OA and Malware: A halfway post

You might think of this as a really tiny issue of Cites & Insights–and it’s the only one you’ll see in February or, almost certainly, March.

I’m roughly halfway through the initial scan of DOAJ journals for GOAJ4: Gold Open Access Journals 2013-2018 (“roughly”: I’ve done 6,000 and have 6,415 left to do). Seemed like a good point to pause, save off the first 6,000 (so I can save the “done” spreadsheet faster–in a second instead of two or three) and comment on a few things.

Malware So Far, Everybody Else

As noted in previous posts, I deliberately scanned four countries out of order because they had significant numbers of malware-infected journals last year, and I was hoping that DOAJ contacts could help inform the infected publishers (all universities) to fix the problems. Note that the four countries, including two of the most prolific OA publishers, accounted for 3,058 of the journals scanned so far–leaving 2,942 others, or about a third of the others.

The resulting posts and, in some cases, URLs for Google Sheets of the infected journals:

  • Indonesia, which has a worse malware problem than last year
  • Malaysia, which seems to have fixed its malware problem entirely
  • Romania, which has about the same level of infection as last year
  • Brazil, which has more than last year but still a tiny percentage.

Originally, I said I’d post the remaining cases when I was done with the scan–but I’ve changed that slightly, thinking that some cases could be fixed early. Instead, I’m posting a Google Sheet now that contains all the others in the first 6,000 journals. I’ll add to that sheet when I’m roughly three-quarters of the way done (say around 9,200 journals), probably early March, and add to it again when I’m done with the first pass (with luck, early April). The final scan of infected journals won’t happen until at least April 15 or two weeks after that post, whichever come last.

Here’s the link as plain text: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GgYqbnw3E-NJPiFZB1GeIJib8q0OGQNhxpRNaA56pyU/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s the thing: the spreadsheet includes all of eight (8) journals, one in each of eight countries. There may be more in the remaining 6,415 journals, but so far it’s not a big problem.

Still Avoiding PlanS

In the October 2018 Cites & Insights, one of a group of small essays was titled “One I Do Not Plan to Cover,” explaining why I was ignoring PlanS (at least for the moment)–not even tagging items for later discussion.

Briefly, the reasons were that too much was being written for me to follow; that it’s European and I’m not; that I don’t know that I understand all the issues; that I’ve never published in APC-based OA journals (or in any peer-reviewed journals in quite a while); that I was seeing growing honesty from scholars of a sort I found disheartening; and that there was stuff about “academic freedom”that struck me as remarkable.

All those reasons are still valid, especially the penultimate one–and there’s another one that I predicted to myself and wanted to avoid.

That last one: I suspected the long knives would come out in force, attempting in various ways to undermine serious OA or any attempts to upset the current regime. That was a pretty safe prediction, to be sure…

As to the penultimate one: We’re seeing a lot of the Yabbuts come out: That is, “Oh, I’m all for OA, but...” Pretty much like “Some of my best friends are X, but…”

I suspect that around 705-80% of scholars-who-publish just don’t care (or in some cases know) about OA as something that affects them. They have their access, coming out of the library’s budget (aka Somebody Else’s Problem) and they don’t much care about wider distribution for their scholarship–as long as it gets cited and/or helps them get promoted.

I don’t think there’s anything new about the Yabbuts. I do think they’ve been made aware that something serious might actually happen, making the BUT more important.

There’s also another reason I’m staying away: I haven’t read PlanS, and from what I’ve been unable to avoid hearing about it, I suspect I wouldn’t be wholly in favor (e.g., provisions that effectively make it unfeasible for the thousands of very small academic and society journals with no formal funding) to keep going. And since I haven’t read the thing, I may be wrong…

So I’m staying away.

Really Unfortunate, If True

One final and somewhat blind note. I tagged an article that, if I didn’t misunderstand it in a brief skim, seemed to be seriously suggesting that one retired librarian should determine what articles should be included in review articles, and specifically biomed articles. Oh, not in those words, but arguing that articles in “predatory” journals–defined only by reference to The Lists–shouldn’t be included in review articles.

If I read it correctly, this is appalling. Here’s a counter proposal: no articles in any journal published by a publisher with an article that’s probably caused more lost lives (and recurrence of supposedly-obliterated diseases!) than all articles in Listed journals put together should be considered for reviews. Whoops: There goes 10% of the literature.

And, of course, I don’t really believe all Elsevier journals should be tarred because of one article that The Lancet took a long time–twelve years–to fully retract. That would be like smearing thousands of articles and hundreds of journals because one person thinks one of the journals looks bad, without providing any reason. Which is, of course, the whole thing with The Lists. [You can read a pretty good summation of the killer-article history in Wikipedia.)

Now I see that the Master of the Lists is writing for THE (Tabloid on Higher Education? I may have that wrong). And far too many people still treat the lists as significant.

Sigh.

Enough of this. Back to the journal scan: 9,415 left to go.



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