recent essays are received and whether I believe they’re having any useful impact. Partly things will depend on whether the (slightly delayed at ALA) Library Technology Reports issue is well-received (and maybe generates at least a few sales of the related book!).

Partly things will depend on going through more of these tag lists, seeing what still makes me feel there’s something worth saying, and seeing where that winds up.

The local Friends group? Yeah, I might get involved (which probably means spending a couple of hours a week helping out at the bookstore). That doesn’t preclude other writing, of course; just cutting back and refocusing.

for that matter, the blog might come back to life

There haven’t been many non-announcement posts. That might change. Maybe.

Cites & Insights July 2014 (14:7) available

Posted in Cites & Insights, open access on June 9th, 2014

Cites & Insights 14:7 (July 2014) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ14i7.pdf

That URL is for the traditional two-column print-oriented ejournal. If you plan to read the journal on a computer, a tablet or other e-device (and if you plan to follow links), you’re much better off–especially in this case–downloading the single-column online-oriented version at http://citesandinsights.info/civ14i7on.pdf

[Links may not work from the two-column version. Conversely, some boldface may not show up in the one-column version. This issue has two dozen tables, some of which have smaller type in the two-column version, making the one-column version easier to read.]

The two-column version is 24 pages long. The single-column 6×9 version is 45 pages long.

The issue consists of a single essay, all original material (except for a few excerpts from publisher pages):

Intersections
Journals, “Journals” and Wannabes: Investigating the List (pp. 1-24)

Jeffrey Beall’s 4P (potential, probable, possible predatory) publisher and journal lists total 9,219 journals in early April 2014.

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) totals 9.822 journals as of early June 2014.

9,219 is 93.9% of 9,822.

But: 90.8% of the journals in DOAJ are not represented in Beall’s lists.

A paradox? Not really.

This special issue does something I don’t believe has ever been done before (and is unlikely ever to be done again): looks at every journal from every publisher on Beall’s lists to see whether they’re plausible predators–whether they could reasonably attract any sensible author.

Yes, I even used a control group: members of the OASPA. And two subject groups from DOAJ as secondary control groups.

What’s here? A discussion of my methodology (of course); the results; the control-group results; the subject-group results; some notes on “the name game” (anyone want to help start up International Journal of International Journals?); a few notes from some “publisher” sites; some comments on fee vs. free; discussing real and possible predators–and a list of potentially predatory characteristics of subscription journal publishers; a couple of other issues; and some conclusions, including a new and faster “Is this a reasonable journal?” methodology.

If you read C&I 14.4 or 14.5 (and thousands of you did), I believe you must read this issue, the product of months of research and analysis.


Update, later on June 9, 2014: Someone reading the essay carefully might ask why I didn’t just do a mechanical comparison of all journal names I derived from the Beall lists against the DOAJ list, instead of looking up publishers and journals.

I tried that. Differences in the way names are offered by publisher sites and DOAJ mean that an Excel VLOOKUP function only yielded 272 matches, mostly MDPI journals (which typically have short, distinctive names). The method I used, if less automated, was more productive.

Cites & Insights 14:6 (June 2014) available

Posted in C&I Books, Cites & Insights on May 28th, 2014

Cites & Insights 14:6 (June 2014) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ14i6.pdf

The print-oriented two-column version is 16 pages long. You may also view or download a 32-page one-column 6×9″ ereader-oriented version at http://citesandinsights.info/civ14i6on.pdf

This issue includes three sections:

The Front: Beyond the Damage (pp. 1-4)

Libraries that subscribe to Library Technology Reports should, some time in the next few days or weeks, receive “Big-Deal Serial Purchasing: Tracking the Damage”–and academic libraries that don’t subscribe to LTR may want to purchase this edition from ALA Editions. It brings last year’s The Big Deal and the Damage Done forward to cover 2002-2012 and offers a tighter and more sophisticated view of the situation. (Spoiler alert: Things got worse from 2010 to 2012)

Simultaneously, I’m publishing Beyond the Damage: Circulation, Coverage and Staffing, a book looking at some other aspects of academic libraries and how they changed between 2002 and 2012. It’s available in two forms, each $45: a 130-page paperback with color graphs–or a site-licensed PDF ebook with precisely the same content. Easiest way to find it: go to Lulu.com and search “Crawford beyond damage” (no quotes needed)–that currently yields just the two versions.

Media: Mystery Collection, part 7 (pp. 4-12)

For the first time, most of these movies are in color–which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better, as this is also (I believe) the first time I’ve given up on movies before they’re finished in five out of 24 cases. There are some gems, but also some real dross here.

The Back (pp. 12-16)

Little snarky essays on a variety of things, not all of them entirely humorous.

Next time…

As previously announced, the next issue (which might be the July issue, the July/August issue, or the Summer 2014 issue) should appear some time in June and will be a single- essay issue delving into the realities behind the Beall list–including not only original research but a control group!

After that…well, there’s still time to become a supporter or sponsor of Cites & Insights.


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