The Open Access Landscape 2011-14: Status and possibilities

If you haven’t seen any of The Open Access Landscape posts, they’re not hard to find. If you don’t give a damn about OA or these subject-oriented discussions, then you should move along: nothing to see here.

If you do care, then please read on and comment if appropriate.


It now seems probable that (barring death, disease, family crises or being so unnerved by the end of FriendFeed that I just stop doing everything) I will include full-2014 article counts in all of the subject posts.

I’ve been nibbling away at the 1,702 OA journals in medicine, and now have 1,400 of them done. It’s been good to do them 50 to 100 at a time, not only to get them all done but because a bunch of the journals insist on putting up a picture with each article in the tables of contents, and I can only take so many of those medical pictures at one sitting…

It also seems probable that (with the same caveats) I’ll do the full series. (If I disappeared tomorrow, you’d see six more posts–I’m a little ahead.)


As I noted in “The Front” in the May 2015 Cites & Insights, each post in this series begins as a draft chapter in a possible book–and I’m already adding one more table to each chapter after posting it (using Word’s blog template and publish-to-blog capabilities). That essay includes a somewhat compressed example of the additional table, which I find to be quite revealing.

I’d like to do the book–but it only makes sense to do it if I believe there will be some sales. That’s why I’ve invited comments (or direct email) on each post to express interest. To date, there have been no expressions of interest. That may (or may not) doom the project.

There are also some possibilities that could make the book more interesting and cause it to deviate further from the series of posts, depending on how much additional work I wished to do. For example:

  • I could add the 220-odd journals in DOAJ that began in 2014 and aren’t already in the study (six 2014 journals are there already), making Table x.2 and the discussion of whether OA in a given subject appears to be growing or declining even more complete. (That would also mean replacing Figure x.2, the new figure at the end of each current draft chapter.) In this case, I’d only modify those portions of the discussion, not the rest. Level of effort: Moderate (maybe an extra half-week to do the data gathering and 15-30 minutes per chapter, or 7-14 hours overall, to update the tables and discussions).

This would still not make this book a full 2011-2014 up-to-date picture or replacement for the Library Technology Reports issue, as I wouldn’t be including a detailed over view and–more significantly–I haven’t done any backfilling (adding or updating 2013 and sometimes 2012 figures for late article postings), I wouldn’t be adding what must be hundreds of earlier journals added to DOAJ since May 2014, I wouldn’t be modifying any grades or subgrades based on new data (e.g., a few “dead” journals have come back to life), and most of the analysis would still be based on 2013 rather than 2014 data.

  • I could add new analysis of article distribution by journal size, based on 2014 article counts and with segments based on actual data rather than my own sense of appropriate levels. (That is: I’d do running totals for all journals and for each subject, starting with the most prolific journal and continuing downward, then assign overall segments based on, say, the article count range representing one-quarter of all articles, etc.–then applying those ranges to subjects. Very similar to what I’ve done with fee levels.) Level of effort: Also moderate–no new data gathering, but more new analysis and adding new tables and text to all chapters. Worth: Another interesting way of looking at the data.
  • Theoretically, I could move to 2014 data for all of the tables that involve article counts (tables x.1, x.3, x.4, x.6–basically everything except table x.5 and figure x.1) and update the tables and text. Level of effort: Significant, as it means essentially rewriting most of each chapter.
  • Theoretically, I could add more journals–both new additions to DOAJ and, using Chrome as a browser and Google’s translate facilities, more of the non-English journals. At that point, the only thing that would make this not a full 2011-2014 picture would be the lack of backfilling and grade changing. I could even do limited backfilling, looking at journals with no 2013 articles or 2013 counts that are less than 2/3 of 2014 counts. Level of effort: Major, both investigation and rewriting everything.

I guess the question is whether any or all of these are worth doing, and “worth” at some point needs to include a financial aspect, at least a limited one.

These all lead up to the issue of whether it will make sense to do a five-year 2011-2015 study, rechecking all data. That wouldn’t take as long as the current study has taken, because I understand some of the article-count shortcuts better and because I could reuse a lot of the data, but it would still be a multi-hundred-hour project. I really want to do it; I’m looking for ways to make it realistic.

For either of these–whether to do an expanded 2011-2014 job with one or more of the bullets above included, and whether to plan on a 2011-2015 study in the first half of 2016–feedback is needed. Feedback might include whether it would be ludicrous to do an Indiegogo fundraiser in either or both cases, or whether there are other sources of (relatively modest) funding (e.g., doing all four bullets and a really good book for 2011-2014 might be at the $2,500-$4,000 level, where doing just the first or first two bullets might be justified at $1,000-$2,000; the 2011-2015 project would look like $5,000-$10,000 total, depending partly on how much goes out in perks). My first Indiegogo attempt was a disaster, but that was in a whole different area.

Comments? Advice? Sources of funding?

I won’t make any serious decisions about the 2011-2014 project until I finish the subject pass, which I’m guessing is going to be late May or sometime in June; the book wouldn’t come out until the LTR issue does, and with added bullets might be as late as September or October 2015. The 2011-2015 project couldn’t begin until mid-January 2016 in any case.


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