Gold Open Access 6: Progress Report 1

January 12th, 2021

I’m just over a tenth of the way through the initial journal scan for GOA6 (1,600 of 15,677), so it’s a good time for a quick progress report.

Note that, as before, I sort journals by publisher before checking–because many multijournal publishers use the same templates for all journals, making it easier for me to find fee data and do article counts.

For GOA6, that means I’ve checked “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași through Casa Cartii de Stiinta Cluj-Napoca (and the next journal’s a different publisher); so far, the 2020 article count is 105,280, but that will almost certainly go up–both because I recheck journals that publish late and malware/problematic cases, but also specifically because all 32 journals from Cambridge University Press failed with 503 errors (!).

Last year, that range of publishers included 1,503 journals, which published 73,537 articles in 2019. It’s hard to make direct comparisons, because journals do change publishers–but so far the rate of newly-added journals is a little lower than I’d expect.

This year, problematic journals include 41 malware cases, one that’s not OA, and 65 unreachable/unworkable (half of them Cambridge). These will all be rechecked. In addition to all those 503 errors, I see 13 404, one 403, 9 SSL certificate problems, 1 (other) database error, 7 DNS failures, 3 cases of fraud, one apparently hijacked case, 9 malware, one phishing, 18 trojans, and a few others.

For what it’s worth, the same range of publishers last year wound up with 7 journals that had malware but could be analyzed, 33 that had to be reached through an alternate address, 13 malware-not-countable cases, and one unreachable. I’d guess we’ll wind up with similar proportions this year.

So does doing one-tenth in the first 12 days of the year mean I’ll finish the first pass at the end of April (that is, around 120 days into the year)? Possible but unpredictable. On one hand, this group includes 300+ BMC journals that could be checked very rapidly (and the Cambridge journals that couldn’t be checked at all); on the other, it’s hard to avoid some doomscrolling while waiting to see how civil war is avoided or dealt with. So we shall see: no predictions until I’m at least three-quarters finished!

Gold Open Access 6: Early Notes

December 28th, 2020

I’m almost ready to start data gathering for Gold Open Access 6 (2014-2019). Thursday afternoon after 4 pm (that is, after Midnight January 1 UMT), I’ll do a final download of DOAJ metadata and check the Adds & Deletions spreadsheet–deleting any journals deleted today (December 28) through December 31, and massaging rows of the metadata added since December 27 into new rows of the master sheet used to gather data. I’m guessing there will be no more than one or two deletions and perhaps a dozen additions since I checked this at 12:30 AM (UMT) December 28. [That guess is based on the fact that three titles were deleted and 41 added between December 15 and December 28.]

I downloaded early to do a more thorough job of checking consistency and, for the first time in years, rechecking subject assignments against the subjects and keywords in the DOAJ roles. That process included catching errors from previous years (most of them from VERY early years) and being somewhat more consistent in ambiguous cases–e.g., more journals that cover sustainability going into Ecology, nearly all journals on nutrition going into Medicine, nearly all journals with tourism as a primary focus going into Anthropology, and generally replacing Technology with more specific subjects as appropriate.

Processing the December 15 download yielded 13,528 matches against the GOA5 master spreadsheet, plus 2,103 new titles. Of unmatched GOA5 journals, 456 were explicitly removed from DOAJ and 90 are the usual “small number of mysteries”–most of them cases where a journal has changed both ISSN and normalized URL during the past year. Including the additions and deletes done yesterday, there are currently 15.668 titles in the master spreadsheet; the final number should be slightly higher. Whereas GOA5 wound up with slightly fewer than 14,000 journals being fully analyzed, it’s very likely that GOA6 will include significantly more than 15,000 fully analyzed journals. Will it reach a million articles? Probably not, but we shall see…somewhere between June and September, depending on health, other activities, and how difficult it is to do the manual checking.

Changes from GOA5

In general, metrics remain the same, except for the changes in subject assignments.

“Miscellaneous” has been eliminated as a publisher category (there were 138 such journals in GOA5); “o” now stands for “open/other.”

I’m trying to retain Start (starting date), which DOAJ no longer includes in its downloadable data, by looking for the earliest articles in journals that don’t already have such dates.

I may revise subjects in a few cases when the actual contents appear at odds with the assignment made based on DOAJ information. I’d be surprised if there were even a few dozen such changes.

And, of course, the five-year graphs comparing various editions will be six-year graphs. Since the GOA6 paperback that almost nobody buys will once again be full-color, I won’t attempt to make each of the six lines distinct by dot/dash patterns, relying on color in some cases,

Preliminary Subject Counts

The table that follows shows, for each GOA subject, the journal count in GOA5 (“G5”); the number of continuing journals (“Cont”) after subjects have been rescanned and journals have been deleted; the number of newly-added journals (“New”); and the preliminary GOA6 count (“Total”). These numbers are subject to small changes due to additions and deletions over the next four days and possible on-the-fly revisions during data checking.

Arts & Architecture36934665411
Computer Science32436153414
Earth Sciences45045264516
Language & Literature8938701451,015
Library Science16516316179
Media & Communications24527048318
Other Sciences23019932231
Political Science38041581496

Added later on 12/28: Why “June to September”?

Why am I so uncertain when I’ll be finished with data gathering (visiting 15,688+ web sites at least once, and probably 2,500+ of them twice)?

Because the time required is so unpredictable, as are factors like the time I can or will devote to it, health, crises, etc.

Let’s look at GOA5. The base dataset was 14,128 journals, including just over 2,000 newly-added journals. The first pass took 102 days–but I felt rushed all the time. The second pass involved 2,476 journals, of which 1,479 required a third visit and 636 a fourth visit–a total of 4,591 additional visits. Those passes took a total of 38 days. So, let’s see, I was able to do an average of 139 journals a day on the first pass–I’m guessing more like 160-170/day for continuing and 100/day for new–and 120/day for the rechecks.

This time, assuming a net gain of 12 journals over the next four days, there will be around 15,680, of which around 2,185 are new. But I’ll be adding starting dates to those 2,173 (and rechecking them on others). So figure anywhere from 100 to 130 journals/day average. That means 120 to 157 days. Assume that total rechecks amount to 32% of the original count, or 5,018, at 100-120/day. adding 43 to 51 days.

So it’s fair to assume at least 163 days to 208 days, if all goes well. So I could be done with data gathering by mid-June, but it could also take until the end of July–again, assuming all goes well, including my energy.

It took about a month after data gathering to process the data and prepare GOA5. I’m guessing about the same this year. So the uploaded dataset and GOA6 could be ready by mid-July, but it could take until early September. Figure less than a month to prepare the Countries book.

It’s conceivable that GOA6 could be ready in June, but it’s highly unlikely. I can’t reasonably devote more than about 30 hours/week to this project: I’m retired, I’m old, there are all the other facets of life to deal with, and–perhaps most important–I know from experience that doing more than 20 journals at a time without a break, with breaks getting longer and longer, just doesn’t work.

So: July-August most likely, late June barely possible, September also possible.

Meanwhile, the color paperback GOA5 is a really great way to read about Gold Open Access; it’s a shame only two copies have been purchased. (My profit on each copy is $0.68. if you’re wondering.)

Cites & Insights Annual Volumes now $20 each

December 28th, 2020

I’ve changed the pricing on each paperback annual volume of Cites & Insights, volumes 11 through 19, to $20 each. [It appears that Lulu discards PDFs after some point, and to reprice volumes 6-10 I’d have to redo the publishing process. Given that sales have never reached high single figures, it’s not worthwhile.]

Links to all volumes are on the C&I Annuals page at, or you can just search for Cites & Insights at

GOAJ5: November 2020 report

December 4th, 2020

Readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 335 views, 70 downloads–and some unknown number of uses from a third-party dashboard incorporating the dataset.
  • GOA5: 557 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 98 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 836 views, 322 downloads.
  • GOA4: 4,197 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 588 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 476 PDF ebooks

Audiophile prices, 2020 edition

November 28th, 2020

Those of you who were C&I readers may remember that I did way too long discussions of how cheap or expensive audiophile-quality systems can be, based on Stereophile‘s Recommended Components lists.

I’m doing it again, but more simply, and I’m adding another source, The Absolute Sound, a competitive high-end magazine that doesn’t do measurements at all and where many reviews feel like pitches for the product and its company.

Stereophile-based systems

Stereophile divides recommended components into several grades, with A and A+ being the absolute best regardless of price, B-E being still great but less expensive. I’m showing four sets of components (turntable, arm, cartridge, CD player, preamp/amp, and full-range speakers): lowest and highest priced in A and A+, and lowest and highest price in B and below. I’m ignoring cables (which could add $100 to $10K or more), headphones, digital streaming and the like. I’m sticking with full-range speakers for simplicity. I’m also using integrated amps (with phono preamps) for B-and-below and separate phono preamp, preamp, and amp for A/A+. All amps are solid-state, although that wasn’t an assumption.

  • Lowest-priced grade A and A+: Turntable: Rega Planar 10, $5.695; Tonearm: Audio-Creative Groovemaster II Titanium, $1,823; Cartridge: EMT TSD-15, $1,950; Phono preamp: PS Audio Stellar, $2,499; CD: ATC CD-A2 Mk 2, $4,249; Preamp: Rogue Audio RH-5, $2,495; Power amp: Schitt Aegir, $799; Speakers: GoldenEar Technology Triton Reference, $10,000; System total: $29,520.
  • Highest-priced grade A and A+: Turntable: Techdas Air Force One Premium with Titanium upper platter, $162,000; Tonearm: SAT CF1-12, $59,810; Cartridge: DS Audio Master 1, $20,000; Phono preamp: CH Precision P1, $80,000; CD: dCS Vivaldi 2.0, $116,495; Preamp: Dan D’Agostino Momentum HD, $40,000; Power amp: DartZeel NHB-468, $180,000; Speakers: Tidal Audio Akira, $255,000; System total: $913,305.
  • Lowest-priced grades B and below: Turntable: Rega Planar 1 (includes arm and Ortofon cartridge), $475; CD: Rega Apollo, $1,095; Integrated amp: NAD C-328, $599; Speakers: JBL Stage 70, $500; System total: $2,669.
  • Highest-priced grades B and below: Turntable: Haniwa Player w/HTAM01 Arm, $15,000; Cartridge, Rega Aphelion 2 MC, $4,995; CD: Bryston BCD-3, $3,995; Integrated amp: Naim Audio Uniti Nova, $5.990; Speakers: KEF Reference 5, $20,000; System total: $49,980.

Yep. The most expensive system with no Grade A components costs about two-thirds more than the least expensive system wit all Grade A components–and the most expensive Grade-A system costs more than thirty times as much as the least. [Unlikely that a buyer would spend less than a $million on that highest-priced system, even without digital streaming.]

Absolute Sound prices

Just a low and a high, since apparently everything this magazine reviews is wonderful. I’m assuming integrated amp with phono preamp at the low end, all separates at the high, and floor-standing speakers.

  • Least expensive: Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC (includes arm and Ortofon cartridge), $449; CD: Rotel CD14, $799; Integrated amp: NAD D 3020 V2, $449; Speakers: PSB Alpha T20, $649; System total: $2,356.
  • Most expensive: TechDas Air Force One Premium, $145.000; Tonearm: Swedish Analog Technologies CF 1-09, $57,418; Cartridge: Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement V2, $16,000; Phono preamp: VAC Statement, $80,000; CD: dCS Vivaldi series 2, $116,496; Preamp: Boulder 3010, $130,000; Amp: D’Agostino Relentless, $295,000; Speakers: Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX w/subwoofer and crossover, $373,500; System total: $1,113,414.

Whew. Yes, there’s more expensive gear–for example, Wilson Audio had a limited run of speakers costing more than $800,000.

But wait…

The prices above don’t include interconnects, speaker cables, fancy power cords, special thingies to support the components, or a rack. Just looking at the megabuck system described–noting that the amplifier is really a pair of “monoblocks” (single-channel amps), I see a need for at least six power cables, four interconnects, six sets of thingies, and two sets of speaker cables. And a good rack.

So let’s see–from the same Absolute Sound issue. Power cables: Crystal Cable Ultimate Dream, $15,970 each, so figure $95,820. Interconnects: Nordost Odin 2, $23,625 each, so $94,500 total. Speaker cables: AudioQuest Dragon bi-wire combo, $48,600, so $97,200 total.

I’m just going to ignore a few $thousands for thingies, quite a few $thousands for a rack, and other stuff like power conditioners. Just the items above add about $285,000 more. But hey, it’s only money!

Gold Open Access 5: October 2020 report

November 2nd, 2020

Readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 295 views, 63 downloads–and some unknown number of uses from a third-party dashboard incorporating the dataset.
  • GOA5: 529 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 82 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 799 views, 318 downloads.
  • GOA4: 4,106 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 578 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 468 PDF ebooks

There will be a GOA6

October 27th, 2020

Thanks to SPARC’s continuing support, there will be a Gold Open Access 2015-2020: Articles in Journals appearing sometime in the summer of 2021 (barring health or other disasters).

The study will follow the same pattern as GOA5. I’ll download DOAJ metadata in late December 2020 to the first match and consistency checking, and will determine currency exchange rates to be used for the project (as with this year, they’ll be the median 2020 rate where that’s available, the rate on the December date I check them otherwise–and they’ll be on a tab in the freely-available spreadsheet). Then I’ll download data again shortly after midnight (GMT) on January 1, 2021, and process changes.

I currently plan two changes–neither major. First, I’m finishing the process of getting rid of “Miscellaneous” as a publisher category. (It accounted for considerably less than 1% of articles in GOA5.) Any publishers not categorized as university/college, society/government, or traditional publisher, will be marked as Open Access.

Second, I sense that a few subject-assignment errors crept in some years ago (due to quirks in Excel at the time). I’ve already rechecked subject assignments against the DOAJ-supplied subject information for all journals in GOA5, changing a few dozen in the process, and will complete that process in January. (The changes would only be significant in subject breakdowns for a few countries.)

Other than those changes, I’ll aim for consistency, and add a sixth row to graphs in a Six-Year Comparisons chapter. Once again, the data will be freely available at Figshare (or some other repository), the report will be available as a free PDF or a cost-of-publication color trade paperback, and there will be a Country of Publication report.

I won’t even begin to guess dates or volume. I’d love to see it emerge in July 2021, but won’t predict that. I’d love to see at least 15,000 fully-analyzed journals–and that seems fairly plausible. I’d guess there will be more than 900,000 2020 articles, but would be loath to project a million. We shall see.

$peaker$ and cable$: a fun post

October 7th, 2020

Just to get away from the madness for a little while…

An audio magazine I currently receive published a special issue consisting mostly of directories of speakers, subwoofers, and cables from companies the magazine regards as worthy. Oh, and lots and lots of full-page ads from many of those companies,

The directory covers 96 speaker companies (and three that only produce subwoofers, which I’m not dealing with here) and 31 cable companies.

I believe speakers are one area of high fidelity where you can probably keep getting better performance for more money for a very large span of “more money,” although for most of us the point of diminishing returns would come fairly early (as might the point at which we could clearly appreciate a difference).

Even so, some of the numbers are, well, at least interesting.

Speaker prices

  • Only 22 of the 96 companies have any speakers costing less than $1,500/pair.
  • 28 of the 96 have no speakers costing less than $10,000/pair. (The company I’d likely buy from if I had great wealth and needed a really good pair of speakers doesn’t have any speakers costing $10,000/pair or more…)
  • 47 of the 96–nearly half–had at least one pair of speakers costing $50,000/pair or more.
  • I saw 34 speakers costing $100,000 to $199,000 per pair…
  • …and 28 speakers costing $200,000 to $499,000 per pair…
  • …and four costing at least half a million dollars per pair (“at least” because several speakers had “price on request” or some other version of “if you have to ask”).
  • Two of the speakers cost more than $800,000 per pair. Eight hundred thousand dollars.
  • At least five of the speakers weigh half a ton or more; not clear whether that’s per-speaker or per-pair.

Cables (10ft or 2meter speaker pairs or one-meter interconnects)

Almost all of these noted below are speaker cables. I believe each of these prices would need to be doubled for a pair of speakers, but I could be wrong:

  • 26 cables cost $10,000-$19,999.
  • Another 26 cost $20,000-$49,999.
  • Three cost $50,000 or more. For a speaker cable or cables. But hey, if you’re spending $855,000 for speakers (the top price I saw), what’s another $50,000 or $100,000 for cables?

I offer no comment.

Gold Open Access 5: September 2020 report

October 2nd, 2020

Readership for GOA5, plus continuing reporting on GOA4.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA5: 2014-2019

  • The dataset: 223 views, 39 downloads–and some unknown number of uses from a third-party dashboard incorporating the dataset.
  • GOA5: 406 PDF ebooks. Two paperbacks (full color, highly recommended).
  • Countries 5: 57 PDF ebooks

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 774 views, 302 downloads.
  • GOA4: 3,581 PDF ebooks
  • Countries 4: 553 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 441 PDF ebooks

New and good study on “predatory” journals

September 11th, 2020

I just finished skimming through “How reliable and useful is Cabell’s Blacklist ? A data-driven analysis” by Christophe Dony , Maurane Raskinet, François Renaville, Stéphanie Simon, and Paul Thirion, appearing in LIBER Quarterly.

It appears to be well-done and worth reading. I’m biased, to be sure, since the study relies on my own work on questionable journals and the blacklist.