Gold Open Access Journals: one week in

June 7th, 2016

Since the first iteration of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015 appeared one week ago,I thought it might be fun to see the takeup so far.

  • The paperback: nobody has read it yet. One copy sold to date–mine (should arrive in the next day or two). I guess $6 is a lot of money… (frequent sales, such as 20% today, I think, but it’s true that there’s shipping and you have to have an account).
  • The PDF: Eleven (11) copies to date through Lulu. Once I was informed that you needed an account to get the free ($0) download, I put a copy on my website–not really intended for heavy-duty usage. As of 5:30 this morning (June 7, 2016), there have been 1,171 attempted downloads–but based on data usage, it can’t have been downloaded more than about 860 times. Still, that’s a lot for what’s really six days.
  • The dataset: 313 visits on figshare–but only 32 downloads, and that number’s barely grown since the second day. Are there a significant number of people that actually have any use for this data? (Visits without downloads can only view the first 50 rows, so they don’t really count…) So far, nobody’s asked me to post a copy at, say, Zenodo or on my own site, so I’ll assume figshare is all anybody needs.
  • The site: Only 161 site visits (since 5:30 a.m. on June 1, 2016: I don’t know about May 31st). Most folks who’ve publicized this have apparently linked directly to the PDF. I can’t force them to do otherwise.
  • The post: Again, I’m missing May 31st data, but it’s been visited 623 times since 5:30 a.m. on June 1, 2016 (plus any RRS feedthrough).
  • The C&I Issue: Only 91 downloads, combining the one-column and two-column versions. Much lower than I’d expect, given that the issue is a coherent excerpted version of the book…

That’s where things stand. I’ll keep tracking from time to time. Will anybody buy the paperback? I think it’s much easier to reference, but that’s me–an old-fashioned guy. (If I knew that nobody wanted a print version, I might have used solid colors for the graph templates, which would probably have resulted in a much smaller PDF–but would be very difficult to read in b&w print form.)

Best guess is that the subject-by-subject supplement will be out in the next two weeks or so. I’m finding that the expanded set of metrics (beyond last year’s study) is yielding much richer stories, but those stories take seven pages per subject rather than the old four.


Is anybody interested in the second supplement, the countries of OAWorld, with full chapters for either 37 (50 or more journals) or 55 (25 or more) countries and brief writeups on another 72 countries (15 with 10 to 24 journals, and an argument could be made for giving these full treatment–and 57 with fewer than 10 journals)?

I believe it would be an interesting set of profiles–but updating seven chapters and adding 61 or even 43 new chapters (including one for few-journal summaries for each region other than Pacific/English, where all countries have at least 50 journals) is a significant amount of unpaid labor and would yield a fairly big book & download. (The supplements are extras, not part of the SPARC contract, but they’ll still be free as PDFs.)

I’ll open comments and would also appreciate direct email, either of the “yes, this would be useful” or “why bother?” variety. To, as usual

Really? Shameful but not surprising

June 2nd, 2016

So this happened. (Karen Coyle, “This is what sexism looks like, #3.”)

Shameful (“P” and the misuse of a code of conduct and the mansplaining and the WILLFUL IGNORANCE both of knowledgeable women and of all librarians have done for OA since at least 1989).

But not, unfortunately, surprising.

I’m not going to explain the issues here. Karen Coyle and a bunch of other real librarians (which I’m not) are far more qualified to do that explaining. (“Bunch of others…” includes, of course, Dorothea Salo and Jenica Rogers and Barbara Fister and Nancy Sims and…the list goes on and on.

Also, frankly, because I’ve encountered enough OA advocates with THE ANSWER who either regard libraries and librarians as irrelevant or beat them up for not throwing themselves (librarians) under the bus to push THE ANSWER and who pretty uniformly ignore all the work librarians (and hangers-on like me) have done…sorry, that sentence got away from me. In short, The Man With The Plan in all his iterations–and there’s a reason I’m not using my preferred non-gendered they/their pronouns here–doesn’t want to hear that the real world is complicated and that this has been going on for a long time.

Those of you who’ve been reading my stuff know that I’m not a sycophant for Karen Coyle or anybody else; fact is, we’ve had some pretty sharp disagreements. And in this case, I have every reason to believe she’s right (as is frequently the case).


Cites & Insights June 2016 available

June 1st, 2016

The June 2016 issue of Cites & Insights (volume 16, issue 5) is now available for downloading.

The issue consists of a brief introduction and excerpts from Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015–roughly one-third of the book.

The link above is to the single-column 6×9″ version intended for online/tablet reading, because the page size and column width are the same as the book. That version,, is 74 pages long.

The two-column print-oriented version at is 32 pages long, but some tables have very small type.

The July issue may be on a non-OA topic. If there is a July issue: I’m working on two bonus book-length supplements to the book.

Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: it’s here.

May 31st, 2016

goajcvrxI’m pleased to announce the availability of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, the results of my comprehensive study of serious gold OA: journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals as of December 31, 2015.

For links to the free (and complete) dataset, the free PDF ebook, and the $6 trade paperback, check the project page at

Thanks again to SPARC for sponsoring this project.

It’s not quite done yet: there will be a book-length supplement detailing subjects, and probably a book-length supplement detailing OA by country (excluding the 11 big publishers in “APCLand”). Those supplements will show up on the project page and be announced in posts when they’re ready.

A brief version of the book, roughly one-third of its content, will appear as Cites & Insights 16:5, probably tomorrow (June 1, 2016).

Added 6/1/16: Turns out you do need to sign in to Lulu for free PDFs, so I’ve added another copy of the PDF ebook–no account or registration or cookies involved. The project page now includes that link, or you can just get it directly.

The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014: half off

May 30th, 2016

Later this week (if all goes well), I’ll announce availability of Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, the comprehensive study of article counts and charges in journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals on December 31, 2015–and some details on the delisting that took place in May 2016.

That study will be free in PDF ebook form (with a CC BY license), thanks to SPARC sponsorship. The dataset will also be free (same license, although where facts are concerned any copyright claim is tricky in the U.S.), and the paperback will be nominally priced.

Some of you may find it useful to have the background of the not-quite-as-comprehensive 2011-2014 predecessor study, published as The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014. That link is for the paperback–but you should really go to, check for special offers (e.g., there may be a 27% print sale on May 30, and there are frequently sales on print books), write down the coupon code if any, then search for the book or use this link. There’s also a PDF ebook version; there are rarely any sales on ebooks.

I’ve reduced the price of each version by 50%, to $30 for the paperback, $27.50 for the ebook. (The paperback may also be available via Amazon, Ingram and B&N; the lower price may eventually show up there.) The listings at the bottom of this blog will continue to show the old prices until I migrate some changes, probably on June 1 or 2, 2016. At some point, the 2011-2014 books will go out of print if there’s no activity (say one copy per month between the two editions).

As for the new book (free as PDF, prob. around $8 as paperback): I’m aiming for June 1, and I’ll publicize it here and on social media. (There will be one project website showing links for the dataset, the books, and the two booklength supplements offering detailed views by subject and by country later this year.) The June 2016 Cites & Insights, an excerpted version of the book (roughly one-third of it), will be out shortly thereafter.

The DOAJ Cuts: Preliminary notes on Africa

May 15th, 2016

A few days ago–shortly after DOAJ’s big cut–I posted a few preliminary notes on that cut, taking most of a day out of writing up my comprehensive 2011-2015 study of serious OA journals. I then turned back to working on the book-length results (which I hope to have out in a very few weeks, at which point the data will be freely available, as will the PDF version of the book).

I didn’t specifically mention Africa in those quick notes because it didn’t stand out–its percentage of dropped titles was pretty much average, and actually lower than most regions (considerably lower than the United States, for example.

I’ve become aware of a series of messages seeming to suggest that I’m deliberately ignoring Africa and that somehow DOAJ is conspiring with Jeffrey Beall to suppress global-south OA publishing. I am not affiliated with DOAJ and not the person to address the latter suggestion (which, unless it’s also suggested that DOAJ is trying to suppress OA in the U.S. and Canada, both with much higher percentages of dropped journals, seems unlikely), but I can address the first: it’s not true.

The post was a quick note; my job at this point should be to complete the report. I have no support staff; I’m an independent semi-retired researcher.

But, just to clear the air, here’s more detail on Africa (the Middle East is treated as a separate region–and yes, it also had a higher percentage of cuts than did Africa).

Journals (graded A or B)

Country D15 D16 %Removed
Algeria 5 5 0%
Burundi 1 1 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo 1 1 0%
Ethiopia 5 3 40%
Ghana 1 1 0%
Kenya 7 6 14%
Libya 2 2 0%
Madagascar 1 1 0%
Mauritius 2 2 0%
Morocco 7 6 14%
Nigeria 28 18 36%
Rwanda 1 1 0%
South Africa 73 49 33%
Tanzania, United Republic of 1 0 100%
Tunisia 1 1 0%
Uganda 3 1 67%
Zambia 2 0 100%
Total 141 98 30%

Legend:  D15=In DOAJ as of 12/31/15 and fully analyzed; D16=In DOAJ as of 5/10/2016 and fully analyzed; %Removed=% of D15 not in D16.

What of the eight other Nigerian titles? Five–all from the same publisher–have APCs but don’t state the amount to be charged; three seem to have disappeared–two yielding parking pages, probably for failure to renew domain registration, one yielding 404s.


Same legend as above.

Country D15 D16 %Removed
Algeria 316 316 0%
Burundi 10 10 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo 3 3 0%
Ethiopia 194 148 24%
Ghana 10 10 0%
Kenya 87 87 0%
Libya 76 76 0%
Madagascar 16 16 0%
Mauritius 204 204 0%
Morocco 971 549 43%
Nigeria 1,965 1,681 14%
Rwanda 16 16 0%
South Africa 2,412 1,608 33%
Tanzania, United Republic of 40 0 100%
Tunisia 12 12 0%
Uganda 1,321 1,119 15%
Zambia 78 0 100%
Total 7,731 5,855 24%

Note that Nigeria has a much lower percentage of cut articles: the journals removed were typically small.

Now, back to what I should be doing–noting that, when I get to the final group of chapters (one for each region of OAWorld, with APCLand treated as a separate region), Africa–by far the smallest region in terms of number of serious OA journals–will receive exactly the same treatment as every other region.

As for DOAJ’s criteria: It’s not my job to defend them (I discussed them in January 2015), but I will say that a directory where the only criterion was “this journal says it’s open access” would be useless (among other things, it would presumably include the thousands of “journals” that have never actually published anything and, I guess, every “hybrid” journal whether it’s ever actually had an OA article or not) and would do much to support the enemies of open access.

DOAJ cuts by publisher: partial preliminary list

May 13th, 2016

Since somebody asked…here’s a preliminary list of publishers with six or more journals in the “no longer in DOAJ” spreadsheet–noting that for some of these the journals are ones that already ceased or merged. (Not a full list: there are more than 1,900 unique publisher fields in the “now gray” list!)

Publisher Count
Internet Scientific Publications, LLC 45
IACSIT Press 18
Baishideng Publishing Group Co. Limited 14
Bentham open 14
e-Century Publishing Corporation 14
Ivy Publisher 14
Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey 12
Universidad de Antioquia 12
Academic and Business Research Institute 11
Aves Yayincilik 11
Editorial Ciencias Médicas 11
Moscow State Regional University 11
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana 9
Termedia Publishing House 9
Universidad de los Andes 9
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 9
Bioinfo Publications 8
CIC Edizioni Internazionali 8
Hindawi Publishing Corporation 8
Institute of Advanced Engineering and Science (IAES) 8
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul 8
Integrated Publishing Association 7
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile 7
University of Zagreb 7
American V-King Scientific Publishing, LTD 6
Bonfring 6
Scienpress Ltd 6
Universidad de Concepción 6
Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela) 6
Universidade Federal do Paraná 6
University of Toronto 6

The cuts to DOAJ: A few preliminary notes

May 11th, 2016

I’m partway through writing Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, as some of you are well aware. That book is based on an exhaustingve survey of journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) as of December 31, 2015: their APCs (or lack thereof) and article counts 2011-2015.

When I became aware of the big cut on May 9, 2016, with DOAJ dropping some 3,300 journals that had not submitted requests to be included following the new rules–after more than a year of publicity and repeated email requests–I decided it was worth discussing at the end of the book. (It doesn’t really affect the book: these journals were in DOAJ on 12/31/15.)

That continues to be my plan, but since I put together a matrix workbook to make some tables and graphs for the book easier and more consistent, I thought I could do a quick workup now–preliminary, tentative, but probably pretty close.

Update 5/22/16: I’ve now completed a more careful matching of a slightly later DOAJ dataset, resulting in 2,948 dropped journals. That change–nine more journals that are still there–will change a few numbers, but not by much. The revised figures will show up in the book, probably within the next two weeks.

The Overall Picture

URL and journal title matching shows 2,957 journals missing on May 10, 2016 that were there on December 31, 2015.

  • First good news: More than half of the journals I excluded from the study are now gone–316 of 620. That includes more than two-thirds of journals with hidden or missing APCs (and I’m guessing the rest have filled in the information) and almost half of the unreachable and unworkable journals. Unfortunately, it includes less than one-third of the journals showing signs of malware. (Curiously, it includes the only journal I couldn’t include because of translation problems–and, perhaps less curiously, more than 70% of those where it was impossible or too cumbersome to count articles by year.
  • Oddly, while three-quarters of journals with no 2014 or 2015 articles are gone, as are most journals with no 2015 articles, only 38% of apparently-cancelled journals and 36% of journals seemingly too small for the new DOAJ are gone.
  • Ignoring excluded journals, just under 26% of journals are gone–but, not surprisingly, that breaks down to only 1.4% of APCLand journals and 29% of OAWorld journals. (If you’re not familiar with those terms, read the current Cites & Insights.)

A Few Specifics

  • Only 23% of journals with 2015 articles are gone–26% of free journals, 17% of APC-charging journals.
  • The article count is down 22%.
  • Dropped free journals have been declining in article count: the dropped group includes 33% of articles in those journals in 2011, down to 27.5% in 2015.
  • The largest (600+ articles) and smallest (0-19) journals disappeared more frequently than midrange journals.
  • Among fee-charging journals, those with lower fees disappeared more often than those with higher fees–30-31% for $2-$199 and $200-$599, 10% and 3% for $600-$1,399 and $1,400+.
  • Separating APCLand as a virtual region, the highest percentage of dropped journals is not in the global South: It’s what I call Pacific/English [with apologies to Quebec]–Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States: 39%. Asia had the second highest percentage of dropped journals, 35% (and by far the highest percentage of dropped articles, 47%), followed by the Middle East and Latin America (both 33%, but Latin America’s article loss is much lower.) The lowest percentage of dropped journals is in Eastern Europe, at 18%. Given that OAWorld’s 29% is the baseline here, only Pacific/English and Asia had outsize losses.
  • Looking at categories of publishers (explained in the book), society and university journals dropped marginally more than average and traditional and multijournal OA publishers dropped substantially less (around 17% in both cases); the biggest losses are among “miscellaneous publishers,” those with only one or two journals.
  • 34 countries had no losses, although that’s only 97 journals.
  • The highest journal losses (by number) come from the United States, Brazil, India, Spain and Turkey–but the highest article losses come from India (50% more than the U.S.), the United States (more than twice Brazil’s number), Brazil, China, Turkey and Japan (Spain is 12th).
  • Percentagewise, among countries with a fair number of journals, Japan has the highest article loss. Looking at the five countries with the largest numbers of dropped journals, the U.S. lost 40% of journals claiming to be published here but only 19% of articles; Brazil lost 27% of journals and 17% of articles; India dropped 36% of journals and 42% of articles; Spain dropped 20% of journals and articles; and Turkey dropped 37% of journals and 47% of articles.

I suspect this will serve as a wake-up call for a fair number of university and society publishers and for publishers in some countries. In other cases…well, I see a baker’s dozen of publishers with 10 or more dropped titles (the largest is 45), and there are at least two or three of those that may not be missed.

Again, this is all preliminary off-the-cuff quickie subject to change comment. The book will be free (in PDF form) when it comes out, and that final chapter may be part of a C&I extended excerpt: those numbers should be better.

Cites & Insights 16:4 (May 2016) now available

April 26th, 2016

The May 2016 issue of Cites & Insights, volume 16 issue 4, is now available for downloading at

The issue is 13 pages long. If you’re reading it online or on a tablet, you may prefer the one-column 6″x9″ edition at That version is 26 pages long (and lacks one extraneous paragraph).

The short but meaty issue includes:

The Front  p. 1

Why it’s short.

Intersections: Two Worlds of Gold OA: APCLand and OAWorld pp. 2-5

A preview of some key data from Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, offered partly because I believe it is a new and useful way of looking at gold OA and am inviting feedback (fairly soon, since I’ll start on the book next week).

Policy: Google Books: The Final Chapter?  pp. 6-13

The Supreme Court won’t hear the Authors Guild appeal of the appeals court’s decision in Google’s favor. Maybe–maybe–the decade-long struggle is over. That’s worth a quick roundup of Google Books items since the last roundup.

Ideas for Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015: Second Call

April 21st, 2016

If you have opinions on what was great or not so great in The Gold OA Landscape 2011-2014, or ideas on how the book-length analysis and presentation could be better for the new, much more complete Gold Open Access Journals 2011-2015, I’d like to hear from you–ideally before May 1, 2016 (I’ll start working on the book right around then). (Note that the PDF ebook version will be free and freely available with a CC BY license; the paperback will be priced at roughly production cost.)

Which tables and graphs seem especially worthwhile? Which writeups were more or less informative?

Since most of you haven’t seen the full book, there are two resources to base your feedback on:

  • The October 2015 Cites & Insights includes about half the text and around half the tables from the book, but none of the graphs.
  • The April 2016 Cites & Insights includes an introductory essay but mostly consists of pages 39 through 73 of the book, chapters 5 through 9, showing exactly what’s in the book.

(Note: you can reasonably ignore the “Why Anonymize?” section of the introductory essay in that issue: in consultation with SPARC, I’ve decided to make the non-anonymized spreadsheet openly available when the analysis is complete, One very minor consequence of non-anonymity: seven small journals that I’d flagged as questionable for judgmental reasons are no longer flagged. That doesn’t affect the analysis at even 0.1% levels.)

Both links are to the 6×9″ “online” versions, which better reflect the book pages.

You can comment directly on this post (for a week or two) or, better yet, send email to I don’t promise to use your suggestions; I do promise to think about them seriously.

(I’ll be asking for feedback on one very new and fairly distinctive aspect of the 2011-2015 survey, which arose from a decision to look at countries by region–but I’ll have more to say about that next week, I think, in a blog post and as part of a short Cites & Insights.)


Minor updates:

  • If you’re following my recovery from surgery (excision of a Schwannoma, a benign nerv sheath tumor): No, I’m not back to full touch typing; have begun hand therapy and ordered Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Posting and C&I still much reduced and the textual portions of the book may be more concise than otherwise–which could be a good thing.
  • I’ve completed the second data-gathering pass for the 2011-2015 project. The number of fully-analyzed “good” journals is up from 9,512 to 10,324, and the rough estimate of total articles from those journals for 2015 is around 566,000.
  • Yes, there will be a Cites & Insights soon, probably before May 1; no, it probably won’t be very long, given the difficulties of six-fingered typing…