Archive for 2019

Gold Open Access 2013-2018 now available

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

I’m delighted to announce publication of Gold Open Access 2013-2018: Articles in Journals (GOA4).

As always, links to the modestly priced trade paperback, free PDF ebook, and dataset are at the project page,

Should you wish to skip that step:

All three have CC-BY licenses.

SPARC sponsors this project.

Highlights and changes

This report covers 12,150 fully-analyzed journals (out of a universe of 12,415)–and not only did article count finally exceed 600,000, it exceeds 700,000 2018 articles.

As usual, most articles in biomed and STEM involve fees of some sort, while most articles in H&SS (humanities and social sciences) do not–and, as usual, most journals do not have fees.

The incorrect term APC has been replaced by fee (which includes submission fees, processing/publishing fees and required membership dues). The apparently confusing term free has been replaced by no-fee.

Dropped: the visibility metric and the APCLand/OAWorld distinction.

Added: A look at the four iterations of GOA/GOAJ, and a comparison of journals added (or changed such that matching didn’t work) to DOAJ in 2018 with those continuing from GOAJ3.

Changed: A new Key Facts table should make it possible to get a quick picture of the journals and articles, fee and no-fee article percentages, distribution by subject segment, and average article cost for each element–and, for all but the overall picture, how this group (subject, country, publisher category, etc.) compares to the whole dataset. A number of tables have been modified to emphasize article percentages and cost per article. Oh, and the series name has changed to reflect the fact that it always has been about articles in journals.

Coming Soon

Gold Open Access by Country 2013-2018 (paperback and free PDF ebook)

Gold Open Access 2013-2018: Subject and Publisher Profiles (paperback, free PDF ebook, and probably all or part of two Cites & Insights issues)

And, to be sure, the May 2019 Cites & Insights, consisting of the first few chapters of GOA4. I’m reconsidering this: it seems like a waste of time and was only read 300 or so times last year. There may or may not be a brief “backgrounder” issue related to GOA4.

“Soon”? A few weeks in each case, depending on other events.

And, for those fond of new colors/minerals/whatever: Yes, of course gold OA includes so-called “platinum” and “diamond” OA.

Added May 4, 2019: A few of you who downloaded the book very early may notice a fairly obvious error on the back cover. Since the cover’s purely decorative, it’s not a fundamental error–but I’ve corrected it now. If you really wonder what the error is: buy the trade paperback. Since the print on the rear cover is striclty a decorative element, I’m not planning to redo the paperback.

GOAJ3: April 2019 update

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 4/30, and the last day of each month)–and the final report on GOAJ2 as well. GOA4 will be out sometime in May, and future reports will include GOA4 and GOAJ3.

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

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 1,318views, 163 downloads \
  • GOAJ3: 3,166 PDF ebooks + 300 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 936 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 378 downloads
  • No paperbacks

GOAJ2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 737 views, 136 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,540 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,423 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 1,117 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 2,118 copies

Gray OA

Good news on OA journal malware!

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

As noted in some previous posts, there appeared to be a significant problem with malware-infected OA journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals, found as I was doing the data gathering for Gold Open Access 2013-2018 or GOAJ4.–which I encountered when doing the data-gathering for GOAJ4 or Gold Open Access 2013-2018: Articles in Journals.

This year, I contacted DOAJ–and they acted, with staff contacting affected institutions (almost always universities) and letting them know about the problem.

The results are in, and they’re impressive: retesting problematic cases among the 12,415 journals in DOAJ as of January 1, 2019, I now find all of nineteen malware cases, two of which are “outbound” calls such that, if you’re running good antivirus/antimalware software like Malwarebytes Pro, you can still use the journal site. Those two are from Spain. The other seventeen include four each from Argentina (one university) and Brazil, three from Ecuador, two from Mexico, and one each from Colombia, Peru, Spain and Venezuela. [Added: Minor oops–there’s a third “outbound” case from the U.S.]

SEVENTEEN PLUS TWO–down from more than 200 initially,

It’s also the case that many/most other problematic cases were cleaned up: there are now a total of 100 “XX” cases (unreachable or unworkable, including 404 and other errors).

This is a huge improvement, especially for malware. Consider:

  • First GOAJ: 218 XX-equivalent and 103 XM/malware
  • Second GOAJ: 199 XX-equivalent and 67 XM/malware
  • Third GOAJ: 43 XX–but 228 XM/malware (including 30 “BM” outbound-call cases)
  • Fourth GOAJ: 100 XX, and 19 XM/malware including two outbound-call cases.

Thanks to Tom, Clara, managing editors and others at DOAJ, and to the responsive contacts in Indonesia and other countries with malware issues.

You can safely assume that, if there’s a GOAJ5 or beyond, I will be staying in touch with DOAJ about data issues. The results this year are, I believe, well worthwhile.

[Yes, the data gathering phase is done. Now for data massaging and report-writing: figure June or possibly late May for the report. I’ll entice you with two big numberx: the report will include more than 12,000 fully-analyzed journals–with more than 700,000 articles in 2018.]

GOAJ3: March 2019 update

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

3eadership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 3/31, and the last day of each month)–and, for now, I’ll keep reporting on GOAJ2 as well.

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

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 845 views, 154 downloads [last month’s “views” figure was in error]
  • GOAJ3: 3,016 PDF ebooks + 288 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 904PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 359 downloads
  • No paperbacks

GOAJ2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 729 views, 134 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,495 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,412 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 1,075 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 2,082 copies

Gray OA

Gold Open Access Journals 4: Possible changes

Monday, March 25th, 2019

As I work to prepare matrices for Gold Open Access Journals 4, 2013-2018, before starting the second data pass next week (April 1), I find that I’m *definitely* planning some presentation changes, while keeping things as comparable to GOAJ3 as makes sense–but I’m also thinking that some additional changes might make it more useful and used.

The principles behind the planned and possible changes: to increase clarity and to increase the emphasis on articles and costs. That is: you can analyze percentages of no-fee gold OA journals in DOAJ easily enough, directly on DOAJ. What makes my research different is that I look at article counts–and on possible average cost per article for a grouping, which is far more meaningful than average fee per journal.

Already planned

  • Change “APC” to “Fee” throughout, and “Free” to “No-fee” (or “No fee” as appropriate). (Note that “Fee” includes submission and processing/publishing fees, and required society memberships if present. That’s always been true for “APC” in these reports.)
  • Replace the “Journals and articles” table that begins most discussions with a new “Key Facts” table that (a) drops the %Free column for journals (but retains %No-fee for articles), (b) adds a $/article column. (c) expands the table to show figures for each of the three segments as well as overall figures, (d) in most cases (excluding the first/overall occurrence), adds Rel% columns showing how this group’s percentages and $/art compare with overall figures. [Example: For Latin America in 2017, Article fee% is -75% relative to the universe, $/article is down 94%, and so on…]
  • There will be a chapter offering some comparisons of the four generations of DOAJ data.

Being considered (comments welcome!)

In most tables that currently show no-fee journal percentages as a column, drop that column and add a $/article column.

Comments welcome (for the next two weeks at least).

Example added [3/26/19]

To help visualize and consider these possible [probable] changes, I’ve generated a PDF consisting of three chapters [using the same Word template as last year]:

  1. A “chapter” with a set of sample tables using all 2017 data (except in one case, where both the universe table and a table for Latin America appear)
  2. Chapter 16, Latin America, from GOAJ3, unchanged.
  3. Chapter 16, Latin America, with new tables and figures based on the changes discussed above. [Commentary has not generally been changed, and I haven’t moved tables to save space. If journal counts are different than those in the first Chapter 16–I haven’t checked–it’s because the new matrix is entirely consistent in using overall analyzed journal counts except where annual activity is clearly indicated; in some cases, the new journal count may be higher.]

GOAJ4: Malware and other issues, part 3 [final]

Thursday, March 21st, 2019


See this post–almost all malware cases have been fixed.

GOAJ4: Malware and other issues, part 2

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Update on malware:

See this post. Nearly all malware problems have been fixed.

GOAJ3: February 2019 update

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Readership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 2/28, and the last day of each month)–and, for now, I’ll keep reporting on GOAJ2 as well.

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

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 959 views, 141 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,840 PDF ebooks + 237 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 873 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 296 downloads
  • No paperbacks

GOAJ2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 695 views, 129 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,459 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,390 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 1,064 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 2,047 copies

Gray OA

OA and Malware: A halfway post

Friday, February 8th, 2019

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

See this post: nearly all malware cases, including all from Indonesia and Malaysia, have been fixed.

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.


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

GOAJ: January 2019 figures

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

eadership figures for GOAJ3 (unfortunately missing most of today, 12/31, and the last day of each month)–and, for now, I’ll keep reporting on GOAJ2 as well.

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

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 918 views, 129 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 2,699 PDF ebooks + 221 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 848 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 281 downloads
  • No paperbacks

GOAJ2: 2011-2016

  • The dataset: 678 views, 127 downloads.
  • GOAJ2: 2,433 PDF ebooks (and two paperbacks), plus 1,384 copies of chapters 1-7 (C&I 17.4)
  • Countries: 1,060 PDF ebooks (no paperbacks)
  • Subject supplement (C&I 17.5): 2,037 copies

Gray OA